Today’s organizations are brimming with conversations about mid-year performance reviews. What are they, and why mid-year performance review matter?
For a long time, yearly reviews have been a constant part of employee lives. The idea was simple. Each year, employees worked for months, and during the last month of the performance cycle had to sit with their managers to talk about the appraisal. The meetings more often resulted in statements like ‘You got the appraisal’ or ‘You didn’t get the appraisal.’
With the concept of continuous feedback in motion, that has changed. Mid-year performance reviews are essential for employee appraisal. Moreover, they help in employee performance management during all 12 months and not just the last month of the cycle.
Why once-a-year performance review is not enough
To start, if you’re confused about how are performance appraisals and performance reviews different, then watch this HR perspective interview.
Coming back to the continuous feedback process. It does help in streamlining the employee appraisal process. How?
Mid-year evaluations are formal, and they’re needed. People may leave anytime. You don’t want to have a poorly performing employee leave the company one month before the annual performance reviews. Also, bonus policies are dependent on performance. The more transactional the work is, the more consistent and continuous it becomes concerning performance metrics. Therefore, this mid-year formal review allows managers to sit with their team members and figure out the roadblocks, objectives, and achievements.
Sometimes organizations can be low bandwidth when it comes to managers and HR. Let’s say you only have one person managing 50 employees. Don’t expect that person to evaluate 50 people effectively at the end of the year. Instead, a review every six months can reduce the burden and streamline the process.
Lastly, nobody remembers what happened ten months ago. People don’t even remember what happened a month ago. Do you really believe managers or employees will remember everything related to their work during the year? So, don’t do the exercise once a year. Divide and conquer is the way to go.
Mid-year performance reviews are a time to:
- Provide positive feedback on accomplishments and constructive feedback on areas needing improvements. For help, check out these performance review samples.
- Understand and create plans to eliminate possible roadblocks that are affecting employee performance.
- Adjust goals depending upon organizational requirements.
- Discuss employee satisfaction and see off issues to take care of employee wellbeing.
Different Departments, Different Strategies
Every department has different functions, objectives, and job roles. Therefore, the review needs to be done with an approach suitable to the relevant departments.
For example, an RnD team won’t have a daily scrum call because primarily their work is research. Whereas for a customer success team, a daily meeting is crucial. It helps check daily progress, ticket resolution status, and much more.
Therefore, when a manager sets that mid-year one-on-one meeting with an employee, it’s essential to have a performance review template and checklist ready before going into the meeting.
How to conduct better mid-year performance reviews
Managers, before going into any mid-year review meeting, remember these 4 steps as the core of your mid year performance review template:
No Last-Minute Meetings
Book the meeting a few days in advance and be consistent with your check-ins and provide the employee with proper meeting objectives and time to prepare.
Let the employee know that it is not a quick meeting to talk about small issues. But rather a formal conversation on things that matter. Communicate the purpose of the meeting clearly and make sure the employee understands the agendas without any confusion.
A great manager ensures that their employees know they are as invested in their success as they are. That’s why it’s better to start preparing in advance. Talk to peers or stakeholders the employee has worked with and take notes. Prepared a detailed list of goals and responsibilities and what was achieved concerning those objectives. A list of actionable items will help you provide constructive feedback instead of vague conversation.
During the Review Meeting
Keep it formal, direct, and backed by data. Listen to employee input and incorporate acknowledgment of different perspectives. Also, this meeting is as much about the next 6 months as it is about the last 6. Refresh objectives, create plans, and help your employees feel motivated.
- Meet somewhere quiet, with no distractions.
- To start, re-iterate the purpose of the meeting with the agenda for the day.
- Allow the employee to share his version of the happenings of the last 6 months first.
- Review the progress of goals and communicate your feedback.
- Discuss the action plan for the next 6 months.
- Allow the employee to ask questions.
A manager’s duty isn’t over once the meeting is over. Do follow-up on the items discussed in the meeting. Send an email after the mid-year review to talk about key points and tasks for the employee. It will help you keep a check on the promise made during the meetings.
Questions to Ask During Mid-Year Performance Review
Here is a set of questions you can focus on during the conversation:
- How are things going since our last check-in?
- I’d love to hear about your accomplishments over the last six months. Tell me about it?
- What things went wrong and did you learn from that experience?
- What are the issues you faced and will any of those impact you going forward?
- Is there any other project or role you want to take at this organization? How can I help you get there?
- How can I support you better at work?
- How would you assess your performance on a rating scale?
Finally, the formal mid-year performance meeting is a time to pay attention to your employees and discuss the barriers faced by them at work. They cannot and should not replace continuous feedback or informal check-ins. However, they work when used to re-group employees for the upcoming 6 months in the performance cycle.
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