Engaging your team in Mid-Year Appraisals

On target? Or need to reset your sights?

The Summer Solstice which marks the longest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere is fast approaching and it’s a good time to conduct midyear appraisals.

A mid-term appraisal meeting is a chance to review a person’s performance over the previous 6 months and also to look ahead to the second half of the year. It is a valuable opportunity to directly engage with the team about their individual aspirations and goals, and ensure that they are engaged with the work they are doing and with the organization as a whole. We’ve recently discussed the challenges of staff engagement for the clinical research industry, with many organizations reporting staff turnover in the region of 20% – 25% per annum.  This makes appraisals a key opportunity to address any potential issues or celebrate successes.

In order for the appraisal to be a valuable exercise the appraisee should be encouraged to prepare for the meeting by asking them to reflect on the previous six months. They should think of:

  • How they performed generally against the standards required by their job role
  • Occasions when they did good pieces of work
  • Situations when they did pieces of work that could have gone better and what action was taken to put it right or do it better the next time
  • How their objectives were met, or not as the case may be
  • What changes to their objectives might be necessary
  • Any new skills have they acquired
  • New responsibilities they may have taken on
  • Significant achievements

Looking forwards, examples of what they might consider are:

  • How to continue to exploit their strengths and work on areas for improvement
  • Short and long term career aspirations which may have changed from when their previous appraisal meeting
  • Possible training needs to aid development

Appraisals should be a regular, ongoing activity and not just a once or twice a year form filling exercise, and to be truly successful an appraisal needs commitment from both parties. Regular appraisals also benefit Line Managers because they help establish a better relationship with their reports. Regular feedback is helpful in reinforcing good performance and areas for improvement can be identified and resolved quickly. Also important is ‘spontaneous’ appraising, which is vital both when someone has done an excellent piece of work and also when something could have been done better or has been badly mishandled. People love getting timely praise for doing a good piece work. Recognizing good performance when it happens and not just taking it for granted helps reinforce good behaviors and skills. It is very important that positive feedback is specific and not just a “well done”. By doing both regular reviews and spontaneous interventions there are no surprises for either the manager or their report. It’s much easier to cite examples of work that went well and that which could have gone better.

The goal is for continuous improvement through planning, monitoring, reviewing and communicating, which research has shown contributes to significantly higher engagement levels than those without these systems.

If you’re interested in enhancing your appraisal processes with qualifications and training please contact us for more information on how we can support.

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