While many companies conduct annual performance reviews for their employees, mid-year performance reviews are less common. However, mid-year performance reviews allow companies to make proactive, mid-course assessments of their employees. Midyear performance reviews also provide workers with guidelines of what their employers will be evaluating during the annual performance review.

Midyear versus Annual Reviews

Many supervisors and workers view annual reviews as a largely meaningless exercise designed to fulfill requirements set by human resources. By contrast, mid-year performance evaluations are often more substantive than annual reviews, simply because less time elapses between reviews, allowing a more detailed assessment by supervisors and employees alike. In addition, the shorter evaluation period preceding a mid-year performance evaluation ensures that memories are fresher for both the worker and the supervisor, which can result in more accurate assessment of employees' performance.

Retention and Compensation

Employees whose performance places their employment status in jeopardy often benefit from a candid mid-year performance evaluation. Supervisors can provide employees with clear expectations of areas where improvement must occur, and workers have sufficient time to make improvements. Likewise, during economic downturns, mid-year performance evaluations allow employers to ease anxieties of high-performing workers worried about their jobs with reassurances that their efforts are appreciated. Mid-year performance evaluations allow companies an early opportunity to provide financial and other incentives to their best performers.

Future Focus

Annual performance evaluations tend to focus on past performance. Past accomplishments may be rewarded with pay raises. while subpar performance may generate a warning, a demotion, or in extreme cases, a dismissal. Mid-year reviews also consider past performance, but in the context of helping employees develop future strategies. Mid-year performance reviews allow employees and managers to collaborate develop action plans for improved performance. Employees who are performing well are often more likely to receive timely recognition for specific accomplishments during a mid-year performance review.

Communication Focused versus Paper Driven

In some companies, the annual review takes the form of standard self-evaluation form completed by the employee, with little more than cursory notes added by the supervisor; mid-year performance evaluations often focus on face-to-face communication. However, mid-year performance evaluations are not intended to eliminate documentation of an employee's performance. Rather, the document that results from a midyear performance evaluation is designed to be the product of thoughtful discussion between an employee and a supervisor.