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Remember December, when you were completely snowed in under a pile of work and you had to do all those employee reviews and outline goals for 2018? Phew! You got it done and you haven't thought about it since.

While that's quite normal, it's also bad management. There's no point in doing year-end evaluations and setting goals for the coming year if you don't plan to follow up on your team's progress throughout the year. Just think: If you do check in with your teams, come December 2018, writing those performance reviews will be a lot easier. And you'll likely see better performance if your employees are engaged and actively working toward their goals all year long.

As the second quarter comes to a close, it's the perfect time to check in with your employees on their progress towards their 2018 goals. Here's how to do it:

1. Make a Formal Appointment

Discussing an employee's progress when it comes to reaching annual goals isn't something you can bring up casually after a meeting. You need a formal, one-on-one meeting with each employee. That way, this serious matter won't get lost in the shuffle.

2. Prep Your Employee

Employees don't like year-end reviews, and they won't like mid-year check-ups either. It might feel like a punishment, which it's not. Tell them the following to set the stage effectively:

We're halfway through the year, so it's a good time to follow up on goals. Can you take a look at your goals for 2018 and come prepared to talk about how you're doing? We especially want to look at:

  • Goals you've completed
  • Goals that don't make sense any more
  • New goals that we should add
  • Any concerns you have
  • Any specific support you need to achieve 2018's goals

By preparing your employees in this manner, they'll know what to expect and will also start to realize that it's okay if things aren't going perfectly. Pay special attention to the second point—lots of people feel like year-end goals are set in stone, but businesses change quickly and there really may be things that don't make sense any more. The key is to adjust goals to reflect any changes.

3. Hold the Meeting

Go over your employee's goals and take careful notes. If she comes to you with concerns, make sure you focus on how to help tackle those. Does she need additional support or training? Identify ways to empower her to be successful through different learning opportunities.

Make the meeting an open dialogue. It shouldn't be a situation in which you're lecturing your employee on how poorly she has performed. Rather, it's a check-in to make sure things are going well, and if they are not, it's an opportunity to fix them.

4. Make Plans to Follow up Again

Ideally, you should continue to check in regularly with your team to make sure they remain on track. Your employees should feel comfortable coming to you and saying, "I need help" or "I've been focusing on X. Can we add it to my official performance goals?"

This approach helps build a supportive environment where employees feel engaged. And engaged employees are better performing employees.

Photo: Creative Commons