An Actionable Guide to Mid-Year Performance Review

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Hitendra Rathore

Senior editor

Parul Saxena

Chief editor

Last updated: January 13, 2021

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PossibleWorks: No. 1 In Performance Management Software

The mid-year performance review plays a crucial role in the overall employee evaluation process. Many of us dread going through the whole process of performance appraisals. And not just in case of employees but employers too.

Half of them doesn’t know what to expect during the meet. They spend hours preparing for it without having a tangible goal in mind. But it doesn’t have to be as hard as you may think. Performance review help understand each other’s expectations and support individuals’ career growth.

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In this article, we have compiled an actionable guide to help you through the mid-year performance review process.

Key Steps to Take While Planning the Performance Management Process

The evaluation of the members’ performance should be based on facts and data. The process should rule out any personal beliefs or feelings and be unbiased.


To make the review process effective, it needs to be properly planned out. The planning process includes:

1. Communicate the Process

Performance appraisals help superiors know precisely where the team members stand. They check their performance and pass positive feedback to help with their shortcomings. For that to happen, one needs to gain their employees’ trust in the whole process.

There are specific ways appraisals need to be communicated to the employees.

  • Give notice to the staff members at least one to two weeks before the date set for the mid-year review. It will give them time to prepare for the meeting. Review their job description and accomplishment, the problems they are facing, and much more.
  • Establish the purpose of the mid-year review session and outline the discussion. It mainly includes job responsibilities, performance expectations, and steps for better future growth.
  • Invite the peers to fill up the form. Provide instructions for completing and returning the form. Always send the appraisal form or any other related information separately. It helps to prevent the privacy of each employee.

2. Prepare for the Review Process

The next step is to collect foundational information and analyze their performance.

The managers should regularly and consistently document the performance of their employees. It makes the whole review the employee’s performance and goals easy.

There are times when employees go beyond performance expectations and truly stands out. Such distinct behavior of success should be recognized.

It is also advisable to speak with other colleagues who work with the employees closely. Ask for their opinions about their performances.

3. Structuring the Meeting

For the employee evaluation process, the manager should prepare for a one-on-one meeting.

As a manager, you can lay out the structure of the meeting in advance and discuss it with your employees. And then, you can set a time and place to meet.

For some, the term “Performance Appraisal” causes anxiety among employees. To avoid such situation, communicate to your team about these meetings in advance. Explain to them the whole agenda and how it is going to be a two-way discussion so that they don’t feel stressed out.

Few things that need to be planned and incorporated before and during the meeting:

  • Run through the performance review meeting agenda
  • Set out the objectives and topics of discussions. Ask them if they have anything to add to the list
  • Incorporate time where the employee gets to present his self-assessment. Allow them to walk you through their performance review responses
  • Compare your performance review evaluation to their performance review responses
  • Discuss the challenges and shortcomings of the employees
  • Take turns in providing feedback to each other

4. Conduct the Meeting

An appraisal is a sensitive subject, and thus, it needs to be handled quite carefully. So choose a place for the meeting where you and your employees will get some privacy.

Conducting meetings in a group will not help. They will never open up, and it is also unethical to talk about one’s salary or performance in public.

While choosing time and place for the meeting, you can consider the following tips:

  • After setting up the appointment for the conference, always try to stick to it. Do not cancel or postpone it unless it is an emergency. Otherwise, it sends out a wrong signal that you are not serious about the review process.
  • Hold a meeting in a comfortable environment. Sit opposite to each other without a desk in between to have a free flow of conversation.

There are three steps involved in conducting the meeting:

1. Discuss Performance Up-To-Date

  • Foster a productive conversation by sharing thoughts with them about their achievement.
  • Talk about the challenges that have emerged and how it had an impact on goal accomplishment
  • Appreciate specific act where the employee has shown tremendous dedication towards the work
  • Ask for views or opinions of your employees what they think. Talk about their strengths and shortcomings, and the challenges they are facing

2. Discuss Your and Employee’s Expectations and Goals for the Next Performance Management Cycle

  • Talk about the results that will occur if all essential job functions are met
  • Create metrics to measure how well crucial job functions are performed. It will help avoid unpleasant surprises at the year-end performance review
  • Provide benchmarks that both you and employees will use to assess the performance
  • Find out about the challenges they are facing and how you can help. After that, even have a follow-up through
  • Design a development plan to help your employee’s with their short and long-term career goals

3. Complete the Discussion

  • End the meeting by thanking your employees for their hard work and dedication
  • Encourage them so that they keep putting in their hard work
  • Document the discussion and share a copy with the employee

Tips for Smooth Mid-Year Performance Review Process

How to Measure Performance?

The following rating scale will help measure performance in each of the categories:

1. Outstanding

Exceptional performances are those who manage to far exceed the high-quality of work in all the required field. The overall quality of the performances is superior and consistent. It can be generally identified as the completion of a significant and essential project or goals. And when they make a unique contribution in their department or any other units. Such performances should be awarded to boost their confidence further.

