Dealing with end of summer burnout

I love fall!  I am not sure what it is about the season that I find so wonderful considering in Vancouver it rains most of the time!  But as summer nears its end, I start to feel exhilaration and a sense of renewal.  This is when I sit down and plan out my year, make goals for myself and start to feel revitalized.

Maybe it has to do with conditioning from childhood.  A new year at school, connecting with old friends and making new ones. The vibe on the street is energetic and makes you feel like you can take on the world.

But with the renewal of fall also comes the post summer burnout.  I read a great article on Entrepreneur.com called Helping Employees Beat the Summer Blues that talks about ways to energize your team for the latter part of the year.

Here is a summary of the points to deal with mid-year burnout and revitalize your team:

  1. Ask employees how they feel about summer coming to an end.
  2. Ask employees what their goals are for the year.
  3. What motivates your employees?  Find out how to make them more productive.
  4. Help create a sense of accomplishment in your employees work.
  5. Praise people for a job well done… I don’t think we do this enough.
  6. Increase your employee recognition efforts.  If you don`t have an employee recognition program, start one.
  7. Talk about career paths to get people focused on their career goals again.
  8. Increase levels of responsibility if possible.
  9. Create some synergy in the workplace and do a team based project to get people working together.
  10.  Start a mentor program.  If you already have one, good for you!

Not all of these points may be relevant for you and your company, but I hope at least one helps your team work efficiently and productively through to the holiday season.


Dana Sebal has over 10 years Marketing and Human Resources experience.  Outside of her professional career, Dana’s passions include her family, rowing, running, tennis, skiing, yoga, and Beagles.

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Employee, I praise thee!

So you’ve heard me going on about my amazing experience at Disneyland.  (Yes, I’m going to milk this experience for all it’s worth.  What can I say, lessons in HR are all around us!)  But it wasn’t all about the service at D-land itself, the resort area hotels themselves seem to really help lock in that overall “I heart Disneyland” experience. 

A shout out to the hotel I chose on a coworker’s recommendation, the Sheraton Park Hotel in Anaheim. The staff was super helpful with all my questions, approached me when I looked confused, offered tour suggestions when I was poking through the brochure board, finished my sentence for me when I asked to switch to a room by the pool bar, even came and got me at the hotel lobby bar when the airport shuttle showed  up… I mean c’mon, I had to watch what I could of the Germany vs Argentina World Cup quarter-final game.  All around, impressive service. 

Upon leaving, I ran up to the concierge desk and asked “who could I contact to let them know about my great experience?”.  Perhaps, say, a manager I could speak to?  They then handed me one of those generic comment cards.  While my intentions were good, I still haven’t filled out that puppy. 

At least the staff that I personally thanked know I appreciated their service.  For those that weren’t on shift when I left… tough. 

Can we find simple ways to say “thank you” to someone who has offered good service?  Better yet, can we say thank you so that their higher-ups know about it?  If you spent so much effort making a good service experience and generating a return customer, why not make just a little more effort to ensure that your staff are appreciated for the hard work?

And please, make it easy for folks like me to submit that feedback.  That comment card lay at the bottom of my purse so long it became a tattered mess I had to throw out.


 Helen Luketic is the manager of HR metrics & research at BC Human Resources Management Association.  Besides editing this blog, researching and running the HR Metrics Service, she is busy working on a policy which would allow her to wear her Mini-Mouse ears to work.

When cash is king and people are not.

Why do we treat money like gold and people like scrap metal?

During the recession, it was all about cost cutting and people were the first ones on the chopping block, whether it was a cut to their hours, pay, training or entire jobs.  Unfortunately, CFOs forgot that living breathing people are required for an organization to make money.  Money in itself does nothing.  Even when it’s sitting in a bank, a person is needed to make a decision where the money will sit to get the best return, otherwise it will just lose value over time.

Of course, leaders had to make tough decisions to manage their organizations through the recession in order to come out alive.  However, many of the cost cutting decisions were short-sighted and now that fact is becoming clear.  In this new story, CFOs say the biggest lessons they learned about the recession is to pay more attention to morale:  http://rhmr.mediaroom.com/morale.

