We get it. It’s the end of the busiest season of the year and though cooler weather is right around the corner, you may be feeling the burn(out) from some of your employees. There may be some difficult conversations on the horizon, some employees may have had a long summer and are ready to throw in the towel, both literally and figuratively. Here are some tips to make the “end of summer letdown” go more smoothly:
Offer Opportunities to Grow:
Many times employees feel burnt out when they feel as though they have plateaued in their career. According to the staffing group, Idea Connect, 27% of employees indicate “more opportunities” at work would make them more engaged. 20% of those same employees indicated career development and training opportunities would make them more engaged. If you could ensure that at least one-quarter of your staff was satisfied in their jobs simply by offering training and development opportunities wouldn’t you want to do it?
Turn Tough Conversations Around:
According to author Andrew Sobel, the easiest way to turn a tough conversation around is to ask “power questions”. Power questions allow you to turn a conversation around, shift the focus back to the other person and give you some valuable time to gather your thoughts. When a burnt out employee comes to you with guns blazing, it helps to take a step back and ask questions such as “Can you tell me more about this problem?” (This demonstrates your interest and helps explore the problem more deeply.) “How do you think things got to this point?” (This may uncover the origins of the problem, including things that may have exacerbated it.)
Hit the Reset Button:
At this stage of the season, employees and their managers have spent many a long day together and have seen the good, bad and ugly sides many times. When the stress of a situation gets too hot to handle, Sobel suggest taking a step back and calling a reset where you, the manager asks to take a step back and start a scenario over again. This gives the manager an opportunity to shift the focus back to the team, or the task at hand rather than allowing things to get out of hand. This tactic is effective for salvaging difficult conversations and scenarios, but it must be used early on before things get too out of hand.
Get Back on Track:
In our Motivate Me course, we discuss strategies to get a team that has fallen apart back on track, and many of these strategies can be equally applied to an employee who finds that they have lost their way. These methods include discussing the situation at hand, determining goals and setting a plan of action. It’s imperative to encourage positive self-talk and hold employees accountable when negative talk enters into the conversation. No one wants to be the one to bring the team down.
At some point after a very busy but productive season, offering overtime pay isn’t enough to motivate even your best employees. That’s when it’s time to celebrate your employees through time spent together and recognition. Maybe it’s time for some team-building activities such as happy hour or bowling, and taking time to recognize your employees for a job well done through incentive-based rewards. Don’t underestimate the impact that building hope, creating trust, and promoting fun can be to a motivating work environment.
The end of a busy season can be difficult for managers to navigate; especially when it seems like tensions are running high from all involved parties. But, in an industry where members drive revenue, a busy season means a profitable season. So, despite the fact that it may be difficult to see the forest through the trees at the end of a long season, pat yourself on the back for another successful season—only eight months to go until Memorial Day! That’s plenty of time to regroup, get some rest, reflect on wins and losses this season and consider your goals and training opportunities for next year.
If you are one of the lucky few who are about to embark on your season and the cooler weather brings about your busiest time – (hello Arizona, Palm Springs and Nevada – we’re talking to you), you can use these tips to keep your team motivated throughout the season.
Whitney Reid Pennell, president of the RCS Hospitality Group (formerly Reid Consulting Services) is a celebrated management consultant, educator and speaker. RCS, the creators of the Food and Beverage Boot Camp™, specialize in operations consulting, strategic planning, food and beverage management, and training programs.
For more information, phone (623) 322-0773; or visit the RCS website at www.consultingrcs.com.