People Management
5 min.

20 Ways to Boost Employee Motivation This Summer

Andrée-Anne Blais-Auclair
Last updated on 31 Oct. 2023
Published on 20 Jul. 2023
main qui tient un cornet de crème glacée à trois boules et deux autres mains qui tiennent un cornet elles aussi
main qui tient un cornet de crème glacée à trois boules et deux autres mains qui tiennent un cornet elles aussi

Motivation at work is key to employee performance, and by the same token, the smooth running of any organization. Yet summertime—with its inevitable vacations, pool parties and outings—often brings with it a problematic drop in motivation.

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Motivated employees are more loyal and much more productive. In fact, they are reported to put 57% more effort into their work, according to a study by PWC. What’s more, companies with highly motivated employees have been found to have 147% higher earnings per share than the competition. 😮

These figures speak to just how crucial your team’s motivation is.
Have you noticed that during specific times of year, such as summer or the holidays, employees tend to be less motivated?

Don’t worry, this can be overcome. To help you, in this post I’m going to suggest a variety of fairly simple things try out in order to motivate your employees this summer season.

20 easy-to-apply ideas to boost motivation at work

Overcome low motivation with small gestures

1. A round of iced coffees

A nice round of iced coffees is not to be underestimated! Especially if your team works outdoors. Iced coffee is a real godsend when it’s hot out. Word to the wise 😅

2. Popsicle or ice cream snack

A box of Mr. Freeze or cyclones is similar to a round of iced coffees, minus the caffeine. A pitcher of iced tea can be similarly effective. A low-cost snack that can go a long way.

3. Paid lunch

A complimentary lunch fosters motivation at work and serves as a great reward for a hard-working team. After a particularly demanding or busy day or period, surprise your team with a meal.

💡 Practical example: Put some pizzas out in the break room during lunchtime on a Friday, or a tray of sandwiches in the fridge. This way, employees’ different schedules won’t be an obstacle to enjoying this treat from their employer.

4. Healthy snacks at work

I don’t know about you, but a bowl of fresh fruit, protein chips or a plate of muffins at the start of a shift and I’m off to the races. 🔥

Boosting motivation through employee recognition

5. Employee of the week

The jury is in: recognition is a visceral need shared by all humans, and it’s a major driver of commitment and motivation at work. This summer, minimize your employees’ loss of motivation with a concept such as employee of the week or month. Why not add a small prize, such as a VIP parking space for that period of time?

💡 Practical example: Invite your colleagues to vote for an employee who has distinguished themselves during a given period, and to briefly explain why. Spotlight the winner in the staff room, or better yet, above the cash registers or in the entrance area, so that customers can see this recognition. Team members’ votes can easily be collected via a ballot box, or using a professional communication or survey tool.

6. Contest for best sales or best customer service

Similar to the idea of an employee of the week, energize your teams’ performance by putting on a competition to highlight their good work. These opportunities can inspire people to surpass themselves, which is highly motivating.

💡 Practical example: Encourage customers to leave feedback on the service they received in each grocery department, and compile the comments at the end of the month. Then you can name the department with the best customer service! Was it bakery, deli or fish?

Motivate your employees with team-building activities

7. Assemble a sports team

What better way to build employee loyalty to your organization than with a sports team? This team-building activity will spur motivation at work by strengthening bonds between colleagues and rallying the team around a common goal.

8. BBQ lunch

A BBQ lunch is easy and so motivating. It will also serve up recognition for your team’s effort at work.

💡 Practical example: Bring a small portable BBQ to work and supply hot dogs or hamburgers with veggies and chips. That’s all there is to it. This is an excellent team-building idea to break the routine.

9. Outdoor happy hour

Enjoying happy hour on a patio is fun and sure to be a hit in the summertime.

💡 Practical example: Offer your team members 1 or 2 free drinks to encourage them to turn out and to thank them for their contribution to the company.

