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5 Strategies for Keeping Employees Engaged in the Summer

5 Strategies for Keeping Employees Engaged in the Summer

Summer is upon us, and while we all love the sunny days and vacation vibes, keeping employees engaged during this season can feel like trying to keep ice cream from melting in the sun. Here are five top strategies to keep your team motivated and engaged all summer long.



5 Strategies for Keeping Employees Engaged in the Summer

1. Casual Dress Days

Summer heat and formal wear? Not the best combo. If you work in an office with a strict dress code, consider adding casual days to the calendar. 

Why It Works: When employees feel comfortable, they’re happier and more productive. Plus, it adds a bit of fun to the workweek!

How to Implement:

  • Pick a Theme: Go beyond just casual Fridays. Try “Tropical Tuesdays” or “Beachwear Wednesdays” where employees can sport Hawaiian shirts or summer dresses.

  • Set Guidelines: Make sure everyone understands what’s appropriate to keep the vibe professional yet relaxed.

  • Get Creative: Encourage a fun competition for the best summer outfit and offer small prizes to winners.

For outdoor or field-based teams, consider allowing employees to wear relaxed uniforms or branded casual wear suitable for the weather. For remote workers, you can encourage casual attire during video meetings or virtual team gatherings to create a more relaxed atmosphere. If your team is frequently on the move, provide branded polo shirts or lightweight uniforms that offer comfort without sacrificing professionalism.

2. Summer-Themed Office Events

Inject some fun into the office atmosphere with summer-themed events that get everyone excited.

Why It Works: These events break the monotony and create a sense of community and camaraderie among employees.

How to Implement:

  • Outdoor Activities: Set up a grill in the office parking lot or nearby park. Include games like cornhole or a water balloon toss. You can also organize picnics or team hikes. For example, at BerniePortal, team members often run local races together! 

  • Ice Cream Social: Rent an ice cream truck or set up an ice cream bar in the break room. Sweet surprises like these can make a real difference in your team’s day. 

  • Virtual Vacation: For remote teams, host a virtual vacation day where employees can share travel stories, photos, and favorite summer recipes via video call during the last hour of the day.

3. Encourage Vacation Time

Summer is the perfect time for employees to recharge. Encourage them to take their well-deserved vacation days without feeling guilty about it.

Why It Works: Rested employees return with more energy and creativity, which boosts overall productivity.

How to Implement:

  • Ensure PTO Policies are Clear: There should be no confusion around how many PTO days employees have. A PTO Tracking feature of an all-in-one HRIS like BerniePortal can streamline requests and approvals and help you customize your own unique policy. 
  • Vacation Bounty: Consider offering a small bonus or extra time off for employees who use their vacation days within a certain period.
  • Vacation Highlight Reel: Share fun stories and photos from team members’ vacations in the company newsletter or during team meetings.
  • Lead by Example: Managers and HR professionals should also take time off to show that it’s okay to disconnect and recharge.

4. Summer Learning Opportunities

Who says learning has to stop in the summer? Keep minds engaged with fun and interesting development programs.

Why It Works: Continuous learning keeps employees motivated and invested in their growth. By providing these opportunities, you show employees that you care about their career growth and development, which can increase job satisfaction and loyalty. Employees who feel supported in their professional development are more likely to stay engaged and perform at their best, even when they would rather be at the beach. 

How to Implement:

  • Lunch and Learn: Host weekly sessions on various topics, from professional skills to personal hobbies. Bring in guest speakers or tap into your team's expertise.
  • Skill Swap: Encourage employees to teach each other new skills or cross-train each other across departments. 
  • Online Courses: Provide access to online learning platforms and let employees choose courses that interest them. Summer is also an excellent opportunity for you to prioritize your own professional development. BernieU, our online learning platform, offers 11 free SHRM and HRCI CE credits courses.  

If feasible for your business and industry, I also recommend allotting an hour or two each week in the summer for employees to work on what they want for their professional development. It shows that you value your workforce’s personal achievements, and that you make space for them. 

5. Promote Health and Wellness

Summer is a great time to elevate health and wellness initiatives at your organization. Healthy employees are happier, more engaged, and experience fewer health-related issues, ultimately reducing absenteeism and boosting workplace productivity. 

Why It Works: Wellness programs boost physical and mental health, which are essential to individual and organizational success. 

How to Implement:

  • Events that Educate and Raise Awareness: Conduct workshops, seminars, or webinars on topics like stress management, nutrition, sleep hygiene, and physical fitness. Ensure that employees are well-informed about the benefits of a healthy lifestyle. 
  • Fitness Challenges: Organize step-count competitions or summer fitness challenges. Use apps to track progress and offer fun prizes for top performers.
  • Outdoor Activities: Schedule walking meetings, lunchtime in the park, or group runs.
  • Healthy Snacks: Stock the break room with fresh fruits, smoothies, and other healthy treats. You could even host a weekly “healthy snack exchange” where employees bring in their favorite nutritious snacks to share.

Implementing these strategies can keep your employees engaged and motivated throughout the summer months. Remember, a happy and engaged workforce is a productive one. Start planning your summer engagement strategies today and watch your team thrive.



Additional Resources

You can stay informed, educated, and up to date with important HR topics using BerniePortal’s comprehensive resources:

  • BernieU—free online HR courses, approved for SHRM and HRCI recertification credit
  • BerniePortal Blog—a one-stop shop for HR industry news
  • HR Glossary—featuring the most common HR terms, acronyms, and compliance
  • Resource Library—essential guides covering a comprehensive list of HR topics
  • HR Party of One—our popular YouTube series and podcast, covering emerging HR trends and enduring HR topics
  • Community—the HR Party of One Community forum, a place devoted to HR professionals to ask questions, learn more, and help others


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