As the summer comes to an end, and students and teachers return to school, many businesses face the challenge of rebuilding their teams.

While this can be a daunting task, with some careful planning and creativity, it is possible to build just as strong of a team without hiring additional employees — especially if you’re anticipating a winter break return of those temporary employees.

Let’s explore how you can build a strong team after summer turnover.

Assess Your Current Team

Yes, you lost some talent, but it is important to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of your remaining team members. Take the time to look at each team member’s skills, knowledge and experience.

At first glance, you might identify skill gaps. I’m going to encourage you to look at those gaps as opportunities.

For example, your pet salon might have lost its dedicated nail trimmer. If your dog washer has been with your company for two years but has never lifted a pair of nail shears, there is your opportunity.

Develop a plan to address those opportunities. This leads us to our next step.

Provide Opportunities for Professional Development

Providing opportunities for professional development is essential for building a strong team. When team members have the skills and knowledge they need to perform their jobs effectively, they are more likely to be engaged and motivated in their work.

There are several ways to provide professional development opportunities for your team. This can look like offering training courses, workshops, conferences or asking staff members to take on new challenges and responsibilities.

When learning or training is required for a position, 49% of employees elect to do so.

—LinkedIn Learning

It is also essential to provide ongoing feedback and support to team members as they develop new skills and knowledge. This can help to ensure that they can apply what they have learned in their day-to-day work.

Set Clear Expectations

Motivation and engagement levels soar when team members have a clear understanding of what’s expected of them.

Think of it as a map. Could you make a cross-country trip without a map giving you clear directions? Likely, but it’ll take you much longer than it should.

When you make expectations for your employees clear as the GPS yelling turns and exits at you, you help to minimize confusion and ensure that everyone is working towards the same goals.

Employees should have:

  • Knowledge of their roles
  • Understanding of their responsibilities
  • Guidelines on how work should be completed

This is especially true when divvying up duties to fill in those now open positions. You may find the workload has become too heavy. In that case, prioritize meaningful tasks and automate repetitive tasks.

It is also important to provide regular feedback to team members on their performance. Not only can this help to identify any areas where team improvement can occur, but it can also help to recognize and celebrate achievements.

89% of Human Resources professionals say providing ongoing feedback and clear expectations are optimal for increasing employee engagement.

—Work Human

Foster a Positive Work Environment

Creating a positive work environment is paramount in building a productive staff. When employees feel valued and supported, they are more likely to be motivated and engaged in their work. This can lead to increased productivity and better overall performance.

One way to foster a positive work environment is to encourage open communication between team members. Urge team members to share their ideas and opinions, and make sure that everyone feels heard and valued.

This can help to build trust and collaboration within the team and help you to recognize when your staff is feeling overwhelmed.

Another way to create a positive work environment is to recognize and celebrate the achievements of team members.

This can be as simple as acknowledging a job well done or providing opportunities for team members to take on new challenges and responsibilities.

Encourage Team Improvement

You’re down on staff count but not on heart. When team members work together effectively, they can achieve more than they would be able to on their own. Provide opportunities for team members to collaborate on projects or tasks.

This helps build trust and communication within the team and you may notice some emerging leaders in the process.

How well do your employees know one another? Providing opportunities for team members to get to know each other outside of work is another way to get everyone functioning as a team.

Building a strong team after summer turnover can be a challenge, but with a plan in place, it is possible to build up a team that is motivated and more than capable of achieving great things.