From Associated Financial Group's Hiring and Retention eLine newsletter, July 2013

A recent Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) survey outlining the most important aspects of employee job satisfaction ranked job security as most important (63 percent). Benefits fell second (60 percent), with compensation and pay close behind (57 percent). As employers focus on these top concerns, some of the “little things” we can do to motivate employees can fall through the cracks.

Five tips for employee motivation this summer

Can you believe it’s already summer time? For managers, summer presents a unique set of challenges to motivate and engage employees. Summertime hype, beautiful sunny days, and kids off school can easily create distractions for those of us in the office all summer. Instead of worrying about disengaged, distracted employees, be proactive. Here are five great tips to maximize employee motivation over the summer months:

  1. Offer a little flexibility. Give employees a little leeway this season. Studies have found that work weeks over 40 hours can be harmful to employee motivation and the organization as a whole. Create a summer schedule where appropriate. If an employee needs to be home with his or her kids an hour earlier than normal, let them in return for coming in an hour earlier. Trust your employees. shares tips for creating an effective summer-hours policy.
  2. Focus on team building. In the midst of busy projects and deadlines, team building tends to be swept under the rug. A strong team is an effective team. Summer is the perfect time to organize team building events and group brainstorming sessions. When the weather is nice, grab a cold soda and have your meeting outside!
  3. Have casual dress days. Steered by the company’s culture, some organizations encourage casual dress 24/7. If this isn’t your company, offer employees a causal day once a week (when appropriate, of course).
  4. Encourage healthy living. Work can be stressful for all of us. Research has found that 86 percent of full-time employees in the U.S. are above average weight or have at least one chronic condition, which unfortunately affects productivity. Healthy employees are happy employees! Take this opportunity to implement a corporate wellness program supported by your business. Offer healthy snacks in the office vending machine, encourage employees to take walks, or even offer discounts at the local gym. Join us for a complimentary seminar designed and presented by our in-house wellness and compliance consultants.
  5. Coordinate a summertime event. This is a great morale booster and opportunity to invite employees’ families to come together. Encourage a positive corporate culture and show your employee how much you value their hard work.

Other popular “perks” include a comfortable and unique work environment, the option to telecommute and snacks. Some organizations have a "bring your pet to work" day, dry-cleaning delivered to the employee’s desk, a concierge service and take-home meals.

According to the SHRM study, one of the most significant challenges of this decade is the selection, retention and motivation of top-performing talent. Organizations have implemented benefit programs, signing bonuses and countless other attractions designed to win employee loyalty and stimulate employee engagement.

To be effective, leaders must do more than simply tell employees what to do — they must provide vision and inspiration to get the most from their employees. Associated Financial Group provides a seminar that will introduce supervisors and managers to the skills needed to become great leaders. It is designed for both the new supervisor who is just starting out, and the experienced manager who is looking for a refresher course.

To learn more about motivating employees through effective leadership, register for our September seminar “Leading to success.” If you would like more information, email us at or call 800-258-3190.

Some of the information in this article is reprinted with permission from Profiles International.

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Insurance products are offered by licensed agents of Associated Financial Group, LLC. (“AFG”). • Insurance products offered are NOT deposits or obligations of, insured by the FDIC or any agency of the United States. • AFG is an affiliate of Associated Banc-Corp (“AB-C”). AB-C and its affiliates do not provide tax, legal or accounting advice. Please consult with your tax, legal or accounting advisors regarding your individual situation. This material is for information solely and should not be construed as tax, legal or accounting advice. Copyright © 2013 by Associated Financial Group, LLC. All rights reserved.