It's hard to believe we're already halfway through 2015! As we dive into Q3, now is the perfect time to check-in with your team and see how they're tracking while you've still got ample time to adjust your approach.

Depending on your organisation, you may want to conduct a one-on-one check-in with each team member, a whole team check-in or a combination of both. A combination allows you to reflect on individual performance as well as reinforcing your team's collective goals.

Remember, these are not formal performance reviews but a chance for you and your team to discuss how you can all pull together to achieve your goals for the rest of the year. If performance issues are uncovered during this exercise they should be tabled to address during a dedicated performance review.

To make these check-ins as productive as possible be clear about the purpose when setting the meeting and the information your team will need to bring. Here are the key areas we suggest you cover to get the best outcome possible:

What we said we'd achieve

Hopefully your team started the year with a clear strategy and an understanding of the role each of them would play in its delivery. A quick recap of these goals and their associated timelines ensures you're on the same page from the outset. Any disagreement at this stage allows you to address the misunderstanding before you start questioning deliverables.

What we have achieved

This gives team members a chance to highlight their achievements and for you to acknowledge the role these have played in moving the team towards their overall objective. It is crucial to acknowledge good work and wins because it will help motivate employees to continue achieving if they know it will be appreciated and that they are contributing to a greater purpose.

What have we missed, and why

Make sure employees understand that this is their chance to tell you what isn't working and where they need help so you can work together as a team to move forward. Set an expectation that team members come to this discussion with data or documents to support what is working and why, as well as an overview of where they need help. This will help you have all the information necessary to get the full picture.  

It is also crucial that you lead by example and are ready to admit any areas where you are having difficulty. This helps foster a culture of honesty, egality and collaboration.  

It is crucial to acknowledge good work and wins because it will help motivate employees to continue achieving

Re-cap and next steps

Follow-up with a team email recapping achievements to date (and mention any standout contributions from team members) and outline the agreed plan for tackling remaining tasks and objectives. Don't be afraid to admit if you don't have all the answers yet - this is a chance for your team to take the initiative to find the answer. You'd be amazed how many people step up when they see an opportunity to contribute.

One of the most important determinants of team performance is how engaged your employees are with their work. Engagement naturally ebbs and flows, and it pays to remember that external factors can seriously impact a person's 'engagement bandwidth', so tread carefully when addressing issues in this area.

If you're looking for strategies to increase engagement and improve performance, these five tips to boost employee engagement can get you started.

Summary

A mid-year check in allows you to review achievements to date and uncover any roadblocks to achieving your goals for the rest of the year. Examine the reasons behind any failures or missed objectives and use this as a opportunity to energise your team and power through Q3 and Q4.
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