Though in the midst of back-to-school promotions filling shelves at nearly every retail store, we’re also approaching what some have dubbed as the dog days of summer.

Likely drawing mixed emotions for students and teachers…summer is generally a time that school employees actually catch up on the important things that were hard to do during the energy-zapped school year.

The question then becomes, how do you keep employees motivated when they too were just so recently singing the chorus of “school’s out for the summer”?

Motivation and empowerment is at the core of what one of PrimePay’s clients, River Rock Academy, uses to guide its students throughout their time with the program. Since 2005, River Rock has taught and improved the lives of at-risk and troubled youth from kindergarten aged through 12th grade. On average, they service about 550 kids at one time from multiple campuses all over the Central Pennsylvania area.

Jarelle Smoker, Chief Financial Officer, has been at the school for nine years. He explained the similarities of River Rock with a typical educational institution, “we have regular curriculum, but we also have online curriculum. We have regular teachers, we have the special education teachers and we have behavior managers, or what we call the ‘muscle’ in the building. Our school starts at 8 a.m. and kids are gone by 2 p.m. They have a residential program so they come and go like a regular student would. We do have more counselors in our building than you might see at a regular district and our student to staff ratio is 5 to 1 (elementary is 3 to 1).”

River Rock Academy utilizes their tried and true methods to make a difference in each and every student’s life. But what about that “off” season I mentioned earlier?

Here are a few ideas on how to keep your staff going throughout the ‘slow’ seasons. By using their skills to add value to your business, you might just end up discovering something new:

Use the time to catch up on important, possibly neglected tasks – River Rock uses the summertime to “take advantage of the empty buildings and do a lot of IT upgrades. We might do repairs and maintenance on the building, put in new carpeting, etc.,” explained Smoker.

Was there a lingering project you and your employees have been putting off because you were just too busy to get to it? Finally getting the opportunity to check that box off the to do list can serve as motivation to start the next busy season with a clear plate.

  • Goal planning – What a perfect time to reflect on the season and adjust your goals for the remainder of the year! You can also use this time to get your team excited and motivated for what’s ahead.
  • Training – It’s super important for small business owners to ensure employees are continuously trained in order to stay on top of industry trends (and thus compete against bigger companies).
  • Use your slower months to take advantage of all the resources out there that can help your employees both personally and professionally. Webinars, or even on-site seminars are great interactive ways that your employees can stay ahead of the curve on their educational training. It doesn’t always have to just be refresher courses either. Looking to update some processes during your next busy season? Take this time to properly and thoroughly train everyone so that every employee is well prepared for that next step.
  • Thank your customers – Too often we get wrapped up in our daily tasks that we forget to pause and thank the customers who help make that possible.

You can find more about River Rock Academy and its programs by clicking here.