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As Summer Recedes, Put Engaging with Your Employees Front and Center

Today's post comes to us from Workforce Institute board member Chris Mullen. Chris is the Director of Human Resources for Housing & Dining Services at the University of Colorado Boulder.

As summer comes to a close, it's time to think about finishing the year on a strong note. During summer, it is not unheard of for people to take their foot off the gas when it comes to work. But with the temperatures cooling off and the leaves beginning to change color, it's time to get over the summer slump and reengage your workforce to reach the goals that were set at the beginning of the year.

Gallup reports that 70% of a team's engagement start with the manager. So, why not you start with your direct reports? Meet with them. Take them for a cup of coffee or have a walking meeting - something to get out of the office and out of the normal work environment. The purpose of these meetings is to get to know them a little better, start or continue to develop a relationship, and build trust.

Ask your direct reports about themselves. If you don't know anything about your employees, then now is the perfect time to start. Ask questions like:

  • How are you doing?
  • How was your weekend?
  • How was your summer? What was your favorite part of the summer and why?
  • How was your vacation?
  • If they have family or kids, ask the employee how they are doing.

Next, transition the conversation into work. Ask questions like:

  • What are you currently working on?
  • What are your current pain-points with your work?
  • What are your goals for the rest of Q3 and for Q4?
  • What would a successful rest of the year look like for you?
  • How can I support you and your goals for the rest of the year?

A significant theme that arose from my doctoral research on work-life balance and the use of mobile technology, is that employees feel more empowered and satisfied when they are supported by their supervisors. One easy way you can support your employees is to get to know them.

AN IMPORTANT NOTE - you need to be sincere in getting to know your employees better. If you are just “checking a box” with each question, then they will see right through it and you.

By knowing your employees, you will be more in-tune to their needs. For instance, if you have a group of employees working on an important and labor-intensive project (which you are aware of because of your information gathering), it might go a long way after a milestone is reached to give them a Friday afternoon off and have them go home early. Or have them pick a day in the current month they would like a free day off. It may not seem like much, but it can go a long way for the employee.

What about you? How do you reengage with employees to finish the year strong? Let us know in the comments!

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