Jul 9 2019 Elles Skony Blog Workplace Culture The Year is Half Over—Have You Checked in With Your Team? Expectations that are not said are expectations that are not set. As managers, we often find ourselves holding people accountable for things that they may not even know they are accountable for! It’s important to ask ourselves, “am I withholding feedback? Is there something I’m leaving unsaid?” and course correct accordingly. Going into the second half of the year, we’ve compiled a few best practices on how to conduct effective check-ins. Read on for the when’s, where’s, and how’s of employee feedback! When? Annual performance reviews are a thing of the past. At Centro, we encourage managers to continuously provide feedback to their teams, and to schedule a formal check-in at least twice a year (we call them “development check-ins.”) Whether or not your company has a system like this for you to use, it’s important to check in with your employees as you turn the corner into H2. Where? When you do check in with your employees, make sure you meet in person whenever possible! This conversation is too important for it to live in emails or performance management tools alone. How? Have the employee start by asking them to tell you how they think they’re doing. Use questions like these: What accomplishments are you proud of from the first half of the year? In what way(s) have you grown or developed a new skillset? What do you want to accomplish in the second half of this year? As your manager, how can I help? What feedback do you have for me? Are you not meeting or exceeding the expectations of your role currently? Do you feel clear on what those expectations are? Make sure you take the time to be thoughtful and respond to their answers. Then, provide your honest feedback—both constructive and, even more importantly, positive! It’s important to reinforce the behaviors you want to see. For instance, if your employee thinks they’re exceeding expectations, but you think they’re simply meeting expectations, give them specifics as to why you think that. You could say: “You’re doing a fantastic job, and I marked you as meeting expectations. I did that because based on the expectations I have of this role, including X, Y, and Z, I feel you are doing really well. If I were to mark you as exceeding expectations, I would look for you to be doing things that are not included in your role—really going above and beyond and stretching into that next level on this team. I imagine in the next 12 months I’ll start to see you doing more of those things and I will help you to identify what those opportunities are. But right now, I am extremely happy with the work you’re providing for the team. Do you understand how I view those differently? What questions do you have?” Our CEO, Shawn Riegsecker, has always said “if you think something three times, then say something.” It’s important to remember that if your employees are not aware of your feedback, they cannot improve—and it’s your job to help them be successful! If you have thought about something three times, no matter if it’s big or small, find an opportunity to communicate it. We can all agree that this isn’t an easy task—it’s often incredibly difficult—but with practice, it will become more comfortable for you and your team. Cheers to a successful second half of the year full of candor and feedback!