Performance Reviews Performance Management

How to Elevate Mid-Year Reviews with Employee Review Software

June 28, 2022
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8 min read
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Performance reviews aren’t what they used to be. The traditional annual review was never very popular, and it’s even less popular post-2020, a year when many employers adjusted performance standards, canceled review cycles altogether, or tried something new like mid-year reviews. 

That’s not a bad thing, if you ask employees — 92% say they want feedback more than once a year. Annual performance reviews are nerve-racking and if employees are left with negative feelings after a review, there’s a good chance they’ll start looking for a new job. As a result, frequent, conversational check-ins are emerging as employees’ — and managers’ — top choice for how their company manages its employee review system

A solid performance management plan that includes a mid-year review in addition to the annual review is an excellent way to engage your employees (especially in remote workplaces) and help boost their performance. You can give both your HR team and the rest of your employees a leg up by managing mid-year reviews — and the rest of your performance strategy — with employee performance review software.

Find out how mid-year performance reviews can be more effective if you’re using #employeereview software via @ClearCompany:

The Benefits of Mid-Year Reviews

So, why should you use mid-year reviews in the first place? Performance management has come a long way, but that doesn’t mean there’s no room for improvement. Just last year, only 28% of CHROs said they believed their company’s performance reviews accurately represented employees’ work. That means changes like adding or elevating your mid-year review cycle can have a big impact on employee development, performance, engagement, and more. 

There are many benefits of mid-year performance reviews:

  • Give employees and managers the chance to talk about goal progress and adjust goals if needed
  • Alleviate the anxiety annual reviews can cause
  • Help employees to feel that they’re more involved and in control of their own goal management
  • Strengthen employee-manager relationships — employees are almost three times more engaged when they speak to their manager regularly
  • Can incorporate 360-degree feedback, adding performance insight from employees’ peers
  • Opportunity to ask for employee feedback 
  • Provide more detailed information about performance at the company
  • Part of a talent management strategy that leads to motivated, loyal employees

"The way human beings make progress is through small steps, not through a bizarre conversation once a year.”

- Robert Sutton, professor of management science and engineering at Stanford University

Why Use Software for Performance Reviews?

Adding mid-year reviews to a manual employee performance management process sounds challenging. Luckily, there’s HR software for that.  

Using a performance appraisal software solution to manage mid-year reviews benefits team members across the organization. Some of its biggest benefits are:

  • HR teams get access to a cloud-based, centralized source they can use to manage review cycles, run performance reports, and make smart decisions based on real performance data.
  • Employees benefit from structured, actionable performance reviews, less review anxiety, and more frequent feedback.
  • HR teams, managers, and employees don’t have to remember every detail of performance history thanks to the detailed, accurate records kept by the software.

That’s a quick look at why performance management software is so useful. Now, let’s dig into some more specifics about how software can take your mid-year performance reviews up a notch.

1. Give Different Types of Performance Reviews

There are many ways your teams can choose to configure mid-year reviews, and the best performance management software can support a variety of customizable options. You want software that offers several different performance review templates you can use for mid-year reviews:

  • Quarterly, Bi-Annual, and Annual Reviews
  • 360-Degree and Peer Reviews
  • Competency and Role-Based Reviews
  • Time-Based and New Hire Reviews

All of these review types could be used to fit your company’s needs. For example, you may want your new hires to be evaluated using a custom New Hire Review during their first review cycle instead of the bi-annual review other employees will get. You might choose to do 360-degree reviews in tandem with mid-year reviews, or simply use 360-degree feedback as your company’s mid-year review.

No matter what you decide, using employee review software can add variety and additional insight to your review cycles.

2. Stay on Schedule — Automatically

How would you feel if you heard the phrase “surprise performance review?” You’d probably feel a little anxious even if you were confident in your performance. Avoid causing that anxious feeling for your employees by staying predictable with your review schedule. 

Employee review software can help stick to the program while taking the burden off HR teams to stay on top of the review schedule and send out reminders. With software, they can set up automatic reminders and check on review cycle progress in seconds to see if reviews are on schedule or still need to be completed. 

