Al Masaood | Abu Dhabi | UAE


Why We Need to Revise Mid-Year Performance Reviews Now

1 August 2021

The season of mid-year performance reviews is here. But, with the pandemic causing a major shift in business objectives in the last few months, our traditional approach and forms have become outdated.


The targets and key performance indicators (KPIs) we have set in the previous years are no longer relevant to the new work culture that we have adopted. As the nature of business has changed, it is important for companies to restructure their review sessions, align performance feedback based on new organization priorities, and evaluate team members according to the changing scenarios.


This approach gives employees an opportunity to refocus and work towards renewed targets, while contributing towards organizational growth.


Here are some points for companies and human resource teams to consider as we move forward:


Understand Transitional Challenges


The switch from a physical workspace to remote working brought along a number of challenges, especially for employees that work on the field or front desks. It may have forced both leaders and team members to take on new roles, but also welcomed an opportunity to adapt and introduce innovative ways to connect with clients, while following social distancing guidelines.


Consider this new phenomenon as part of the performance review. Instead of comparing employees to one another, which creates an unhealthy and demotivating environment, use it as an opportunity to measure the progress an individual has made during the crisis. This approach is fairer and makes employees receptive to feedback and constructive criticism.


Consider Employee Situations Individually


As the pandemic wears on, employees are faced with additional stressors, such as the possibility of falling sick themselves, handling their children’s online schooling, and for some, caregiver responsibilities to seniors.


Travel restrictions may have imposed additional concerns, such as being away from families, unable to mourn the death of loved ones, or being able to care for sick relatives. Working remotely also eliminated healthy ways of disconnecting from work. 


Balancing all this, while trying to maintain daily workload, may take a toll on the employees’ mental and physical health. It is our responsibility to be there for them and provide assistance in the form of a flexible mid-year performance review.


The right approach can bring a smile to one’s face, bring relief to mental health, and prevent the feeling of isolation. Giving an employee this flexibility also welcomes personal security and stability, with renewed motivation.


Lead with Empathy


As we navigate through new personal and professional challenges brought on by the pandemic, it is more important than ever to lead with empathy, which also helps build rapport and trust. 


Take the time to listen carefully to the person being reviewed, and give some thought to what is being shared. I also recommend paying attention to non-verbal cues and to view things from their perspective.


Empathy goes a long way in helping employees feel more secure and recognized. Being aware and acknowledging the context under which employees are operating also brings better mutual understanding and helps develop a revised strategy and KPIs for employees.


Help employees visualize personal and professional success


It is the leader’s responsibility to act as guide and coach and enable employees to visualize what success looks like both personally and professionally. Good leaders work with their staff to enable them to chart this success path and visually share what good performance looks like. This should be reviewed for first six months and made clear what great looks like at year end both in terms of performance metrics and values.


Embrace the change


At Al Masaood, we are not just employees at a firm, we are family. We acknowledge the need to be realistic with our goals and to create a healthy environment in the workplace, which is why we revised our KPIs and provided an opportunity for employees to lead their mid-year performance review.


With an open platform for discussion and details recorded on our ‘e-performance app’, we shared a set of guidelines in order to help them have a fulfilling experience and create clear outcomes as part of their evaluation.


Through this, we welcomed self-evaluation - to express their thoughts about their job and share their opinion on their performance. We further prioritized their experiences, such as the challenges or obstacles that may have affected their performance, and to identify ways that they could get better support, resources, opportunities and improve retention.


We also encouraged them to set their own new objectives or areas of improvement. This helps give individuals a sense of responsibility that could lead to better performance in the second half of the year. 


I would encourage leaders to adapt accordingly and always maintain an open line of communication. The end goal is to create a healthy and happy work environment for employees that poises the company for growth and success.