In many companies, the end of Q2 and the transition to Q3 usually means a shift to summer hours. Happy hours begin to fill your calendars, the amount of emails you receive slows down a bit, and you are presented with more out of office messages than you can count. If your environment is anything like Minnesota, afternoon is marked with employees glancing longingly at the light-filled windows, ready to hit the lakes and bike trails to soak up as much sun as possible before our eleven months of winter set in.
Of course, we all love the feeling of the summer months, but that sun-filled office can begin to feel a lot more like a prison once productivity begins to come to halt. Luckily, these slower months are not only a great time for your employees to enjoy some much needed downtime and sunshine, but they are also the perfect time to invest back into your business and get ahead of the things that come full force once Labor Day hits.
We’ve compiled a list of ways your company can invest back into itself to promote growth and keep your employees engaged and active.
1. Lean into the lull...just not too much.
What? You just said to be productive! We know. But there is a level of wisdom in loosening the reins, so to say, and allowing your team members time to rest and rejuvenate. What good is a burned out and exhausted team member during your busiest season?
Maybe your office closes an hour earlier on Fridays (or...gasp! Every day?) Maybe your employees work from home a little more during the less busy months. Maybe you plan more team-bonding outings (whirly ball anyone?) Whatever this looks like for you, try and focus on protecting, and even over padding, the work life balance during the slower months so your team is checked in and ready to rock when the busy time comes rolling.
2. Attend networking and educational events.
Use the slower months to broaden your network. Attend local and maybe even non-local events to expand your partnerships, keep up with industry trends, or learn how to expand into new verticals you’ve been exploring. It’s a lot easier to plan your schedule around these events during the slow season than a busy season where your calendar is full of “Maybe” RSVPs and your lunch is a granola bar and another cup of coffee.
3. Build out your marketing plan and establish thought leadership content.
Because we live in a digital world, your website and social media gives you a myriad of opportunities to connect with people year round. Utilize slower seasons to build out your marketing plan and develop thought leadership pieces.
If you don’t have a marketing plan, now is the time to sit and write one. If you don’t have a content calendar, this season is perfect to invest some time in developing one. This will keep your blog and social accounts active during busy times without further straining employee capacity. Keeping up to date on blog posts and leadership pieces isn’t just good for your audience, it helps to build your authority, strengthen your brand, and develop new partnerships.
4. Evaluate your systems, performance, and processes.
Summer months are a great time to assess your company’s performance and processes. What went right? What can be improved? Determine what is contributing to your growth and success and which strategies should be continued.
Do the same exercise on the things that should have been done differently. How could that have gone better? Narrow in on your company processes and what is working and what needs to be refined. Review your progress, determine what actions need to be taken and schedule time to make those happen.
Slower times also give you more time for the more technical aspects of running a business. Do you have any software upgrades you need to install? Do you need to update your website? Lower traffic times of the year give you the leniency you need to take care of some of the more practical aspects of day to day functionality without inconveniencing your clients or partners.
5. Focus on employee training and development.
When employees are empowered to use their skills and abilities on the job, they feel a sense of pride and self-confidence. Your employees want to develop and grow their skills. If they are not able to do this, they will find a company with a career development path that better suits them.
Are there Google Certifications that will help an employee grow their marketing skills and in addition make your company more reputable overall? Encourage your team to use this downtime for that internal development. When your employees feel they are part of an organization that is invested in their growth, they are less likely to look for opportunities elsewhere.
According to a report published by Compdata, the average rate of turnover at the end of 2018 was just under 20%. If this is the case in your company, 1/5th of your employees are in some level of onboarding and it is highly likely that processes and training may have fallen through the cracks during their first year.
Invest time during slower months for internal training sessions. Tight knit processes and consistency leaves more room for creativity and risk taking where it matters most.
It is easy to get caught up with the commerce side of your business - less business or fewer clients means less growth, right? Try taking this slower summer as an opportunity to invest in your company and your employees - as any business knows, it takes investments to grow.