How to Hold an Effective Mid-Year Review in a.Pandemic

How to Hold an Effective Mid-Year Review in a Pandemic

We get it. It’s all a lot right now. Some days it takes every ounce of energy just to make it through. Who has time for mid-year reviews?

Why not just skip them this year?

After all, a great mid-year review is a lot of work.

They take time to prepare, not to mention the Zoom fatigue of all those intense conversations.

Your team will be relieved, right?

One less thing to worry about.

Safer to postpone. After all, they’re not MANDATORY. Thank goodness.

But wait…

Yes, this is certainly not the time to “evaluate” or even worse, EXTRAPOLATE  performance and potential —as we overheard happening this week:

“Yeah, I guess we’ve learned who can lead during uncertainty and change and who cannot.”

What?

Seriously?

No.

This is not even close to an even playing field right now.

Don’t discount the potential of a normally high-performer who suddenly has two toddlers climbing all over them during your conference call because daycare is closed,  an elderly parent in a nursing home they can’t visit, and a country in complete turmoil trying to figure out where to go from here with all this racial injustice.

Your team doesn’t need judgment, evaluation, or conclusions.

But they do need your support more than ever.

What if you started by asking them to come prepared to share their thoughts, ideas, and concerns. AND really listen.

Here are a few conversation-starters.

7 Questions to Ask in a Mid-Year Review (Pandemic Edition)

  1. What has been the most challenging part of the last three months for you? How can I best help?
  2. What don’t I understand about where you are right now that I should?
  3. I’m curious about what you’re learning about how to be most productive now. Are there changes to schedules, meetings, or the way we work together that might help you be more effective in your work?
  4. What is scaring you most right now?
  5. What are you most excited about?
  6. What’s the most important thing you are working on? What work do you think we could eliminate to ensure you succeed at that?
  7. What would you add? What’s the most important question to ask right now?

Bonus: Hold a Team Mid-Year Review I.D.E.A. session

We’ve been working with a lot of teams to help them capture what they’re learning from this crisis right now. One technique that really seems to be resonating is to ask each member of your team to bring one new idea to your next team meeting and to share. Here’s a quick tool to help them vet and position their I.D.E.A.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

See Also: How to Disrupt the Disruption and Help Your Team Move Forward

How to Prepare for a Better Development Discussion

How to Hold a Better Mid Year Performance Review

How to Hold a Better Mid-Year Performance Review

Tempted to skip the mid-year review this year, particularly with your high-performers? Read this first.

Mid-Year Performance Reviews are the Half-Time Huddle of Business.

Imagine you’re coaching your son’s football team. They’re up by 7. What do you say at half-time?

“Well, you guys played a great first half. Just keep doing what you’re doing.”

Or do you just skip the half-time huddle all together and go check your email. After all, you’re busy.

No decent coach misses the opportunity for a great half-time huddle. Why would you?

Why Now?

  • There are still six months to impact the year.
  • In most companies, there’s no need to assign a rating or link to compensation. This frees you to be more real and developmentally focused–without the distraction of bell curves and merit payouts.
  • Since a mid-year performance review is often “optional,” conducting them shows the employees you’re invested in them and their performance.

Making Your Review More Meaningful

When Karin was working in her sales executive role, her HR team did an experiment linking performance feedback to employee satisfaction. As expected, those who had received meaningful performance feedback, were overall much more satisfied with their jobs and supervisors. But there was an interesting wrinkle. Those who received a poorly conducted mid-year review were less satisfied than those who did not receive them at all.

It’s important to not just go through the motions. If you won’t invest the time to offer a meaningful mid-year performance review, you’re better off skipping it.

What Feels Meaningful?

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

When we ask employees what makes a mid-year performance review meaningful, here’s what they say.

  1. It’s a conversation. We talk openly about what’s working and where I can improve.
  2. No surprises. We’ve been meeting weekly, so there’s nothing new here. We talk about trends, progress and focus on development.
  3. My manager has specific examples and focuses on behaviors.
  4. We talk about my career and long-term goals.
  5. I feel recognized for the extra effort and challenges I’ve taken on.
  6. It’s an opportunity for me to share my new ideas on how to improve the business.
  7. My manager asks great questions and really listens to what I have to say.
  8. What would you add?

Mid-Year Performance Review Conversation Starters

If you need some help to get started, try a few of these questions to get the conversation rolling.

Questions to Reflect on Performance

  • How are you feeling about the year so far?
  • Describe what you see 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 six months ago?
  • Where are you stuck?

Questions to Challenge and Turnaround

  • Have you ever had an experience like this before?
  • If so, what did you do that helped?
  • Tell me about the patterns you’re seeing.
  • 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?

Questions to Encourage

  • What would happen if?
  • What’s possible?

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?
  • How have I been most helpful?

Your Turn

Leave us a comment and share: What are your best practices for highly effective mid-year performance reviews?

Winning Well: A Manger's Guide to Getting Results without Losing Your SoulWant more tools like this?

Read Winning Well: A Manager’s Guide to Getting Results–Without Losing Your Soul.  And Download our FREE Winning Well Book Group Facilitator’s Guide.

the best mid-year review questions

Great Mid-Year Review Questions

Mid-year reviews are the half-time huddle of your performance Superbowl.

If your company doesn’t require them, do them anyway. If your boss doesn’t have a mid-year review 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 a 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?

If you’ve been using your Let’s Grow Leaders MIT Huddle Planner (free for download here), preparing to conduct or receive a mid-year review should be that much easier, with your weekly accomplishments captured in one place.

See Also: How to Hold an Effective Mid-Year Review in a Pandemic

leadership development Karin Hurt and David Dye

how to conduct a meaningful mid-year review

How To Conduct A Meaningful Mid-Year Review

Have you had a mid-year review this year? Are you planning to give one to the members of your team? 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

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.

  1. 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?