According to the Conference Board, employee engagement has taken a dive over the last year.  It wasn’t hard for employees to become disengaged when they were asked to do much more for less.  You know what that means… I’m no fortune-teller but I see the future and it includes huge turnover.  Consider the HR function as part of this group.  This poll originally published in this article is showing signs that your own HR department is not immune to some staffing changes in the near future.  Up to 1/3 of HR folks are considering leaving their organization in the next year.

View the HR Turnover Poll!

With good reason, CFOs were focussed on getting through the recession by managing the bottom line.  However, they cut in the wrong places and without considering the impact of their decisions on their people.

Sure, lots of people were just happy to have a job during the recession regardless of the pay cut and longer hours.  But where was the longer term thinking?  Pretty much everyone knew that the economy would eventually bounce back and there would be some job growth.  Knowing that that magical moment would arrive some day, did they really expect people to be loyal and continue working with them when things got better?

People make rational decisions (for the most part!) and will take advantage of opportunities thrown their way, like a better job offer with a different organization.  Ultimately, that means it’s going to cost the organization in turnover and potentially its competitive edge.  Alternatively, if you’ve laid off your staff in this recession you’re going to have recruitment issues because you’ve sent the message that you’re unstable.

This video is for the bean counters.  Sure, errors of judgement were made but they ‘fessed up, discussed what they learned and what they could do better next time.  What did HR learn from this last recession?


Helen Luketic is the manager of HR metrics & research at BC Human Resources Management Association. Besides editing this blog, researching, and running the HR Metrics Service, she’s recently bought a new set of golf clubs at Costco that she’s been eyeing for months.

Are your employees wearing the corporate badge proudly?

The news for HR has been pretty heavy lately, what with the layoffs, corporate scandals and the questioning of corporate spending on compensation, retention bonuses, employee perks, and leadership development retreats

Let’s take a breather for a second to talk about something a little lighter – recognizing your staff with corporate logo gear.  This post was inspired by a recent entry at Fistful of Talent, who wonders about the final resting place of old logo-ized gear.

Hey – it’s a legit HR topic!  I mean, this touches upon employee recognition and employer branding.  I once heard that you can tell whether or into your employees are engaged simply by looking at the frequency at which they wear your corporate swag.  I have to agree.  Now I’ve got my fair share of corporate goodies and I frequently wore/used the pieces I really liked.  And yes, I was engaged.

Because of my years of experience in collecting both corporate wear and gadgets, I’ve come up with some hard and fast rules on giving your staff corporate logo gear to make it worth your time and money:

  1. The item should be cool or at the least reflect their style.  People should want to wear/use the item in public (and advertise you).
  2. If it’s clothing, it should look good on most people.  Then they will actually wear it and not just throw it on when they’re Sweatin to the Oldies or colouring their hair.
  3. Make the item useful and practical.
  4. Don’t blare the logo.  Less is more.

Based on these principles, here’s the good, bad, and ugly list of logo items I’ve ever received:

Good

  • Well-fitted fleece jacket, so cozy (minus the rod & cone-killing colour).
  • One shoulder strap backpack.  Fabulous for walks or trips to the gym.  Small and tasteful logo.
  • Yo-yo.  Surprisingly, hours of fun when I just had to think.  No, I didn’t mind people watching me yo-yoing.
  • Pens, but only the quality ones that people frequently try to steal from me.
  • Reusable cloth bags.

Bad

  • Squishy stress balls – millions of them, of all different shapes and sizes.  I’ve never seen anyone actually use one except to launch it at a coworker.
  • Coffee tumbler.  This thing was so tall that it wouldn’t fit under the coffee carafe for the pour.  Instead, I used a mug for the pour and then transferred the coffee to the tumbler.  Ahhh, efficiency!
  • Hemp socks.  Why??  Can you see the logo through my shoes?  Well, they were comfy until they got holes in them in 2.2 seconds.
  • Black long sleeved shirt that was so warm, I sweat at my desk all day.  Severe dehydration sets in pretty quick.

Ugly

  • Golf shirt, black with checkered sleeves.  I was a women in her 20s who looked like a golfing man in his 60’s.
  • White t-shirt that was massive.  I’ve gained poundage since getting that shirt and it’s still huge on me.

What’s your take – should we still bother giving employees corporate gear, at least as a form of recognition, at most as a way to measure engagement?