10. Volunteering or environmental activities

Team-building has a huge impact on motivation at work, as you’ve heard me say before. 😛 Try something new and different—a team-building activity where you can give back.

💡Practical example: Here are a few quick ideas: cook a meal for people in need, make aid baskets for the homeless, or collect garbage in partnership with a specialized community organization. In the Eastern Townships, Action St-François organizes these kinds of activities with work teams.

Motivate your employees with the work schedule

11. Summer schedule

Summer is a busy time across many industries. It’s also a time when many part-time employees, such as students, work full-time.
So, what do I mean by a summer schedule? I can hear you telling me now that summer is your peak season, so a summer schedule would be unthinkable. What I suggest is that you find a way to give your employees opportunities to enjoy the warm weather. Be creative and adapt this to your situation.

💡 Practical example: Create a shared schedule for two employees where they alternate Saturday shifts, for example, week after week. This gives each employee every other Saturday to enjoy the (short!) warm season.

12. Two additional floating vacations

Offer your employees 2 days off that they can take at any time during the summer. Floating vacations will enable them to do outings with family and friends.

13. Respect time-off requests

If your employees ask you in advance for time off for a special occasion, an event, or even a short getaway, do everything in your power to respect their request. Everyone deserves a break, especially when the weather’s nice!

14. Match your employees with their friends

At first blush, you might think that having friends work the same shifts is a mistake. After all, friends can get chatty and lose focus, right?

Nevertheless, friends who work together also make for more satisfied, motivated employees who look forward to coming to work. All of these factors help fire up job performance and motivation. What’s more, they may even be able to carpool to work.

15. Shift swapping, subject to your approval

Allow your employees to swap shifts so they enjoy more flexibility at work. This latitude is a great source of motivation, especially in the summer, when there are more things they will want to do outside of work. ☀️

16. A longer break for eating out

It’s summer, the short but beloved patio season in Canada. Offer an extended lunch so your employees can eat at a restaurant or park. Give your team a split shift so they can enjoy the afternoon, between lunch and dinner shifts.

Motivate your employees with novelty

17. Training that connects with employee interests

Sometimes, training and skill development end up on the back burner due to a lack of time or simply a failure to prioritize them. Motivate your employees by offering them the chance to pick a training course that sparks their interest and that they can complete during the summer. Training courses abound on all kinds of topics and can take many different forms, from face-to-face and online groups to self-paced learning.

💡 Practical example: Offer wine training to one of your service staff.

18. Rotating roles

If your organization allows it, avoid boredom for employees who usually work part-time but become full-time during the summer. Rather than giving them more of the role they’re used to, offer them a hybrid role.

💡 Practical example: Let your floor clerk at the pharmacy work certain shifts at the cash register. Or as a restaurant owner, offer your hostess the opportunity to learn to be a barista or bar helper on certain shifts.

19. Discussions about your employees’ future goals

Summer can be the perfect opportunity for one-on-ones focused on your employees’ future goals. Knowing what stimulates your team members and hearing about their future plans and dreams can give you inspiring ideas of things you can implement at your organization.

💡Practical example: Your employee, who is also a marketing student, would probably be delighted to help with your retail advertising efforts. Your colleague studying kinesiology would likely be thrilled to create a sports team representing your business, in addition to being a grocery clerk.

20. An outdoor area for breaks and lunch

Do you have enough space for an outdoor break area? Don’t wait! Set it up today. The new area will be a great source of satisfaction for your team and a place to enjoy warmth and sunshine during their breaks.

The key to motivation at work: talk to your employees!

The deepest motivation is intrinsic—it comes from within. A small, occasional, unexpected treat helps to get people going in the short term, but it’s no substitute for deep, sincere commitment.

Talk to your team and directly ask them what makes them more motivated or, on the contrary, what demotivates them at work.

What are your employees really thinking?

Leverage their opinion with easy-to-create internal surveys.

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