Memorial Day weekend is a sign that summer is here. After the holiday, however, a host of HR issues will make an annual reappearance…dress code, company picnics and outings, vacation scheduling, “Friday sick days,” and more. We’ve compiled a checklist of 10 issues you’ll want on your “to do” list this summer:
1. Clarify your summer dress code.
Business casual tends to be more open for interpretation in the summer. Be sure to clarify where your organization stands in regards to summer attire including capris, shorts, sleeveless tops, types of suits, overexposure, open-toed shoes, flip flops, etc. Whatever restrictions your organization sets, they should be equally applied to all employees (regardless of gender, race, and other demographic factors) and clearly communicated to all employees, preferably in writing.
2. Plan a summer company outing.
You may have let this activity slip by last year given budget constraints, but try to bring it back to fruition this year. Company outings and picnics are a chance for you to not only recognize your workforce and celebrate success, but also provide an opportunity for employees to bond and socialize with one another outside of the workplace. Common places for outings that other Northeast Ohio employers use are Swings-in-Things, Cedar Point, the Zoo, and Put-in-Bay. In addition, many employers schedule golf outings, cookouts, and company baseball games during the summer. Food, activities, raffles, prizes, and inclusion of employees’ families are all staples a great summer company outing.
3. Implement summer hours.
Employees and their families tend to need more flexibility in the summer as children aren’t in school, schedules tend to be more chaotic, and there is an increased desire to take advantage of the warm weather. Where possible, offer employees options to flex their hours to better achieve some work/life balance this summer. There are some companies that offer seasonal perks like shorter hours on Fridays, use of compressed work weeks, and shorter or revised work schedules during the summer. These are typically great morale boosters.
4. Deal with “Friday sick days.”
“Friday sick days” and issues involving employees consistently leaving work early or coming in late tend to become more common in the summer. Make sure that your organization has policies in place to deal with issues such as these. Now may be the ideal time to benchmark your attendance and absence management policies with our Absence Management Practices Survey. More importantly, however, attempt to solve the real issue of why employees are taking off work. Do they need more flexibility? More time off? Are they burnt out? Use of flexible scheduling options in the summer tends to alleviate these types of problems so let employees take charge of their schedules. Use of paid time off banks is also another effective solution.
5. Get performance on track.
Speaking of results, it’s mid-year and an ideal time for employees to meet with their supervisors and review their progress on key goals and objectives set at the beginning of the year. While on-going feedback if preferable, encourage supervisors to conduct a mid-year (at the very least) review or discussion with their employees so that employees are not surprised by the feedback they receive or the results of their performance review at the end of the year. If performance is substandard, take steps to coach, mentor, and improve performance.
6. Take your wellness program outside.
Health care costs are a key issue for many employers, but wellness initiatives are often an effective solution for creating a healthier workforce and decreasing health care costs. Coordinate a few outdoor activities this summer such as outdoor fitness exercises, walking programs, lunch-time pick-up sports, and other activities. Summer is also an ideal time to initiate education on nutrition topics, given the widespread availability of fresh ingredients.
7. Communicate your holiday plans.
Summer brings three major holidays: Memorial Day, 4th of July, and Labor Day. Be sure to clarify the days employees will have off as a result of these holidays, especially for July 4th which falls on a Sunday. Incidentally, most employers are providing Monday, July 5th as the paid holiday according to our 2010 Paid Holiday Survey.
8. Encourage employees to take vacation and solve vacation scheduling issues.
Encourage staff to use their vacation time and implement a sound process for scheduling vacations. Schedule summer vacations in the fairest, most efficient way. For organizations experiencing difficulties scheduling vacations, here are a few suggestions:
- Use a vacation planner or vacation planning system such as this: 2010 Vacation Planner
- Remind employees that the business’ needs need to come first when scheduling vacations.
- Require employees to schedule time off in advance.
- Have employees coordinate vacation time with their coworkers and/or self-manage vacation time.
- Have a system for employees to request or “bid” on preferred date for vacation.
- Develop policies that specify what criteria will be used to approve vacations (first come, first served, seniority, rotation, etc.).
- Specify the limits of taking vacation (i.e. people with the same skill set can’t be out at the same time, etc.).
9. Implement cross-training.
We’ve all experienced the issue of an employee that takes time off, something happens in their absence, and no one has been trained to handle the situation. Cross-training employees in your organization’s crucial functions is a way to ensure that you have all the bases covered when individuals take time off or are away from the office.
10. Continue to engage.
It’s common for HR to hold off on implementing employee initiatives during the summer, particularly developmental programs, but it’s important to keep implementing training, development, and other employee initiatives to continue to engage employees.
For additional assistance, guidance, or sample policies, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 440/684-9700.