Great Mid Year Review Questions

Mid year reviews are a like the half-time huddle of your performance Superbowl. If your company doesn’t require them, do them anyway. If your boss doesn’t have one planned for you, ask for one.

They’re great times to summarize, celebrate, challenge and inspire. If you’re not convinced, or need help getting started read last year’s post: How to Conduct a Meaningful Mid-Year Review

Use this time to ask great questions that inspire deeper thinking and build meaningful connection.

Voltaire on questions: “Judge a man by his questions rather than his answers.”

Mid-Year Questions to Reflect on Performance

  • How are you feeling about the year so far?
  • How would you describe what’s happening with this project?
  • What are you most of proud of this year?
  • What lessons have you learned?
  • What new relationships have you fostered?
  • How are you different now than you were 6 months ago?
  • What new skills have you developed?
  • Where are you stuck?

Mid-Year Questions to Challenge and Turnaround

Bono on questions: “We thought that we had the answers, it was the questions we had wrong.”

  • Have you ever had an experience like this before? What did you do that helped at that time?
  • What patterns do you see?
  • What do you think we should do?
  • Which habits would you like to change?
  • What’s the most important thing you can do to turn this situation around?
  • What additional resources do you need?
  • How can I best support you?

Mid-Year Questions to Encourage

  • What would it look like if?
  • What would happen if?
  • What’s possible?

Mid-Year Questions to Solicit Feedback

  • If you were in my shoes, what would you be doing differently?
  • What can I do to better support you and the team?
  • What have I done this year that most ticked you off?
  • What am I doing that’s most helpful to you?

How To Conduct A Meaningful Mid-Year Review

Mid-year reviews are often “optional.” No one’s really watching. You’re busy, so are they maybe just do a quickie.

On the other hand

You wouldn’t consider an optional Superbowl halftime huddle. Imagine the coach saying “well they played a great first half no need to say much.” Or, “Guys, just keep doing what you’re doing.” “We’re really to busy with all this excitement.”

The coach speaks at half-time and the players listen.

A mid-year review should summarize, celebrate, challenge, and inspire

Why Mid Year Reviews Beat EOY Appraisals

  • There’s still 6 months to impact the year
  • No need to assign a rating
  • No linkage to compensation, focus is on development
  • Since there often “optional,” conducting them well sends an important message

Making Mid-Year Reviews Meaningful

In my company, HR conducted a cool study linking performance appraisals to overall employee satisfaction. As expected, those who had received meaningful performance feedback, were overall much more satisfied with their jobs and supervisors. The interesting wrinkle, those who received a poorly conducted appraisal, were less satisfied than those who did not receive them at all.

Don’t go through the motions. If you won’t invest the time to offer a meaningful mid year review, you’re better off skipping it.

What Feels Meaningful

I’ve been asking my own organization and other review receivers, “what makes reviews mid-year reviews meaningful?”

  1. No Surprises
    Mid years extend ongoing conversation. If you have something to brand new to say, say it before or say it out loud, not in writing
  2. Create Linkage
    Circle back to commitments and progress made in the last review
  3. Be Specific
    Provide examples of what’s working and how to improve
  4. Personalized Career Discussion
    Link back to personal goals, show that you “get” me and understand what’s important from my POV. Go deep with me.
  5. Recognize
    Special projects and challenges I’ve taken on
  6. Challenge
    Me with a stretch project or assignment
  7. Stretch
    Me out of my comfort zone
  8. What would you add?

    P.S. I realized that as Steve and Eric began to comment, I left out the most important aspect, which I add here now.

  9. Conversation
    Great reviews are conversations. Ask LOTS of provocative questions. Listen more than you talk.

Let’s keep growing the list who else has suggestions?

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