As we gear up for the upcoming holiday season and the spirit of festivity is in the air, it’s a good idea for managers to schedule their next employee check-in before wrapping up the year. The end of the year is overall a good time for employee check-in because it gives you an opportunity, as a manager, to understand the pulse of the team, how the year went by for everyone, what the team is looking forward to in the new year, and their general emotional wellbeing.
It’s also an excellent opportunity for the employees to connect and reflect upon some good and not-so-good moments spent with each other. Plus, with some budget still left, it gives you a good opportunity to gauge the needs of the employees so that you can utilize the funds for some appropriate programs.
Check-in questions and checklist
Here are some suggestions for check-in questions to understand your people's aspirations for the new year. Let's categorize them into three sections.
Preparing before the meeting
- To conduct effective one-on-one meetings, it is important that you are well-prepared. If you’re using a central platform to take notes, you can easily access your past notes to see what was mutually agreed upon and how the employee performed.
- Review the employee's goals to understand if there is any lag or if everything is on track.
- Review any other feedback from customers or other departments that must be discussed.
During the meeting
- Prioritize the discussion points. If you’re doing frequent check-ins, you will probably have a few goals and agendas to address. However, one tip here would be to get your employee talking instead of you doing most of the talking.
- Use open-ended questions and let the employee steer the conversation to better understand their aspirations for the new year.
- However, ensure the discussion doesn't derail and stay focused on the topic. Address any urgent issues if you have to.
- Ask questions about the project status to see if it's hitting the short-term and the long-term goals
- Ask if there are any roadblocks or anything that is causing too much stress
- Offer coaching and support to help them overcome the roadblocks
- Acknowledge their achievements and encourage their good work
- Don't hesitate to share constructive feedback and identify areas that they want to improve in the new year
- Ask the employee to share their thoughts on a recently completed project. How did they feel about it?
- Acknowledge if they are under any kind of stress from work and offer help to manage it better.
- The new year brings in opportunities for new learning. Discuss with your employees if they want to undergo training or if anything is due.
- Recommend training programs for them.
While you may genuinely care for your employees’ well-being, remember to respect your employees' privacy. Focus on how they are feeling and what kind of program you can introduce to help them feel better. These questions will help you gauge the emotional well-being of your employees:
- What makes you happy?
- Do you need to take work at home or stay back longer to finish work?
- Which was your last exciting task?
- Is the commute to and from work easy or stressful?
- How would you rate your mental state at the moment on a scale of 1 to 10
Here are some more questions to understand the social well-being of your employees
- Do you like the idea of celebrating birthdays at the office?
- What do you like to do in your free time? Do you practice any hobbies
- Do you feel connected to your team?
- Are you a member of any club or activities?
- Do you prefer to work remotely or in the office?
Checklist to check on emotional wellbeing
Check for worrying signs
Before anything else, you need to identify if your employee has any worrying symptoms that need to be addressed. Check for signs like sudden outbursts and mood swings, changes in work habits, continuous absenteeism, nervousness, irritability, and unusual behavior with colleagues – all of these can suggest mental health issues.
While the treatment is done by mental health professionals, managers play an important role in the destigmatization of mental health issues in the workplace.
Encourage work-life balance
Work-life balance is not a fancy word anymore that's good to have at the workplace; it's a must-have. With 75% of millennials taking up the workplace, work-life balance is a top priority now. During your employee check-ins, understand how your employees are achieving work-life balance, and how you can help them do so if they are not able to manage work-life balance.
As a manager, your role is to normalize talking about mental health in the workplace. While conducting employee surveys is a good way to gauge your employees' mental health status, there is a high chance that employees may shy away from participating in the surveys wholeheartedly. They may also suffer from survey fatigue if you constantly bombard them with surveys. Creating engagement activities and opening forums are better ways to help employees participate and engage in such conversations.
To build a positive work environment, it's important to keep a check on your employees from time to time. The year-end is a good time to bond with your employees and ask about their well-being and plans for the coming year.