Keeping your employees excited and engaged about the work of the organization is always critical, however it is especially important during off-peak seasons or slower periods on the business calendar. The question then becomes, how do you motivate employees and keep them energized when these lulls in business arise?
Company leadership must focus on employee engagement and reducing the amount of unproductive time at their employees’ disposal. When management or executive leadership fail to communicate expectations and priorities during slower periods, even the most independent staff members can begin to feel unfulfilled and underutilized.
The biggest challenge will be reversing the complacency and sedentary attitudes that can set in due to the reduction in activity. This will have an impact on business at a time when you need everyone operating at peak performance.
In order to avoid the potential pitfalls that can arise from having an underutilized workforce, managers should invoke this 5-step approach to ensure that your staff remains engaged, motivated, and focused during those slower periods:
1. Debrief & Assess – Take the pulse of the staff. Gather feedback on the busy season, what worked vs. what didn’t work. Conduct a “Lessons Learned” study to understand what could’ve made the firm more successful.
2. Prioritize & Evaluate – Use this time to set priorities for the slower periods. Evaluate the current state of work and establish processes and job expectations during the slower period.
3. Re-energize – Invest time in fun and engaging activities, especially in high stress professions (sales, hospitality, tax accounting to name a few). Utilize the “Work Hard, Play Hard” mantra. This will give your staff a great recharge after all those long days. Nothing will motivate employees like a day away from the office grind
4. Planning & Analysis – Allow adequate time for planning and preparation for the next busy season. Take those lessons learned to strategize on how they will be applied. Begin analyzing systems and workflows that will work best for the company.
5. Training & Development – As a part of the preparation, begin training your staff on any changes or new initiatives that will be in place. Ensure that everyone is on one accord and understands what is expected of them.
The secret sauce with keeping a motivated staff is engagement. Responsible managers will want to redirect that infectious energy, which drives their staff during peak periods, into more productive activities while demonstrating how these activities are critical to company success.