HR’s Guide to Preparing for Mid Year Reviews

According to the State of Employee Engagement report, 96% of employees believe getting regular feedback is good. What does this mean for you as an HR manager looking to boost employees’ performance and engagement? 

Adopt a culture of continuous feedback instead of relying on annual reviews alone. This will help employees evaluate their progress regularly and motivate them to be more efficient.

That’s the goal of a mid year review. But let’s be frank—carrying out bi-annual performance reviews is an additional workload. So, how do you balance your regular HR duties with coordinating performance assessments?

In this article, we discuss mid year reviews, showing how to prepare for one and spur organizational growth without experiencing burnout.

What is a mid year review?

A mid year review is a formal evaluation that occurs every six months or at the end of the second quarter. It assesses employees’ performance, progress, and contribution toward achieving organizational goals before the year ends.

Instead of waiting until the end of the year, this review allows managers to recognize employee accomplishments, ensuring they align with annual goals. It also spots areas for improvement, offers proper feedback, and allows employees to share concerns they may be facing with work. 

This feedback system fosters open communication between employees, managers, and HR teams. It allows you to spot loopholes and achieve success before the year ends.

Why are mid year reviews important?

mid year review

According to SHRM, 71% of companies still conduct performance reviews on an annual basis. While this is great, a McKinsey study found that companies that focus on their people’s performance are 4.2 times more likely to outperform their peers. They also achieve a 30% higher revenue growth and experience a 5% lower attrition rate.

Hence, companies need frequent evaluations before the more detailed end-of-year review. 

Thankfully, many organizations now conduct performance reviews more than once a year. For instance, a 2020 study reports that 46% of organizations have modified their performance management systems within the past year.

Why, you ask? It’s because mid year reviews are crucial to organizational success in the following ways:

For employees

Mid year reviews offer several benefits to employees, some of which include:

Provide targeted feedback

By conducting a mid year review, you provide employees with timely feedback that helps them evaluate their performances and improve where necessary. This feedback also gives employees clear steps for adjustments so they meet or exceed expectations before the year ends.

Discuss development opportunities

A mid year review allows employees to reflect on their activities and spot performance gaps. By doing this, they know which areas need more development, discuss them with their managers, and take relevant training and courses to enhance their skills and output. 

This is a win-win situation for both your company and employees because while they attain career advancement, the organization increases overall productivity.

Ultimately, it promotes a culture of continuous improvement in which employees understand that the mid year review isn’t a mere evaluation but an opportunity to learn and achieve personal and professional excellence.

Boost morale and increase motivation

Per Nectar’s report, 84% of employees believe recognition enhances their motivation to succeed. A mid year review is an opportunity to recognize and acknowledge employees’ contributions to the company through feedback. Therefore, it helps employees feel appreciated and loyal to your organization while boosting their morale.

For employers

Achieve improved performance

When employers evaluate employee performance before the year ends, they easily identify high and low-performing employees and reduce skill gaps. Furthermore, bi-annual reviews help to confirm and realign employee goals with the company’s mission and objectives to ensure everyone is on the same page. This way, they make the necessary corrections and improve before the year ends.

Early detection of issues

Imagine waiting until the year ends to review productivity, only to see a problem you could have easily avoided if you had paid earlier attention. Thankfully, regular mid year reviews save your company the stress and spot early lapses that would have hindered success. 

Increased employee engagement

Like any form of communication, mid year reviews are a two-way process—you give and receive feedback. Hence, by addressing concerns while assessing employee performance, you hear them out, acknowledge their efforts, and offer solutions to their career problems. 

This regular feedback and recognition during mid year reviews enhances employee engagement, boosts job satisfaction, and increases productivity. Ultimately, it reduces turnover and helps retain top talent.

6 Tips for Preparing for Mid Year Reviews

Switching from an annual performance management system to biannual reviews is an excellent way to monitor progress and focus on short-term realistic goals. 

However, planning and conducting reviews can be time-consuming. Here are some useful tips to help you prepare for mid year reviews:

1. Develop a clear timeline

A mid year review is a 1-on-1 meeting between employees and managers. Hence, it should have a detailed agenda to streamline the evaluation process, provide structure, and set clear expectations for everyone involved. 

Furthermore, this timeline should include updates from the last review, previous goals, employees’ performance, new targets, etc. It should also address concerns and questions raised during the review. 

2. Establish clear performance criteria

Without standard criteria for measuring achievement, the process will be vague and can be easily influenced by factors like unconscious bias

When this happens, employees will not perceive reviews as objective and transparent. Instead, they will feel discouraged and unmotivated in the workplace. Eventually, it’ll become harder for them to achieve professional growth or feel fulfilled at work.

