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Fire Up Summertime Performance — Reinforce Development-driven Learning During the Lazy Days of Summer

Fire Up Summertime Performance!

The temperatures are soaring, the birds are singing, and your employees’ thoughts are drifting toward summer vacations and leisure time in the great outdoors. You’ve got a business to run and customers to wow, so how do you keep everyone happy this time of year?
A recent survey of American workers suggests that employers are becoming more flexible and accommodating to their employees’ schedules during the summer.[1] Giving employees some reasonable leeway in deciding how and when they work isn’t just a sign of generosity on the part of the employer; it also benefits the bottom line with improved employee engagement and retention.

Even while allowing for additional flexibility during the lazy months of summer, there are things that managers can do to help keep their employees focused and on top of performance and productivity during the lazy days of summer:
·        Dust off development plans. Summer is an ideal time to revisit development plans that may have been sitting idle. Identify specific developmental activities that are aligned with performance goals and set short-term milestones to keep performance on target.
·        Ramp up communication. Hold more frequent conversations to stay on top of projects, roadblocks or potential barriers. Ask employees to share their plans for managing their schedules, their workload and any adjustments they’ll be making to their working styles over the summer months. 
·        Increase learning. Allow time for job enrichment by adding or prioritizing role-based learning activities. Using an automated learning management solution is an easy way to create targeted learning plans that directly support and improve employee performance.  
·        Broaden business perspective. Schedule time for employees to job shadow in other areas of the business to increase their company and industry knowledge. Opportunities might include listening to customer calls, attending various department meetings or riding along on customer visits.
Summertime certainly does present employers with seasonal distractions. Take a proactive approach and communicate with employees to understand their needs, your expectations and the flexible arrangements that will work best for both of you.
[1] Hirsh, Eytan. Employers Turn Up Flexibility for the Summer. SHRM. May 2012.