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June Is a Good TIme for a Mid-Year Performance Huddle

June 4th, 2019

employee evaluation concept

The trend in performance reviews is not to do them. Instead, leading organizations are replacing the traditional annual review with a "continuous performance management" program.

The idea behind these programs is that rather than wait until year end to review performance, managers more regularly meet with their direct reports to provide feedback -- positive, as well as negative -- discuss and set goals, and engage in a two-way development discussion. In this way, problems can be addressed before they become serious, goals can be adjusted and employees can be recognized for their achievements on a real time basis.

It's hard to argue with this approach to people management. The reality, however, is that managers today have so many demands on their time that adding even a monthly one-on-one check-in with each report is onerous. The other reality is that most managers are not skilled in coaching and giving helpful feedback.

But rather than doing nothing, try a halfway measure. June is six months into the year, a good time to have managers meet with their team to review performance and progress. As an article by authors and leadership coaches Karin Hurt and David Dye explains, these meetings should "summarize, celebrate, challenge, and inspire." They should be two-way conversations between manager and employee, where they discuss what's working and what needs improving.

Hurt and Dye tell us that what else employees most want out of these are:

  1. No surprises. If there are serious performance issues, this should not be the first time an employee hears about them
  2. Specific examples when giving feedback. Instead of being told "You're doing a great job," it's much more helpful to provide examples of exactly what they've done well: "The analysis you did of the new process proposal where you researched the results from other companies that adopted it is an example of your thoroughness that helped the company make an informed decision."
  3. Being heard by their manager who demonstrates that through the follow-up questions they ask.
  4. Recognition for achievements and challenges they've taken on.

To help organizations and managers get started on these "mid-year huddles," the authors helpfully include a list of questions start the conversations. Most important about these huddles is for managers and employees to prepare. Use the questions as a guide in advance. Each should jot down notes about what they want to talk about. Be sure to have specifics.

Good preparation makes a difference. One organization found that "those who had received meaningful performance feedback, were overall much more satisfied with their jobs and supervisors.

"Those who received a poorly conducted mid-year review were less satisfied than those who did not receive them at all."

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