Posted by Sandy Yu on 7.25.2019
Employees have been on track toward their goals for months. But we're now in that difficult middle spot of the year when employees begin feeling less enthusiastic about their goals. This leaves a gaping-wide hole for employee engagement to decrease and burnout to increase -- both are a major threat to the employee experience.
Leaders must let employees know they’re prepared to support them through this mid-year slump. More importantly, it’s time to improve the employee experience before it takes a negative toll on the company as a whole.
We found leaders who have faced mid-year challenges first-hand -- and successfully managed them. Here are a few take-aways from their experiences:
Mid-year is a time when employees are working toward bonuses that are still so far away. We keep engagement high and the employee experience positive during this time by offering two half-year bonuses, rather than an annual bonus.
These bonuses are directly linked to the company’s H1 and H2 performances. This ensures employees always have a financial milestone on the horizon -- whether it be in January or July.
July bonuses have the added benefit of helping fund summer trips for our employees with children, which increases their overall work satisfaction as well.
This time of year, employees may be losing their steam or they’re even dreading mid-year reviews. This strikes a major blow to both the employee experience and engagement.
First, let employees know early on how success will be measured. The sooner they know what their target looks like, the sooner they can hit it. Once they know how it will be measured, set them up for success. Provide them with the necessary information, tools, training, resources, and support to meet and even exceed their goals.
Discover how you can further help them meet those goals by checking in with them frequently. Find out how things are going and what you can do to help them. When you have frequent, two-way feedback conversations, the mid-year review is not a surprise.
Celebrate successes throughout the year. When employees meet and exceed performance goals, acknowledge, praise, and celebrate accomplishments.
When it comes to improving the employee experience at any time, and especially mid-year when the excitement for new initiatives may be waning, leaders must ensure they have some compelling sustainment plans in place.
Always connect your people to the overall strategy. Highlight how individuals are contributing to the goals and outcomes of the business.
When people are reminded that their individual contributions are critical to the success of the whole, they will feel part of something bigger than themselves and this can be really motivating.
Also, keep your organizational purpose top of mind. If you're a purpose-driven company, you need to continually focus on the purpose of the organization and how each employee is critical to the success of that purpose. This big-picture view helps people remain focused on the overarching journey at hand.
In my experience, the midpoint of the year can be a challenging time for my geographically dispersed team. In previous years, I witnessed a significant decline in both energy and enthusiasm.
After some investigation, I realized that this was a reaction to our focus on over-performing during the first half of the year. I knew I needed to take action to maintain our usual high level of energy. So, I started to offer all of my employees a shorter work week. Accordingly, during the summertime, I run “Happy Fridays.” This means everyone gets every Friday off -- no questions asked.
Since its introduction two years ago, I have noticed a substantial improvement in both energy and enthusiasm during the tough summer months.