Halfway Through the Year: Do You Know Where Your Employees Are?

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Steve Giglio, Executive Communications and Sales Trainer, Lists Top 5 Excuses Used to Avoid Mid-Year Reviews and How to Overcome Them

It’s halftime, 2011. A sports coach would take this time to assess the game, adjust strategy, determine what players are excelling and which need guidance, create a plan for the second half and deliver that plan with a strongly worded pep talk that motivates his players to go out and win.

In business, the same kind of half-time assessment is called the mid-year review. And it gets short shrift according to executive development and communications trainer Steve Giglio.

“I’ve seen top-level executives at prestigious companies avoid mid-year reviews like the plague,” says Giglio. “They have all sorts of reasons why, none of which make up for the lost opportunity to learn where their employees are in relation to their annual goals.”

Giglio has compiled a list of the most common excuses managers use to avoid mid-year reviews and his advice on how to overcome them.

1) “I don’t have time and neither do they.”
Stressful jobs compounded with a challenging economy makes for little time to assess anything...it’s just go, go, go. Giglio warns that this does more harm than good. “Working hard is good. But working hard in the wrong direction is not. And unless you know what direction your employees are heading, you won’t be able to steer them back on course if they’ve gotten away from goals. Wait until the end of the year and it’s too late.”

2) “I don’t want to get in their way.”
Employees have jobs to do. Managers who interupt normal routines may be seen as intruding or micro-managing. But Giglio says the mid-year review is the tool to use to formalize the process of checking in. “It is your job to assess their work and insert yourself into their routine if you see a developing pattern that won’t achieve the desired result. The mid-year review will nip that behavior in the bud.”

3) “I will just close the business myself.”
Many times a manager will “cover” for a struggling employee, thinking that they are demonstrating leadership while really, the opposite is true. “Managers who do the work for their employees are enabling the employee to continue poor performance. A mid-year review gives the manager an opportunity to point out the deficiencies, map out a plan for success and put the responsibility on the employee to improve, with continued guidance from the manager.”

4) “They will turn it around with a quick wake-up call instead.”
A one-time lecture about how things need to change, even passionately delivered, provides a short burst of motivation but doesn’t deal with the real problems. Behaviors that have developed over time will take time to correct. “The mid-year review gives you a chance to provide strong guidance for your employee,” says Giglio. “You are providing feedback based on half the year, knowing that an equal amount of time is left to correct issues and be successful. The key is following up and making sure they implement what you both agreed would be good steps for their development.”

5) “I hate doing reviews because I’m not good at them.”
“Then get good at them,” says Giglio. “It starts by actually doing them but also by having someone observe your style and effectiveness so your management skills can be assessed and you can improve.” Giglio’s executive development programs, which he has implemented for companies such as American Express, Conde Nast, Moody’s and others, are geared around practicing and fine tuning a manager’s skill at effectively developing strong employees.

Companies where managers actively engage in mid-year reviews regularly deliver higher results than those who do not. “You want to be able to look back at the end of the year knowing that you did everything to ensure success. The mid-year review is critical as a benchmark for how far you have come and how far you have to go to achieve that success.”

About Steve Giglio
Steve Giglio has more than 20 years experience with Fortune 500 companies by creating training programs aimed at improving communciations skills in mission-critical scenarios. Giglio’s client list includes American Express, Conde Nast, Lexis/Nexis, TimeOUT NY, Moody’s and many others. Drawing extensively from that work, Giglio authored Beating the Deal Killers: Overcoming Murphy’s Law, an entertaining and informative handbook for people presenting themselves publicly.

Steve Giglio’s office is located in Manhattan at 250 W. 57 Street, Suite 713, NY, NY, 10107. He can be contacted via phone at (212) 586-2400 or e-mail at info(at)giglioco(dot)com. His web site and blog are at http://www.giglioco.com.

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