How to Prepare Employees for Performance Reviews

Amidst the debate over the value of performance ratings and formal year-end appraisals, it is easy to forget about the once-popular mid-year review.

Traditionally, companies used mid-year reviews – much like formal year-end reviews — to measure and explain employees’ progress on their goals to date by providing qualitative feedback and a rating. The process was designed to ensure that employees were fully aware of expectations, to make mid-year updates to objectives or development plans, and to also prevent surprises at the year-end performance review.

Managers may think that now, as companies revamp their performance management, it spells the end for the mid-year review but these scheduled meetings still have a role to play.

Mid-Year Reviews Still Have a Role to Play

Even before formal year-end reviews and other parts of the traditional performance management process were questioned, companies realized that the process of formal mid-year reviews had become repetitive and cumbersome, so many turned the formal mid-year reviews into informal check-ins In fact, in 2014, only 48% of organizations had formal reviews more than once a year.

But as more and more HR teams correctly emphasize the importance of informal feedback, it makes it even more sensible to schedule an informal meeting at mid-year. Especially in companies where ongoing feedback has become the norm: it never hurts to remind managers and employees that it’s a good time of year to discuss their goals, performance, and development.

Managers in any organization should ask themselves at the mid-year point if they have recently talked to their employees about the following and to set up a discussion if they haven’t.

  • Overall feedback on progress against goals and level of demonstration of competencies.
  • Recognition of accomplishments to-date, reinforcing the path to goal achievement.
  • Goal readjustment based on changing priorities and circumstances.
  • Identification of priorities for the remainder of the year.
  • Identification of potential barriers to goal achievement.
  • Identification of development opportunities for the employee.

How to Help Employees Get the Most From Their Mid-Year Review

To help improve employee performance with informal feedback during mid-year reviews, companies spend a lot of time ensuring that managers are ready to provide high-quality feedback to their employees.

But giving feedback is only one part of a successful performance conversation. Employees must also be prepared to treat conversations about performance like a two-way exchange and be ready to receive and use feedback throughout the rest of the year. Chart 1 has some simple dos and don’ts to help employees get ready to receive feedback during mid-year reviews.

How to help employees get the most from a mid-year review

Chart 1: How to help employees get the most from a mid-year review  Source: CEB analysis

ceb-globalContributed by CEB, a best practice insight and technology company. Read more CEB blogs here.

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