Lindsay LaNore: Time for a check-in

By Lindsay LaNore, ICBA

In January, we looked at the importance of connecting with your team—and staying connected. Believe it or not, we’re fast approaching 2021’s halfway point, which is the perfect time to revisit the subject.

Employees thrive when they receive regular, constructive feedback. In fact, some experts suggest that having additional midyear or quarterly check-ins can be more effective than traditional annual reviews alone. They’re a great way of strengthening team relationships, reviewing projects and priorities, and discussing career development opportunities.

June is the perfect time for check-ins with your team if you haven’t already done them. It’s a great month to look back on what has happened over the year so far and to celebrate what they have achieved. It’s also a good time to look forward and make plans and adjustments for the next six months.

So, what should the check-in look like? It’s a conversation and, like most conversations, a great way to start is with a simple, “How are you?” Perhaps this year more than ever, it’s important to talk about satisfaction and wellness. With all its unexpected twists, turns and shifts, the COVID-19 pandemic has taken a toll on everyone, whether it’s physically, mentally, emotionally or all three. A sense of exclusion in the workplace is highly detrimental to employee performance, and it’s easy to see how physical distancing can create an artificial feeling of separation. So, start with the basics.

Find out how your team member is doing and then zero in on the first half of the year by asking:

  • How has the year been so far?
  • What are some of your recent work highlights?
  • What have you learned?
  • Where are you in terms of the goals we established at the start of the year?
  • What are the biggest challenges you’ve encountered?
  • Are there any obstacles hampering your performance?

Provide positive feedback and constructive criticism. Once you’ve evaluated where they stand, start talking about the second half of the year, and make sure to discuss opportunities for professional development. Ask them:

  • What are your plans and goals for the rest of 2021?
  • What skills would you like to develop in the remainder of the year?
  • What resources would be helpful to you right now?
  • How can I help support you to ensure success?

The answers gleaned during these check-ins can help establish goals for the remainder of the year and provide for adjustments to current plans.

Questions are one of a supervisor’s most powerful tools. Asking the right questions and listening to learn should be priorities for every supervisor. And most importantly, asking those questions with sincerity and taking the time to listen not only builds understanding but also enriches employee trust—making it well worth the effort.

Lindsay LaNore ( is group executive vice president and chief learning and experience officer