With summer often comes a more relaxed attitude around the office — employees donning short sleeves, the occasional meeting moved outside to the sunshine, etc.
It’s a nice change of pace for many employees — and one that Human Resources can make the most of.
Think of summer like half-time in a football game. Your employees have been working diligently in the first half of the year, but now are in need of a break and a moment of reflection. After considering their successes and challenges thus far, there’s the possibility for the second half to be even stronger. It’s a crucial moment of harnessing momentum and translating it into action.
One way that HR can seize on this moment to re-inspire their workforce is through a midyear review of previously defined goals. Even at organizations that require regular goal setting, it can be difficult for employees to remember their goals through the day-to-day busyness of the week. Encouraging intentional time to stop and reflect is crucial for empathetic employers.
To build and direct employees’ energy and passion toward progress, every half-time break needs a great leader. Here’s how HR leaders can lead the way to an impactful midyear goal review:
- Determine your goal setting framework. It’s important to use a common language when talking about goals, and many organizations have a system to guide employee development. But if you have yet to introduce a strategy, there’s a wide range of possible approaches. SMART goals are often seen as the industry standard, directing employees to create goals that are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound. It gets employees thinking about execution. Some organizations have found approaches that work for their specific employee populations. Google, as another example, utilizes a “Objectives and Key Results” system, with results that are graded for success, and “stretch goals” that allow for pushing beyond current expectations. Most important is determining the right system for your organization.
- Empower managers. Your departmental managers will be your biggest ally in getting the word out about midyear goal review, and in personalizing it for individual employees. Before introducing the review process to employees, ensure you have buy-in from managers. This can mean a mandatory in-person meeting, or a series of emails to share information. During this time, it would be useful to counsel managers on how to organize the reviews with their employees and what topics should be covered to make the process meaningful.
- Make informal self-surveys available. Once you know your goal-setting framework and have the support of managers, it’s time to spread the word. Employees should know that the review process is about your organization’s intention to support their personal career growth. Offering self-surveys that are private or anonymous will give employees ownership over goal-setting.
- Connect employee goals to larger company goals. It’s been reported that 53% of American workers are “not engaged” at work, meaning they show up to work and do the minimum requirement, but would leave their company for an outside offer. Linking goal review back to larger company goals is the right approach for demonstrating to these employees that their daily work contributes on a foundational level to larger initiatives. Done well, showing the big picture can help employees feel more connected—and less likely to leave your organization.
- Check in on other factors. Like all initiatives that HR can lead the way on, workplace empathy should be the guiding light here. Remembering that employee progress can be impacted by outside factors like family life, financial stress, and mental health issues is a strong way to demonstrate empathy for the full picture of their lives. A manager who covers both career goals and the way that daily life impacts those goals will be most successful in this project long-term.