The ongoing responsibility of the HR office is to maintain high levels of employee retention and productivity for 12 months a year – there should be no interruptions. If your staff ceases to be engaged and productive, even briefly, that can be devastating to the continuity and ultimately the profitability of your business.
Unfortunately, it’s far more difficult during the summer months to keep your staff humming along productively. A large part of the problem can be attributed to absenteeism – employees have a general tendency to take more days off during June, July and August than the other nine months on the calendar.
This is understandable. Kids are off of school, parents are also eager to enjoy the nice warm weather and it’s therefore common for entire families to skip town for an entire week during the summer. This is great fun for the family, but back at the office, it leaves managers scrambling to adjust.
According to a Monster.com blog, summer presents a lot of challenges for bosses. Deb LaMere, vice president of employee engagement at Ceridian, shares the importance of setting work goals during this season.
“Focus on the critical and important work goals,” she advises. “By concentrating on a few important goals and eliminating unnecessary work, managers will increase innovation and enhance the productivity of the team members who are not on vacation.”
Sadly, it’s quite common for summer to present a logistical nightmare for managing human capital. The following are five more tips for surviving it.
Lay down the ground rules
It’s important to begin by establishing some basic rules about summer vacation. What’s the process for requesting time off? How can people ensure that they’ll be approved? If everyone knows and follows the guidelines, the process should be smoother.
Document important processes
When one employee is out and another needs to cover for them, it’s good if they have documentation of how to sub in. Have people document how they complete the important tasks on their to-do lists – it will probably come in handy later.
Trim the fat from the schedule
If you have less manpower available during the summer months, you’ll need to be more efficient. Are there unnecessary tasks that you can trim from your daily schedule? If so, consider doing it.
Absences force you to examine the way you’re allocating work and find ways to improve. Does any one person need to be doing more, or less? Is there a different assignment that might better use someone’s skills? Take a critical look at your workflow.
Later, reflect and improve
After vacations are over, you should always take a moment to reflect on the process. Did it go smoothly? Are there any ways your procedure could have been improved? Prepare for next time by looking back at your past successes and failures.