#EmployeeReview software keeps mid-year reviews on schedule and on topic with goal-setting and a variety of #performancereview templates via @ClearCompany:

3. Check In with Goals

With software that offers tools for goal-setting, mid-year reviews can be a great opportunity to take stock of employees’ goals. Employees use the software to record goals, provide quick updates, and get feedback from managers within the platform. Then, during mid-year reviews, managers can use that goal history to talk about how goals are progressing, ask if their reports need additional guidance or training, and even make adjustments to goals if needed. 

Neither employees nor managers need to try to remember every goal and progress update beforehand — it’s all stored in the software. It’s also a good time to reinforce goal alignment and discuss how employees’ work impacts company goals. This can increase productivity by up to 22 percent and help employees feel a stronger connection to both their own goals and the company as a whole. 

4. Give More Frequent, Personal Recognition

The traditional annual review can result in less employee recognition — there’s too much time between appraisals, making it harder to remember every big win. But with mid-year reviews and software tools, it’s easier to make recognition part of your performance management strategy. 

Managers can see employees’ completed goals and goal progress with software and then during mid-year reviews, take the time to call out big achievements. That’s important since employee recognition is a top driver of engagement and motivation and can even lead to 31% less turnover.

Shake Up Your Performance Reviews

Performance reviews are essential for cultivating a productive, engaged, goal-oriented workforce. But if they’re not as effective as you want them to be, your company could benefit from a new approach: 

  • 1. 66% of companies using continuous feedback say it increases productivity. 
  • 2. There’s been an 89% increase in employees who want a monthly performance review.
  • 3. Deloitte US saw a 10% increase in employee engagement when they moved away from annual reviews.

5. Learn Performance Trends

Access to your company’s performance data is one of the biggest reasons to use software to conduct employee reviews. Employee performance data is collected in the platform, which can then generate reports showcasing information that is difficult — or impossible — to collect and analyze manually.

Employee review software can tell your company tons about what’s really going on with performance and answer important questions: 

  • Why does one manager consistently give perfect performance ratings? 
  • Which actions helped boost an employee’s performance scores between their mid-year and annual review? 
  • Why are there discrepancies between how a manager rates their direct report vs. how colleagues rate the employee? 
  • Which employees are high performers who may be eligible for a promotion? 
  • Do performance ratings follow any predictable patterns, e.g. lower ratings during the holidays or higher ratings during busy quarters?

There are endless possibilities for what you can learn from performance data, and you can use newfound knowledge to solve problems and improve your strategy:

  • Re-train the manager on how to use your company’s performance rating scale
  • Identify the most effective methods for performance improvement and repurpose them for various roles
  • Help managers get a more complete picture of employees’ performance 
  • Develop and promote top employees
  • Predict and prepare for performance dips and peaks 

6. Motivate Great Work

Your performance management system doesn’t have to be a source of anxiety or discouragement. We know that employees want to work somewhere they can grow their skills and be appreciated for what they contribute, and mid-year reviews are the perfect opportunity to address those needs. Employee performance reviews can be informative, motivating, and encouraging when they’re done regularly, referred back to, and analyzed for effectiveness. 

Using software can help your organization make mid-year reviews — and all other performance reviews — to that level. Set up the mid-year review cycle as a two-way conversation centered around goals and the future. Focusing on the future can improve performance by up to 13% and shows employees your company is invested in their continued learning and success. Set aligned goals, recognize achievements, and use mid-year reviews as a time to motivate and connect with your employees. 

Give Meaningful Mid-Year Reviews

It is possible to give mid-year performance reviews that are actionable, goal-oriented, and motivating and relieve the anxiety caused by annual reviews. You can also simplify review cycles for your HR team, gather valuable performance data, and contribute to company culture by using software to manage reviews.

ClearCompany’s award-winning Performance Management software has all the tools you need, including expert-built review templates, to manage all your performance reviews, from mid-year to annual to 360-degree. Not to mention, you can link your entire ecosystem of valuable employee information by using our full Talent Management platform, from Applicant Tracking to Onboarding to Employee Engagement.

See the software in action and find out how your next review cycle can be your best one yet — sign up for a Performance Management demo with our team today.

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