2. Exceed Expectations

The employee is consistently exceeding expectations with their quality of work. In short, the annual goals and objectives are met. They typically display proficient knowledge, abilities, and skills for the required field.

3. Achieve Expectations

Achieved expectations generally mean the most critical annual goals are reached. The employees even display the overall sound quality of work and follow every objective. They actively take responsibilities for their work and at times, possibly exceeds expectations.

4. Improvement Needed

When the performer fails to meet the expectations, they have either failed to take responsibilities or couldn’t achieve their goals. But it is clear that they have the caliber and skills fitted for the job. Perhaps, it could be certain circumstances or lack of motivation altogether.

In such cases, a professional development plan can be laid out for the employee. The aim should be to improve their performances. It should include setting timelines, pairing them with a mentor, challenging their comfort job, identifying opportunities, and more. After that, progress should be monitored regularly.

5. Unsatisfactory

Unsatisfactory performances describe far below expectations. They have hardly achieved any goals and showed little or no sign of responsibilities. In short, the progress report measures no significant achievement. They either lack motivation or the required skills. The manager can help them correct their performance by laying out a plan. Sometimes it is a good idea to engage them with a coach who will guide and continuously monitor their performance.

Mid-Year Performance Review Checklist

As a superior, it is going to be your job to ensure that everything goes smoothly. Being prepared for the performance review will grow a professional atmosphere. The employee will take the evaluation process more seriously and will look at it as more than just a salary increase.

Here is a checklist of a few things that both employer and employee can take care of before the meeting:

For Managers

  • Review employees’ file
  • Review employees’ job description
  • Review the goals and objectives of each employee throughout the year or evaluation cycle
  • Review performance that has been discussed previously
  • Determine areas of strengths and where it needs improvements
  • Determine areas of exceptional achievement
  • Keep a note of specific examples to share
  • Create a development plan to help them with their career growth
  • Select the best-suited assessment method to evaluate essential job functions and competencies
  • Tailor performance review forms to specific job roles and responsibilities wherever required
  • Prepare questions for productive and meaningful mid-year reviews
  • Schedule your meeting beforehand to allow your employees to come prepared
  • Encourage the employee to prepare for the examination
  • Investigate any inconsistencies
  • Fill out the paperwork

For Employees

  • Gather foundational information — review job description and the goals, the competencies and more
  • Review reports of your milestones achieved
  • Review journal notes of your performances of the last evaluation cycle
  • Prepare a list of your accomplishments
    1) Gather any emails, letters, certificates of recognition, etc. that exemplary document performance
    2) Make a note of any training or development tasks you completed
  • Identify areas of problems or challenges that you are facing
  • Do a self-evaluation
    1) What have been your major accomplishment
    2) Where have you made significant progress in your performance
  • Prepare a list of areas for training and development needs
  • Draft goals for the upcoming period
  • Share the evaluation with your manager

How to Share Feedback?

Providing constructive and unbiased feedback during a performance review is not easy. The manager often needs to be honest and open about their feedback. And at the same time, make sure that they don’t damage work relationships or hurt anyone’s feelings.

Here are a few essential things to consider while giving feedback:

  • Give Constructive Feedback

First off, always display a relaxed and courteous attitude throughout the review process. This will help in creating less anxiety during the feedback time. Whether it is a positive or a negative review, either way, make sure to provide it constructively.

You will need to make your feedback specific and actionable. For example, you can start by telling the employee that they need to come to the office on time. Or how they need to meet a specific deadline they continuously miss.

Also, you can also include positive feedback along with negatives ones. It will convey the message that you are not criticizing their overall performance.

  • Have a Clear-Cut Communication

We have seen that managers try to include negative feedback in between two positive ones. The problem with that is — it confuses the employees. It might falsely encourage the poor performer or demotivate the confident one.

Clear communication will help you explain the reasons behind the appraisal and set the right tone. It will enable poor performers to improve areas that are not well aligned with business goals. Also, it will allow your star performer to achieve even more.

  • Provide Insightful Coaching

You have to discuss both their strengths and weaknesses. Tell them about the areas that are not working for them and the steps they can take to improve it. You can always give some relatable examples from within or outside the organization to help them understand.

Besides, don’t miss out on praising their targets achieved. It will keep them motivated and boost their confidence level.

End the feedback or review on a positive note. It should include an outline of the next steps and setting a date for the subsequent follow-up discussion.

Conclusion

The truth is that people cringe at the thought of performance review. Though, in reality, the members should look forward to the employee review process. After all, it gives them time to reflect on their work, and they can plan how to move ahead in their career path.

We are hopeful that this mid-year performance review will not bring you any anxiety. Follow these simple guidelines discussed and have a smooth review process.

The mid-year performance management process should be beneficial for both employers and employees.

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Hitendra is the Digital Marketing Executive and Content Analyst at SoftwareSuggest and loves helping people plan, optimize and launch marketing & content strategies. While digital marketing is his primary job function by day, hitendra also enjoys spending time with his family and listening to music.

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