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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.
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.
- The Trusted Professional: The Importance of Having a Performance Appraisal Program, Part I
- The Trusted Professional: The Importance of Having a Performance Appraisal Program, Part II
- Yale University Human Resources: Getting Ready for Midyear Performance Discussions
- The Wall Street Journal: Get Rid of the Performance Review!
- Reference for Business: Performance Evaluation and Standards
- Missouri Small Business Development Centers: New Performance Management System Replacing Annual Performance Review
- The Grantsmanship Center: Employee Evaluation -- It's a Dirty Job, but Somebody's Got to Do It
- Forbes: How To Do Performance Reviews Right
- Development Dimensions International: White Paper -- Getting the Most from Your Performance Management System
Chris Blank is an independent writer and research consultant with more than 20 years' experience. Blank specializes in social policy analysis, current events, popular culture and travel. His work has appeared both online and in print publications. He holds a Master of Arts in sociology and a Juris Doctor.