The weather is getting warmer and your employees are gazing longingly out the window, wondering if the grass is greener on the other side of that pane of glass. Something about the push into summer leaves many workers feeling unmotivated, and it’s up to management to discover the reasons and find effective solutions.
“Many companies conduct annual performance reviews in the spring, and whether employees view the outcome of this conversation as positive or negative, motivation is bound to decrease,” says Adrian Ridner, CEO and cofounder of Study.com. “Whether they’d been working toward a big promotion or ended up with some constructive feedback, some employees become complacent in the weeks after reviews, while a whopping one in three employees seek other jobs, according to a study by Adobe. The season also plays a big factor. Temperatures are on the rise and vacations are coming up, so many employees are simply itching to get outside and away from their desks.”
The ROI of L&D
While managers could just throw up their hands in defeat, accept that springtime is slack time, and knock off early for a company happy hour, that probably isn’t best for the bottom line. Instead, leaders might want to find ways to redirect employee focus to increase interest in personal development.
“Digital training options that involve microlearning are a great, cost-effective way to help battle the spring slump,” Ridner says.
Setting aside just 15 minutes a week for some quick learning and development (L&D) can have a huge impact on team performance and motivate employees to stay more engaged in their work, according to Ridner.
“A blended learning solution that incorporates some in-person instruction with a digital solution can be a bit more of an investment, but is a great way to give employees that one-on-one support while maintaining the flexibility of online learning,” Ridner adds.
Of course, an L&D initiative is only as good as its adoption, so Ridner recommends launching an internal marketing campaign “to publicize your offerings and encourage employees to take ownership of their career development.” Leading by example — that is, getting executives to participate in the learning as well — can also encourage employees to get invested.
Beyond launching L&D initiatives, executives and managers can shake things up by finding ways for employees to interact with new people from other teams and departments. Assign someone from marketing to human resources for a week to hone the internal brand, or send the receptionist on a sales call with an experienced salesperson. You might be surprised by what nontraditional viewpoints can bring to the table.
In fact, encouraging new ideas in general can be a fantastic way to snap out of a slump. Ridner suggests holding some kind of event, such as a hackathon, to energize the team and get everyone thinking about innovation.
The whole organization can get involved in a hackathon — it’s not just for the tech team.
“Hackathons provide that space for employees to get something done without the usual barriers or red tape, and they get the satisfaction of bringing an idea from concept to completion in a short period of time,” Ridner says. “Be sure to make it fun. Lots of food, activities, and entertainment help bring colleagues across various departments closer together.”
Whatever you decide to do, remember that a fun culture full of innovative ideas and new opportunities will keep employees from looking elsewhere for more fulfilling opportunities. Don’t be the company people leave because they get bored. Be the company people want to leave their jobs for. Your bottom line will thank you.