Engaging employees counts, even if they have the summer off!

Engaging employees such as school bus drivers can include a fun welcome-back day! (Photo via dhendrix73, Flickr)

It’s already mid-summer, and we all need a reminder here and there to keep engaging employees — especially those who don’t work in the summertime!

School bus drivers are an excellent example of important employees who deserve year-round engagement — even when they aren’t at work!

An Arizona school district sets a stellar example of engaging employees in the summertime — we could all learn a thing or two from them!

Tips for Engaging Employees ON BREAK:

1. Create Opportunities for TEAMWORK

In “District’s Back-to-School Safety Drills Engage, Inspire Drivers,” Shannon Weber, director of transportation at J.O. Combs Unified School District #44 in San Tan Valley, Ariz., describes how her district welcomed drivers back with a fun, themed day that included required safety and regulatory training.

The theme was “Safety by Choice, Not by Chance,” and the day began with “The Amazing Race.” Teams, each assigned to a bus, practiced tasks such as bus evacuation, a driving-skills course, student stop drop-off, and student stop pickup. “Judges” watched for accuracy, thorough performance, and safety. If a team made mistakes during a task, they had to start again.

The team-based event “forced them to dig deep, be thorough, and rely on themselves and their peers.” It not only familiarized drivers with their coworkers and inspired collaboration, but prepared them for the upcoming school year!

2. Host INSPIRING EVENTS

Weber’s themed event inspired drivers to be conscientious, positive, and safety focused. Best of all, they worked together — and were excited about it!

Employees’ feedback indicated that even one off-season event, “brushed away the rust that summer break sometimes brings.”

“We anticipate a year filled with successes,” writes Weber, “… and have set the tone for ‘Safety by Choice, Not by Chance.'”

3. Invest in Training

Investing in training makes good business sense.  It’s an opportunity to bring workers together, build engagement, and develop skills that are most important to the success of your business! Whether it’s safety (for returning school bus drivers), technology training, teamwork building or professional development (for teachers or employees re-entering your workplace), investing in employees shows that you you value them.  Engage with co-workers and management and you’ll reinforce good feelings about your organization, too!

4. Stay in touch

Be sure to stay in touch with workers who have an extended absence such as a long summer break.  It preserves good feelings and keeps connectedness flowing! Not only that, but it’s an opportunity to communicate business goals and expectations for the upcoming season.
Consider creating a newsletter that highlights workers’ favorite summer stories.  It will help them look forward to re-connecting with your business and co-workers in the fall.

Additional resources

Here are helpful links for additional tips for welcoming employees back after an absence, whether a long weekend or a whole summer off:

For more great tips and insights into building a vibrant culture of engagement and recognition, be sure to download our free e-book, The Top 20 Employee Engagement Blogs You Should be Reading.”
Download our FREE eBook, "The Top 20 Employee Engagement Blogs You Should Be Reading" and jumpstart your workplace TODAY!
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