Conducting Interim Reviews

Conducting regular interim reviews gives supervisors opportunities to:

  • Discuss employees' performance progress.
  • Provide employees with additional support or resources.
  • Adjust or add performance expectations and competency requirements.
  • Create a running record of accomplishments to support the final evaluation.
  • Reduce employee anxiety over the content of the final evaluation.

Strategies for Success

  • Adopt a uniform evaluation cycle. Uniform cycles allow all supervisors to conduct interim reviews at the same time and allocate time accordingly.
  • Keep it simple. The purpose of interim reviews is to promote focused discussion between supervisors and employees during the year. Don't complicate the process with more requirements.
  • Build a culture that values frequent feedback. Reinforce the expectation that employees deserve frequent feedback, and that a primary function of supervisors is to help employees be successful.
  • Provide supervisor training. Teach supervisors how to have meaningful conversations with employees about their progress. Show them how to provide difficult feedback that an employee needs in order to be successful.
  • Monitor and review plans. Monitor the completion of interim reviews, and report to senior management. Provide feedback and coaching to supervisors on the quality of performance measures. Take corrective action against supervisors who don’t meet expectations.
  • Develop a supervisor transition process. Determine a process and expectations for completing interim reviews when a supervisor leaves in the middle of the performance evaluation cycle.
  • Use a tickler and tracking system. Provide reminders to supervisors when interim reviews are coming due.
  • Consider multiple interim reviews. Semi-annual or quarterly reviews may prove more beneficial than just one per year.

Potential Challenges

  • Contractual restrictions. Some Collective Bargaining Agreements only allow one formal review per year. Consider other alternatives such as informal feedback that is recorded in a supervisory desk file.
  • Scale and span of control. Large organizations may have a difficult time implementing organization-wide change. Consider a phased or staggered approach to offset administrative challenges.
  • Overcoming resistance. Change is always difficult, particularly during the first year. Practice good change management techniques, including extra communication.
  • Losing track. Employees who don’t fall into standard categories (e.g., temporary employees, new hires, and those with matrix reporting relationships) often fall through the cracks. Find a way to track and monitor these employees.
  • Measuring interim results. Some results can only be measured at the end of the year (e.g., customer feedback ratings). Consider evaluating key milestones, or using unsolicited feedback or personal observations.
  • Other workload requirements. Scheduling and conducting interim reviews takes time. Try to plan other major projects around interim review dates, and avoid setting work deadlines at the same time interim reviews are due.

Original: January 5, 2008
Last update: September 11, 2015

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