Wondering how to conduct a virtual mid year review?
Managers use mid year reviews to assess the performance of employees.
These reviews are a critical part of the performance management process and help managers understand whether employees are on track to meet their yearly goals.
However, working in a remote team can pose challenges to conducting mid year reviews since you can’t have a face-to-face meeting.
In this article, we’ll talk about how you can successfully conduct a mid year review in a remote setting. We’ll tell you how to prepare for the review, questions to ask at the review, and even give you tips to conduct a successful mid year review.
We’ll also highlight a tool to help measure your employees’ performance in real-time, so you have more accurate data for reviews.
This article contains:
- Why are Mid Year Reviews Important?
- How to Prepare for a Mid Year Review in a Remote Setting
- 6 Questions to Ask at a Mid Year Performance Review
- 5 Tips to Conduct a Successful Mid Year Review for a Virtual Team
Let’s get started.
Why are mid year reviews important?
Managers and business owners use mid year reviews to discuss employee performance and the progress of their personal goals. These reviews are opportunities that help managers check-in with their teams in an official capacity.
Managers can commend employees on accomplishments while offering constructive feedback on aspects that need improvement.
If performance is reaching unsatisfactory levels, managers can decide to put employees on performance improvement plans during the review discussion.
They can also discover any roadblocks that may prevent employees from reaching their full potential and help each staff member to overcome these obstacles.
Mid year reviews can also give supervisors a chance to adjust any organizational or departmental goals set at the beginning of the year.
Another critical aspect each business owner can focus on is employee satisfaction. They can use the appraisal process to discuss any issues employees may have and exchange ideas with the team.
But that’s not all.
Checking in with associates through the mid year and year-end reviews help managers build up a close-knit team.
This way, they won’t have to face unpleasant surprises during the annual performance review at the end of the year.
Wondering how to conduct a year-end review for virtual teams?
Check out our comprehensive guide here.
How to prepare for a mid year review in a remote setting
Here are a few steps you can take as a manager to prepare for a virtual mid year review:
1. Review job responsibilities and performance expectations
When preparing for the review, a business owner should look at how the employee is expected to carry out their duties.
You can check what’s included in their job description and review the expected goals set at the previous review or at the time of onboarding for new employees. This will give you a clear idea of what to focus on during the review.
2. Examine peer review data and other relevant information
Employees are in contact with their peers more than they are with managers. This is especially true in a remote setting as there’s little to no direct communication among managers and employees.
So, analyzing peer review data and other metrics can help you get a closer look at how:
- The specific employee spends their workday.
- They interact with other employees.
- Whether they’re committed to their work or like to slack off.
You’ll get a substantial image of the behavior of your direct report – and you can use that to set the direction for the mid year appraisal process.
3. Observe whether the employee is achieving expectations
Once you review the expected performance and peer review data, you can start to form an idea of whether the employee has met, exceeded, or fallen short of expectations.
This plays a vital role in deciding the agenda of the mid year review.
Think about it.
A business owner can’t really discuss salary increments with an employee who’s fallen short of their targets, can they?
Once you make an observation, you can share it with the managers or supervisors attending the review with you. This way, they’ll know what to expect and will help you stick to the plan throughout the review process.
4. Check if goal revisions are needed to adopt to company targets
With the Covid-19 pandemic, the year 2020 was a perfect example of how business conditions rarely stay the same.
So what if your organization’s targets changed within the first six months of the year and you suddenly have new goals?
The mid year performance evaluation is the perfect opportunity to formally revise any individual performance targets to accommodate a new organizational objective.
But your changes don’t have to be limited to organizational requirements either.
If you feel an employee needs a refocused set of targets to achieve success, you can explain and assign a specific goal at the mid year review meeting.
5. Think of how your behaviour can affect the review
In situations where an employee’s performance is not up to par, managers need to figure out how to get the message across in a firm but friendly manner.
If you go into the review screaming at an employee, you might be doing more to hinder their progress instead of helping them grow.
Instead, discuss with struggling employees how you can help them and the areas they require improvement in. If you see potential in an employee, helping them improve during the performance review process instead of criticizing them for their shortcomings can positively impact their performance.
6. Expect technical issues and take precautions to avoid them
Conducting a mid year performance evaluation may require some planning, but setting one up remotely needs a lot more thought.
Like any other virtual meeting, you should expect technical issues to pop up during the mid year appraisal process and take reasonable steps to avoid them.
Set up your computer or laptop in a quiet room with adequate lighting and a good internet connection. Ensure you and the employee have both downloaded the necessary software to conduct the meeting and that both parties use a computer instead of a phone to join the meeting.
Want to run a virtual meeting without any hiccups?
Check out our 14 tips on conducting successful virtual meetings.
6 questions to ask at a mid year performance review for remote teams
Here are some questions you should ask employees during your mid year review:
1. “How have you been since we last checked-in with each other?”
It’s crucial that you care about more than an employee’s work hours. If you want them performing at their best, you need to look out for their wellbeing.
