How to Create an Impactful Mid-Year Performance Review

A young Black woman leads her team in a project meeting

By

INTOO Staff Writer

Categories

HR

Let’s be honest—annual performance reviews can feel like a dreaded chore for both managers and employees. By the time the review rolls around, issues may have festered for months without any real feedback or course correction. Not exactly an inspiring or productive experience, right?

But what if you could hit the “reset” button halfway through the year? That’s the beauty of mid-year performance reviews. These biannual check-ins are a game-changer for any forward-thinking, people-first company.

 As a manager, mid-year reviews give you the chance to have an open, candid dialogue with your team. You can celebrate their wins, provide constructive coaching on areas for improvement, and realign priorities before too much time has passed. It’s the ultimate opportunity to remove roadblocks and re-energize your people.

And for employees? Mid-year reviews are an empowering experience. Instead of waiting endlessly for feedback, they get a midpoint “pulse check” to understand how they’re tracking against goals. Concerns can be raised, adjustments can be made, and they can re-engage feeling motivated and supported.

What Are the Benefits of Mid-Year Reviews?

At their core, great mid-year reviews are about continuous development—giving your talented people the insights and encouragement they need to keep growing. 

Mid-year check-ins foster a positive culture of continuous feedback and development. Instead of being a scary, once-a-year formality, performance conversations become a regular touchpoint for growth. The simple act of opening these dialogue channels can work wonders for employee engagement and buy-in.

But mid-year reviews are not just an engagement play—they directly impact productivity, too. By identifying roadblocks and realigning priorities biannually, you can course-correct issues before they snowball. Employees get the support they need to stay focused and deliver their best work.

From a management perspective, these reviews provide invaluable insights into people’s experiences. You’ll gain transparency into skills gaps, process inefficiencies, or even managerial blind spots that may be hindering performance. Armed with this knowledge, you can strategically uplevel your training, processes, and leadership.

And let’s not forget the power of strengthening those all-important manager-employee relationships. Regular check-ins build trust and keep communication flowing both ways. Employees feel heard and supported, while you gain a deeper understanding of how to motivate each individual.

When done right, these conversations can supercharge productivity, morale, and results for the entire team.

7 Steps to Create an Impactful Mid-Year Review

Ensuring mid-year reviews are truly impactful takes some thoughtful preparation. Let’s look at seven key steps to get review-ready:

1.   Review past feedback and goals

Don’t go into the mid-year review cold. Spend time revisiting the employee’s previous performance review, development plan, and any notes you’ve taken from your ongoing 1-on-1 meetings. Understanding their prior goals, key strengths, and areas for improvement will provide crucial context as you assess their current performance and progress.

2.   Gather multi-source feedback

While your perspective as their manager is important, it’s also limited to your specific interactions. To gain a well-rounded view of the employee’s performance, solicit feedback from others they work closely with. This group could include peers, cross-functional partners, direct reports, or even customers. Diverse perspectives reduce bias.

3.   Prepare discussion points

Once you’ve reviewed past goals and gathered feedback, identify two or three key areas on which you want to focus the discussion. There may be major achievements to celebrate or growth opportunities that have emerged. Maybe roadblocks arose that require solutions. Or perhaps goals need to be realigned based on shifting business priorities.

4.   Make it collaborative

While you’ll lead the review, approach it as a two-way conversation. Send the employee a self-evaluation form ahead of time so they can reflect on their performance. This reflection allows them to come prepared with specific thoughts, questions, or concerns to discuss as well. Encourage an open dialogue.

A Black male manager meets with an employee for his mid-year review

5.   Focus on development

Assessing what happened in the past six months is essential, but the primary purpose of this check-in should be coaching and development for the future. Prepare constructive suggestions for upskilling, process improvements, new responsibilities, or stretch opportunities to accelerate their growth.

6.   Discuss career aspirations

The mid-year point is the perfect time to gain insight into the employee’s long-term career goals and aspirations. Discuss how their current role aligns with those goals and provide guidance on how they can continue developing the necessary skills and experiences to progress.

7.   End on a positive note

As the review concludes, don’t simply provide feedback—reinforce the employee’s value. Reiterate their key strengths and the positive impact they have on the team. Make it clear that you’re invested in their success and growth within the company. Discuss how you’ll partner with them over the next six months to enable continued wins.

By taking a structured yet collaborative approach to preparing for these conversations, you’ll facilitate productive discussions that strengthen relationships and empower your people. The investment is well worth the rewards of a more engaged, higher-performing team.

Mid-Year Review Example Questions

Here are some example questions to ask employees during a mid-year performance review:

  • How do you feel you’ve progressed against the goals we set at the beginning of the year?
  • What has helped or hindered your ability to achieve those goals so far?
  • Are any of your goals requiring readjustment based on shifts in priorities?
  • What new skills or knowledge would you like to develop over the next six months?
  • How can I better support your professional development interests?
  • Are there any training opportunities, projects, or stretch assignments you’d like exposure to?
  • What aspects of your role are you enjoying the most/least?
  • Do you feel you have the resources and support needed to be successful?
  • How could we improve processes or policies to enable you to work more effectively?
  • Do you feel you’re receiving enough feedback, guidance, and recognition?
  • How would you describe our working relationship and communication?
  • What could I do differently as your manager to better support you?
  • What are your longer-term career goals or areas of interest?
  • How does your current role align with those future aspirations?
  • What experiences or exposure could better prepare you for potential next steps?

The key is to make it a two-way dialogue. Ask open-ended questions that allow employees to reflect, provide feedback, and collaborate on solutions for improvement over the next six months.

Empower Your Employees with INTOO’s Professional Development Services

Mid-year performance reviews offer a strategic opportunity to realign goals, address challenges, and celebrate achievements. By prioritizing these biannual check-ins, companies can cultivate a supportive environment that promotes continuous improvement and employee satisfaction.

INTOO is committed to supporting organizations in building a robust and capable workforce. We provide a range of career development programming, including coaching, workshops, and training programs, to enhance the skills and career trajectories of your employees.

Contact us to learn more.

INTOO Staff Writer

INTOO staff writers come from diverse backgrounds and have extensive experience writing about topics that matter to the HR and business communities, including outplacement, layoffs, career development, internal mobility, candidate experience, succession planning, talent acquisition, and more.

Learn how to effectively build and transition your workforce.

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