It’s August. And to some, that means the beginning of the end of summer. (Or that there’s still a good six long weeks to enjoy the endless summer possibilities!) But whether it’s August or May, summer means one thing is certain: no matter how much your employees love their jobs, the sunshine and fresh air is calling their names. This is especially true for Millennials, who are known for working to live rather than living to work. Don’t take this to mean that Millennials don’t care about career development. On the contrary, Millennials are a generation that has experienced economic struggle in their formative years, and many are highly motivated to perform well and get ahead at work. However, beautiful summer weather can put even the best workers to the test. The long Fourth of July weekend gave everyone a taste of summer vacation, but since then it’s been back to the grind. Instead of denying this reality, top organizations are working even harder to keep their Millennials engaged over the summer months.
Here are five things you can do to remain an employer of choice for Millennials this summer:
Get Outside: Chances are, your employees are doing things that could easily be moved outdoors. Whether you’re in an urban area with public parks or a suburban office complex, there are outside spaces that would work well for team meetings, one-on-one meetings, lunches, or afternoon coffee and snack breaks. Sure, it’s a little more work to leave the office, but you don’t have to go far. Additionally, the mood-boosting power of being outdoors can positively impact company culture and morale. Try scheduling your next meeting in a nearby park – or even out on the sidewalk, a nearby outdoor café – the roof - and see for yourself!
FOMO Fridays: A lot of people grapple with the fear of missing out (FOMO). Since so many companies offer summer Fridays where employees can leave early, FOMO strikes Millennials the hardest on Friday afternoons when their friends are starting their weekends early. (Obviously, your employees know exactly who is doing what because they’re checking Snapchat and Instagram from their desks.) If summer Fridays aren’t in your company’s future, why not throw in one or two FOMO Fridays between now and Labor Day? It can go through HR to be companywide, or individual managers might have the power to institute it on their own with their teams. The concept is simple – employees can occasionally use flex hours so they can leave early on a Friday without taking time off. FOMO sufferers aren’t likely to be at their most productive anyway, since being distracted and discouraged isn’t linked to high performance, so you might as well set them free. This small concession can go a long way in increasing work-life balance in the summer and showing Millennials they are appreciated.
Plan A Summer Party: A lot of companies have winter holiday parties, but summer is a great time to celebrate too. Company picnics, ballpark outings, boat rides, and happy hours on a patio are all great options. If you aren’t sure what your employees are most interested in, take a poll in an upcoming town hall meeting. Summer parties are also a great opportunity for your employees to bring a spouse or guest. Millennials aren’t as inclined to keep work and social/family life as separate as past generations, and many welcome the chance to introduce their coworkers to roommates and significant others.
Surprise Ice Cream Social: Remember that thrill of excitement when you were a kid and heard the familiar jingle of the ice cream truck? You can easily recreate that in your office with a few gallons of ice cream and quick search on YouTube for the ice cream truck song of your choice. Sometimes the benefits that employees remember the most are the ones that came out of left field. A surprise ice cream social is a great way to bring a smile to your team’s faces, boost comradery, and add an element of fun.
Keep Summer Going into September: Technically, fall doesn’t start until September 21st, right? What better way to keep the summer energy flowing than to extend the summer attitude, flexibility and engagement! While Labor Day typically means a return to a more structured work schedule, why not exceed expectations and add on a couple of weeks? Call it “September is Still Summer!” and provide some of the summer benefits everyone enjoyed.
Millennials may expect more from their employers than past generations, but it can be a positive thing for everyone. (Who doesn’t like taking a break in the sun and having a little better work-life balance?) Let Millennials push your organization to be the best it can be. Start with these tips and you’ll be well on your way to engaging your whole team over the summer.