They could be struggling with work or personal issues, which can all affect professional growth, employee engagement and general wellbeing.
Finding out what they’re going through and offering your help during the mid year check can go a long way in showing employees that they’re considered more than just employees. In turn, you can expect employees to be more loyal and be more productive in their work.
2. “What are the highlights of your work over the last six months?”
Talk to your employees about what they consider to be their most important work achievements.
Understanding what they consider highlights can give you a better idea of what they’re passionate about. This way, you can assign employees to similar projects where they’ll most likely exceed your expectation.
3. “What were your failures, and how did you use them to grow?”
During the performance review, ask employees what they thought their shortcomings were.
Chances are, you’ve already noted most of these failures, but it’s essential to understand their perspective regarding them.
You can also try to understand what they’ve learned from their self-assessment and what steps they’ve taken to avoid the same mistakes occurring again in the future.
4. “How would you rate your performance on a scale of 1-10?”
Why is it important to ask employees how they feel about their performance?
More often than not, employees will know if they’ve met expectations or fallen short of them. When you ask an employee to rate their performance, you can get an idea of what they think about their work over the last six months.
This way, it’ll be easier for you to work with the employee and find out how they can improve their performance.
5. “How can your managers support you better?”
Regardless of how capable your virtual employees may be, they all require a managers’ help to perform at their best.
During the performance appraisal, ask your employees what they require from you as a supervisor and from the organization.
It may be resources for professional development or something like access to better tools or more frequent feedback — but it’s important to let your employees know that you’re ready to provide the resources they need to be more productive at work.
6. “Do you see yourself in another role in this organization? How can we help you get there?”
Paying attention to your employees’ aspirations is crucial if you want them to be loyal and productive to the business.
If an employee feels they can do more for your business from a different position, you should try to accommodate that request — provided that business conditions allow it. It may even bring out the employee’s hidden potential and produce an even more productive worker for your business.
The mid year annual review is an excellent opportunity to ask employees if they’re looking for a change of direction within the company — which could increase your retention rates since they won’t have to look for another job opportunity elsewhere.
5 tips to conduct a successful mid year review for a virtual team
Here are a few tips you can follow to make your virtual employee performance review a success:
1. Avoid comparing employees with their peers
Every employee has different competencies and shortcomings, so comparing them against each other at the mid year employee review would not just be demeaning – it would also be unfair.
Unfair comparisons and feedback will only create unhealthy competition among peers, which can break down your team’s cohesiveness.
Instead of comparing employees to peers at the performance review meeting, compare their past track record with their current performance. This will give employees an idea of whether they’ve improved or dipped in performance and what they need to do to further improve themselves.
2. Have separate conversations for performance and salary reviews
The mid year performance review is just one employee assessment out of many carried out within a year.
Deciding compensation changes based on a single performance review can be unfair towards your business and its employees.
Ensure that you focus on performance during the mid year review.
Later on, you can review other manager and peer assessments as well as metrics to decide on changes to compensation.
3. Encourage employees to ask questions and discuss issues
During the review, remember to ask open-ended questions and follow up on them.
Your goal should be to let your employee do most of the talking during your meetup.
If the employee opens up about any issues during the performance review, collaborate to find solutions to the problem. Be supportive and make the employee feel safe.
This way, you’ll get honest feedback from the employees, making it a lot easier to deal with any issue.
4. Review previous goals and set priorities to analyze at future reviews
Use the mid year review to reflect on the personal and professional goals set for employees at the previous review.
You can discuss whether the employee has achieved or fallen short of their goals and what can be done to improve their efficiency. Then, focus on goal setting for the next review period.
Explain how their achievement of personal goals affects the business’s performance, and in turn – their compensation. This way, employees will be motivated to work hard and maintain high levels of productivity.
5. Measure performance after the review with productivity tracking tools
Regardless of how motivated employees could be immediately after their personal mid year review, they can have dips in productivity over time.
So, it would help if you utilized an employee productivity tracking tool with detailed metrics to measure the effectiveness of their performance.
Fortunately, a tool like Time Doctor could be perfect for you!
What is Time Doctor?
Time Doctor is a powerful tool used for employee time tracking and performance management.
Used by giants and SMBs, Time Doctor offers several user-friendly features that can help you measure employee performance with ease.
Here’s what you can do with Time Doctor:
- Track the time employees spend on tasks.
- Help employees to minimize idling around at work.
- Generate employee productivity reports in real-time.
- Integrate with other productivity software.
Want to know about managing remote employees?
Mid year reviews can usually be tricky to handle, especially for virtual teams.
However, with the tips included in this article, you won’t have to worry about them anymore!
Just follow what we’ve mentioned above and use a tool like Time Doctor to ensure your employees are staying motivated throughout the workday.
This way, you’ll have highly motivated employees, and your mid year reviews will always be a success!
Andy is a technology & marketing leader who has delivered award-winning and world-first experiences.