Mid-year goal setting for a great second half of the year

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Mid-year goal setting

Goal setting isn’t a once-a-year process. Goals need to be reviewed regularly to monitor progress against them. That’s why a mid-year review is such an important tool in a team leader’s toolkit. Effective goal setting ensures a great second half of the year.

A mid-year review is an important performance review. It can be valuable for the individual, the team, the manager or team leader conducting the review, and the organization. Ideally, the mid-year review should be an integral part of your annual organizational and HR calendar.

Even if a mid-year review isn’t formalized within your organizational HR, learning and development processes or reward and bonus structures, managers should consider conducting a mid-year review with new goal setting.

A mid-year review is the perfect opportunity to recap and monitor progress against the organizational and individual goals for the year and to refocus and recommit to those goals and values. Done well, it can be a powerful tool for engagement and motivation.


Mid-year review

The main focus of a mid-year review is to look at performance goals and determine whether an employee has achieved them. It offers an opportunity to reflect, build on existing goals, and set new goals.

It’s a good time to reiterate the company’s goals and culture and look at the performance of the team and the individual. This includes:

  • Determine whether the individual has met their goals and targets,
  • Share positive feedback,
  • Identify areas where conduct or performance is lacking,
  • Undertake career guidance and succession planning,
  • Set new, mid-year goals.

Goal setting is important because it will set the expectations for the next six months and become the basis for the next review meeting.


Mid-year goal setting

Setting mid-year goals will help you to address issues in a timelier fashion, instead of waiting for annual review and appraisals to come around.

This might include:

  • Where existing goals have been achieved, work together to co-create a new set of goals for the second half of the year in a way that helps to build engagement and performance,
  • Where a staff member is struggling to meet their goals, review the goals, understand the issue, reorient where appropriate, and offer support,
  • If company priorities have evolved or changed, add or refine goals to ensure that individual goals align with company strategy.

A 2022 study showed that employee trust in the fairness of appraisals increases when they are combined with effective goal setting. This trust in the process translates into improved engagement and motivation.

The best goals:

  • Align individual performance with organizational goals,
  • Are developed in collaboration between employee and manager,
  • Should include goals around professional and personal development,
  • Are designed to reflect and strengthen organizational culture,
  • Imbue a sense of purpose and meaning to the work being delivered,
  • Coach the whole person, not just the job role.

This way, the employee can see the importance of their work and behavior to the organization – adding to their sense of meaning, purpose, engagement and productivity.


Tips for a successful mid-year review meeting

Managers should make it clear that the mid-year review and goal setting is important. Don’t be tempted to repeatedly reschedule or downplay the importance of the meeting. This can be demotivating and lead to greater disengagement.

Best practice includes:

  • Be consistent with your check-ins and reviews so team members can see you attach importance to them,
  • Give staff plenty of time to prepare to them, with advance notice of the session and time allocated to gather supporting evidence,
  • Managers should be well prepared going into the mid-year review, including a thorough review of job roles and responsibilities, previous goals and targets, collection of peer input, performance metrics and other evidence,
  • Aim for a constructive tone and an open discussion,
  • Ensure any goals set are SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound),
  • Promptly follow up with any confirmation, additional information or other follow-ups requested during the meeting.


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