The sun is shining – so should your talent! Summer is a great time to unwind, enjoy the weather, and take time off from work to relax with friends and family. What sounds better, right? Although many employees deserve the much-needed vacation days, businesses and HR teams still have to worry about meeting goals and hitting numbers. A research report quoted by Forbes shows that productivity can decline upwards of 20% during the summer months. But should businesses really worry? Absolutely not. If performance expectations and discussions are happening before, during, and after the summer months, there is no reason why businesses and employees can’t enjoy some care-free days in the summer sun.

Tips for Keeping Employee Performance and Productivity On-Track During the Summer Season

1. Set clear expectations: This may seem like a no-brainer but you would be surprised how many employees are not given defined and clear goals and expectations of performance. HR should work with managers to ensure that goals, objectives and tasks are shared with teams and employees regularly so they know which milestones or deliverables may coincide with summer vacations or distractions. If employees are aware what needs doing, they are more likely to stay on track during summer. See also: Goal Alignment Road Trip – Don’t Let Your Organization Run Off-Course

2. Check-in regularly: Setting goals is only one part of keeping performance on track and top-of-mind. Managers and leaders need to ensure performance is on track, employees are celebrated for achievements, and that staff receive the regular input they need to stay on track and succeed in their roles. This means monitoring the status of goals and tasks and checking in with employees frequently to coach, provide feedback, and discuss progress. Some companies mandate a formal mid-year check-in right before summer so employees and managers can re-group and plan, but for companies who leave it open, managers should make an extra effort to find the time needed for some 1:1 performance discussions with employees. This is particularly important because employees aren’t the only ones taking time off and will benefit from the extra direction for when their manager is away.

3. Be flexible: Just like other times in the year, unexpected days away or priorities may pop-up without regard for looming deadlines or priorities. Managers should be as flexible as possible to ensure business is handled, while also making sure their direct team members are actually taking their vacation days and resting. One thing worse than losing productivity to time off, is losing productivity to burnout! See also: Why Vacation Days Can Increase Productivity

4. Get creative: Take advantage of the wonderful climate while you can! Summer has the best weather (for most of North America) you can expect all year. Use this time to plan creative social gatherings or work events that can help foster teamwork, allow employees to let loose, and to just have fun with your team. Many companies plan outdoor lunches or schedule Friday summer ‘cocktail hours’. Outdoor games can encourage comradery and build teamwork and help create a fun and nurturing culture. Bonus – because summer is in the middle of the year, it happens to be the perfect time to reset and re-boot. Here’s a great list of corporate summertime events and activities for inspiration.

5. Don’t stop after summer! Keep performance management dialogue flowing all year. Formal reviews shouldn’t be the only time of year that employees and managers discuss performance and expectations. Give employees and managers the tools they need to record performance milestones, document feedback, and acknowledge performance each and every day – then your talent can shine all year!

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