August 11, 2013
When it comes to mid-year reviews, my husband and I are of two minds. According to him, it is another meaningless “must-do, check-the-square” exercise in corporate bureaucracy. I, on the other hand, consider the mid-year review as a forum outside of the day-to-day for having a meaningful, structured dialogue about where I am and how I can move forward and improve. Needless to say, he was not a happy camper when I opted to spend a recent Sunday afternoon prepping for my upcoming mid-year review rather than going to the movies.
Since most organizations, including my own, have completed mid-year reviews by this point in the summer, I asked members of Citi’s Connect: Professional Women’s Network to weigh in. Not only did a majority of respondents have a mid-year review but, of those who did, the vast majority (72%) it was extremely or somewhat valuable. And, yes, if you’re wondering, I do feel vindicated about taking a pass on the movie.
So, what makes a mid-year conversation meaningful? According to Connect members, a mid-year is meaningful when it includes:
Both parties being “present” in the conversation and prepared for the conversation.
Two-way dialogue versus one-way “lecture” – with active listening and open minds by both parties.
Actionable feedforward, not just “vague” feedback.
A discussion that balances the tactical to navigate current obstacles, whether in the form of people or processes, with the aspirational to prepare for future career opportunities.
Alignment on what is expected and where the gaps are in terms of the “what” is to be accomplished or the “how” those goals and priorities should be achieved.
For those of you in my “meaningful” camp, build on the momentum coming out of your mid-year through informal check-ins with your manager to review your progress, challenges and development actions. And, keep your list of accomplishments aka your "brag book" up to date, which will make prepping for your year-end performance much easier.
If your organization doesn’t hold formal mid-year reviews or if you didn’t find yours to be particularly insightful, set up a time to speak with your manager sooner rather than later, so you have the opportunity to course-correct before your year-end review. Be clear about what you want to achieve in that conversation and give your manager some “lead” time to prepare – don’t put a meeting on the calendar for later that same day. If there are specific behaviors you want to discuss, consider asking for feedback and feedforward from trusted colleagues, peers, clients and mentors in advance of meeting with your manager to use as a springboard for that discussion.
For more guidance on how to structure a productive mid-year conversation with your manager, check out these tips from my team at Women & Co. on how to track your performance and what to do when your review isn’t as positive as you had expected.
Featured on:Your Career
Posted by:Linda D.