Mid-year reviews are an essential element of any performance strategy. They’re a valuable gauge of business health, providing insights into performance at an organizational, departmental, or individual level.
But many reviews focus only on hard data: How much money was made? How much was spent? What does cashflow look like? They rarely consider less tangible, though equally influential, indicators: trends, staff, and the wider marketplace. Make sure your performance management strategy includes these five essential, but often overlooked, steps.
1. Chart progress against objectives.
At the core of every business review is evaluating progress-to-date against objectives. But it’s not enough to just consider where you are today. It’s equally important to chart progress throughout the previous six months.
This useful tactic can reveal enlightening insights. Were strong initial results not sustained throughout? Did enthusiasm at launch wane after the fanfare died down? Conversely, did a soft start transform into success at certain key moments?
Charting your progress, and aligning it to key milestones or initiatives, will tell you not just where you’re placed, but also how you’re trending, and what specifically has contributed to getting you there. This is particularly important if your goal is long-term culture or behavior change, which isn’t well suited to a single “snapshot review.”
2. Celebrate successes to date.
What’s the first thing everyone does in a business review? Focus on the negatives, what’s not working. It’s only natural—we’re wired to seek out problems to fix. But for every problem to fix, there will be a success to celebrate. It’s essential to recognize both.
Deficiencies in performance undoubtedly require addressing if objectives are to be met. But employees rally behind successes. It lifts spirits and inspires efforts. This success could be at a business or personal level: an effective project launch or software implementation, achieving team targets, an employee who has gone above and beyond. Remember, it’s about more than just the numbers. Publicize these successes widely through internal communications channels.
3. Take a workplace temperature check.
What’s the temperature of your workplace? Not the physical condition, the emotional one. Are staff motivated or moping? Striving or slumbering?
The importance of assessing staff morale can’t be overstated. If staff are disengaged or tired, their efforts will suffer. And business performance will follow.
The achievement of business objectives is inextricably tied to that of employees. This review provides the opportunity to identify issues and put corrective measures in place. This could be a team-building day off-site to re-energize everyone, varying staff duties to add variety to their workload, or providing support to high-need areas.
Don’t be afraid to ask staff directly how they’re feeling. A timely staff survey which invites feedback can be a goldmine of valuable information.
4. Identify what’s changed.
When you set your objectives for the year, it was at least six months ago. For many organizations, the process starts 12 months in advance. A lot of water may have gone under the bridge in that time.
Changes in your organization (new personnel or a department restructure), changes in the marketplace (a new competitor or product release), changes in the wider environment (new legislation or trade restrictions) can affect your ability to hit your objectives. Seeing the big picture, and identifying unforeseen changes, provides essential context to your mid-year results.
It will also suggest changes in strategy or resourcing you might consider. Do you need to focus more on one geographic market? Reconsider price points to stay competitive? Increase your staffing levels? With half the year still to go, ample time remains to effect improvements that support your objectives.
5. Develop a monthly tactical plan.
You’ve probably found that the first six months of the year flew by. It’s likely that the next six will be just as fast, so it’s worthwhile developing a monthly plan of tactical initiatives to maintain alignment to objectives.
Some considerations for this plan are format and frequency of staff communications, staff or customer engagement activities, and setting business subgoals. Make sure to keep any such targets attainable to provide positive motivation.
Internal communication channels such as desktop alerts are well-suited for reaching employees with targeted, high-impact messages. Display your monthly plan prominently and remember to chart your progress.
Mid-year is the perfect time to take stock of where you are, and where you’re heading. Following these five steps will help ensure your performance strategy hits all the right notes.