When to Leverage the Mid-Year Review Process

Performance Management can be tricky.  Balancing just the right amount of regular communication and coaching with just the right amount of more formal performance documentation can mean the difference between actually managing performance and just overloading your managers with paperwork!  One piece of the performance management process that is often overlooked is the Mid-Year Review. In our current situation with COVID-19, a Mid-Year Review may be even more important than during more normal conditions.

A Mid-Year Review is typically a slightly simpler version of an Annual Performance Appraisal that takes place mid-year.  While incorporating this step into your performance management cycle is more paperwork, you may find that the benefits outweigh the additional work, as it allows the manager to assess and document performance against objectives without waiting an entire year to formally communicate successes as well as areas for opportunity.  This can help avoid situations where underperformers continue to under-perform, which can be damaging to employee morale and the overall bottom line of the business.

The performance management cycle is very much customized to each business’s specific needs, based on industry, size, and a variety of other factors, which means that not every business necessarily needs to incorporate a Mid-Year Review into its process.  For this reason, Berger HR Solutions has put together a short checklist to consider as you determine if a Mid-Year Review might be a valuable tool for your company:

  1. Has your company experienced significant changes?   Businesses typically set goals and objectives for an employee at the beginning of the year; however, there are many variables that could come into play which could cause those objectives to shift.  The environment we find ourselves in right now is a perfect example of this.  Many businesses have had to change gears in order to stay above water during this pandemic, which may be affecting individual employees’ objectives.  If your employees’ objectives have shifted mid-year, then a Mid-Year Review might be an effective tool to make sure they are clear on marching orders.
  2. Has management shifted?  If an employee has been working under one supervisor but someone else takes over mid-year, having a Mid-Year Review can help assure the employee that he or she is on the right track.  It can also help the new supervisor get the hang of the performance management process through the “smaller” mid-year check-in before the more robust annual review takes place.
  3. Do you have remote employees?  Remote employees often need extra reassurance that they are hitting their performance targets and meeting expectations, especially in a work environment where some employees are working remotely and some are not.  A Mid-Year Review is a good way to determine if all employees, remote or in the office, are clear on objectives and are where they should be at this point in the year.
  4. Are the metrics you use to measure your employees more objective or subjective?  Employees who have very specific goals or objectives that are number-driven are more likely to know where they stand than an employee who has more subjective goals or who needs to master a set of soft skills.  Employees who don’t have access to regular performance reporting may be more likely to benefit from a mid-year assessment.
  5. Do you have managers who are not meeting with their employees regularly (weekly, bi-weekly) to discuss progress towards goals?  Employees who have regular check-ins with their supervisors AND who are using the time to actually discuss progress towards goals are more likely to have a solid understanding of where they stand than employees who do not have scheduled one-on-ones with their managers.  Keep in mind that casual discussions pertaining to specific tasks are important, however, those conversations DO NOT qualify as quality coaching sessions where overall progress is discussed.
  6. Do your managers already meet formally with their employees more frequently than semi-annually?  If your industry is numbers-driven or production-heavy, then documented monthly or quarterly discussions (more in-depth than a regular coaching session) are already likely taking place.  If that is the case, then you may not need to incorporate a separate mid-year assessment into your process.

A manager never wants an employee to be surprised by an unsatisfactory rating on an annual review.  While regular coaching sessions and check-ins are crucial to avoiding this, Mid-Year reviews are an opportunity to formally document performance, positive and negative, without allowing an entire year to pass.

For additional assistance with incorporating a Mid-Year Review into your Performance Management process, please contact Berger HR Solutions at info@bergerhrsolutions or (410) 695-9888.