Wrapping Up the Season Strong

By Leon Cerna, SPHR, President,  HR Advantage Group

We all experience change. This time of year, kids are returning to school and the weather is beginning to cool down. Just as you adjust to the season personally, by buying new school clothes and resetting sleeping habits, it’s important to understand what you may need to do for your team and organization to finish your busy time of year in a strong fashion, while preparing for the next year.

Let’s take a little more in-depth look at what you should be considering as you wrap up the busy season.

Policies: Keep your guard up. We are all human and some reminders are helpful to ensure the team is working effectively.

  • OT Rules. 40 hours per week is still 40 hours per week. Reporting all time worked is critical; supervisors and employees must remain diligent in this practice.
  • Attendance, Tardiness, Breaks. Day 1 is just as important as day 85. Holding your team accountable to their shift times and being a responsible employer by providing water and breaks throughout their shift lays the foundation for next year’s success.
  • Harassment and Discrimination. We have all heard about the #METOO movement — don’t join the crowd. Just like you tend the garden for weeds during the growing season, it is a good idea to send out your policies and practices to your team as reminder of your expectations. If possible, a brief team meeting covering how we work together and how we report and respond to an issue when one arises is a great step. Weeds are visible but taking a preemergent approach is more beneficial #WEEDOUTHARASSMENT.
  • Health and Safety. Usually during orientation of new staff there is an emphasis on PPE (personal protective equipment) and MSDS (material safety data sheets). It is important to remain vigilant and encourage your supervisors to lead by example and walk among your team members throughout the day to recognize and encourage the good practices they learned when they started.

Staffing: What has worked well this year? It’s no secret that the unemployment rate is falling, and wages are moving up. How do you compete?

  • Evaluate your staff, specifically those seasonal staff members you would like to return next year. A good evaluation practice provides employees the motivation to finish the year strong and a desire to come back.
  • Reward your staff. Are any adjustments in pay needed? Things get busy and perhaps you forgot to give some pay increases. Take a look at all your employees and be sure that you reward those who have done a great job for you.
  • Recognize your staff. It is more than just pay or a gift card; Abram Maslow suggested in his famous hierarchy of needs that people also need to feel a sense of belonging. There is no doubt that the members of your team, who have been together for the season, have developed relationships. We all know that solid teamwork creates excellent work so keep the momentum going. As the season is nearing the end, examine what you can do to bring the team together (BBQ, pizza and maybe even create shirts — I survived 2018 @ ____) with enough time left in the season so it is not an afterthought, and everyone can benefit from the opportunity.
  • Early turnover. Prior to the season ending, some of your team members may quit earlier than anticipated. Before you are left scrambling to cover duties and responsibilities, identify and provide your key team members with opportunities to cross-train. This will not only help at the end of the season, but also give you an opportunity to evaluate if someone will be a good fit in a different role for next season.

Towards the end of the season, poor practices can seep in and hurt all your great work you have put in over the busy season. Stay vigilant. Your employees deserve it and your organization will benefit from reducing liability and maintaining good, sound practices.

 About Leon Cerna, SPHR: Leon Cerna, President of HR Advantage Group, is a highly-skilled human resources professional with 20 years of experience in strategic management, employee relations, talent acquisitions, and training and development. Leon has held leadership roles in Fortune 15 and 300 companies and worked in the public sector as a Chief HR Executive. He has served on a variety of councils, commissions and committees, including most recently the Personnel Merit Commission for the City and County of Broomfield. Leon’s philanthropic interests include mentoring and coaching recent college graduates who are entering the workforce. He can be reached at LeonCerna@HRAdvantagegroup.com.