It is important to create benchmarks, metrics, or KPIs for assessing performance. Examples of performance criteria include quality and quantity of work, punctuality, teamwork, customer service, execution and organization, professional development, timeliness, problem-solving skills, resilience, communication skills, and job knowledge.

Tailor each metric to the specific roles of employees within the organization. For example, a salesperson’s criteria can be sales targets, lead conversion rate, customer feedback, and revenue generation.

Standardizing the mid year review process by setting clear criteria ensures that performance reviews are consistent across the organization. Above all, it establishes a fair and transparent mid year review process for every employee.

3. Provide employees with relevant resources

Once you’ve developed a clear timeline and created the necessary criteria, it’s important to clearly communicate these items. Also, provide employees with relevant resources that will help them prepare for their mid year reviews. This ensures transparency while building trust and managing expectations.

Furthermore, encourage employees to assess themselves before the review. Self-evaluations allow them to reflect on their achievements and identify areas for improvement before their managers do so. It also helps them discover questions or concerns to highlight during the review, making the process more intentional and productive.

Read next: Employee Guide: How to Write a Mid Year Review for Yourself and Others

4. Ask the right mid year review questions

Asking the right mid year review questions provides a broad view of employees’ performance, strengths, weaknesses, and areas for improvement. It also ensures you carry out a balanced evaluation that addresses all aspects of performance.

Furthermore, asking the right questions presents the review as a two-way conversation, encouraging you to actively listen to employees so they feel heard and valued. Ultimately, it enables workers to express their concerns and ambitions freely. 

Your mid year review questions should cover the employee’s contributions and goals and how the company can help them achieve more in the next two quarters.

Focus on open-ended questions as they give detailed answers instead of short yes/no responses. To achieve this, phrase questions with what, why, when, where, who, or how. For example:

  • What skills do you need to develop further?
  • What do you think of the feedback you’ve received so far?
  • What are your goals for the next six months?
  • How do you see the company’s culture advancing your work and professional growth?
  • What are your biggest challenges so far in meeting your business goals this year?
  • Where do you see your role evolving in the next six months?

Additional resources: 30 Mid Year Performance Review Questions to Spark Action

5. Focus on both performance and development

Tailor the review to address performance and development.  For example, identify each employee’s key achievements and note their weaknesses and areas for improvements. 

Then, suggest training programs, career development opportunities, or new responsibilities to help employees skill up.

6. Explore performance management software 

Performance reviews can be tedious. With so much data to collect and reports to analyze, mistakes and errors may happen if done manually. Biases can further get in the way and alter the accuracy of the review. 

So how do you achieve a productive mid year review without burning out? Here’s where performance review software comes in.

Using software streamlines the mid year review process, making it smoother and more efficient. For instance, it generates helpful questions and templates that HR teams can tweak for each mid year review cycle. 

It also allows you to use the same rating scale and ensure that performance reviews are done within a set timeframe. Furthermore, these tools let you continuously track progress and goals. The best part is that they require little to no effort to set up.

7. Encourage managers to provide post review development plans

After evaluating employees’ skills and providing helpful feedback, a development plan can be beneficial to supercharge an employee’s performance.

Encourage managers to prepare a development plan to help employees achieve professional growth. This plan can include regular training, mentorship programs, or courses needed to upskill for better performance before the next review session.

8. Gather feedback post mid year review

Ask for feedback from managers and employees about the concluded review. This is necessary to identify areas for improvement among employees and even in the mid year review process, so subsequent ones will be better. 

To gather feedback, send out satisfaction surveys to managers and employees so they can share their thoughts about the review and identify how you can refine the mid year review process moving forward. 

Additional reading: 5 Common Performance Appraisal Mistakes to Avoid

Streamline Mid Year Review Preparation with Omni

mid year review

When done right, mid year reviews can be a powerful tool to assess, motivate, and develop your team. Investing time and effort in refining your processes is key to achieving successful mid year review sessions that will have a positive impact on both employees and the organization as a whole. 

When employees feel supported, valued, and inspired by the performance appraisal process, they can become more engaged with their work. This will lead to improved productivity and increased job satisfaction throughout your organization. 

Omni’s performance management module is designed to help you streamline and automate the entire process, reducing administrative burden while offering a customized and consistent performance appraisal cycle for your team. Through the power of automation and technology, Omni helps ensure a mid year review process that mitigates bias and offers data-driven insights that maximize your employee growth and engagement. Book a demo with our team to learn how HR automation can help perfect your performance appraisal process.

Not quite ready for automated mid year reviews? Download our free Performance Review Kit for templates and guides that will help create a uniform and targeted performance appraisal for you and your team.

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