Prepare for Your End of Year Review

The end of the year usually brings some pretty exciting things to the office. From holiday parties, year-end bonuses and some extra time off to spend with friends and family, the last few months of each year are something many Productivity Ninjas look forward to. It can also get rather stressful with End of Year Reviews coming up. 

An End of Year Review can be both stimulating and nerve-wracking for employees and managers. Whether you’re the one getting feedback or giving it, an End of Year Review is one of the best times to gain insight on what you could do better and how to plan for the next year.

Here are a few tips for both employees and managers to get the most out of an End of Year Review.


Productivity Ninja End of Year Review


For Employees 

If you’re headed into a Year End Review about your performance, you may think your only responsibility is to sit and listen. But if you’re serious about being an essential part of your team in 2017, here are a few extra steps you should take.


Know Your Weaknesses

Before heading into your review, think of what improvement areas your manager might bring up. Do you know which areas of your job you’re lacking in? Have you already come up with a few ideas on how you can improve?

Identifying your weaknesses can keep you from being blindsided in your review and show that you’re already proactive about making positive changes.

Keep in mind, even negative feedback isn’t a personal attack on you or your work – keep an open-mind to suggestions.


Revisit Last Year’s Review

If you’ve been at the company for more than a year, you were probably given some feedback during your last End of Year Review. Take a moment before this year’s meeting is held to revisit what was discussed last year. Did you make a change? Have you met your goals?

When you go into your meeting, connect this year’s review to last year’s feedback. Explain what you did to improve during the past year and how you will use those strategies or new strategies to continue improving in the next year.


Productivity Ninja End of the Year Review


Provide Feedback to Your Manager

An End of Year Review isn’t just about the employee — it’s is also a time to share some areas of improvement for your manager, or the company as a whole.

During your End of Year Review, provide suggestions on solving office problems. From productivity to communication issues, identifying problems on your end can help your entire team reach their goals. For example, you could suggest different ways of spending your training budget next year. Ask yourself which Time Management Training could you benefit from in the new year or suggest Time Management Workshops for the whole team.

Since you have some time to prepare in between each year-end review, make a point to notice on a regular basis whether there are operations or procedures that slow you down throughout the day, or which generally seem to impede company progress. Keep a spreadsheet or other document handy, and keep it updated throughout the year as you find these areas for improvement.

It doesn’t have to be anything major, either — sometimes, it’s the simplest solutions that work best.

For Managers

To an employee, it may seem like sitting on the other side of the review desk is a piece of cake. But because managers gain just as much from an End of Year Review as the employees, it’s important for those facilitating the review to be prepared and open-minded. Here are a few tips for managers looking to get the most out of the End of Year Reviews they conduct.

Productivity Ninja End of the Year Review

Solicit Feedback From Colleagues

A big part of any employee’s performance evaluation should hinge on their ability to work alongside their teammates, productively. And as a manger, you’re uniquely able to judge an employee on these merits long before you sit down for their year-end review.

Take some time to speak with colleagues who work with this person on a regular basis. They can likely be counted on to provide a candid, but polite, appraisal of their performance, and can generally give you an indication as to whether the employee in question is a “team player” or not.


Reference Goals Set at the Previous Review

Assuming your employee has been with the company for more than a year, each End of Year Review affords a great opportunity to both set and check up on progress toward employee goals.

You can provide some suggestions for areas of improvement — based on your observations or the feedback you gathered from other colleagues — but ultimately, the employee should be setting their own goals, and using company career trajectories as a general guide.

Before the Review begins, assess whether the employee has met their goals from a year ago. If they haven’t, work with them when you gather for the Review to redraw more realistic goals for this year and find out how you can support them more. Whether that’s sending them on various training workshops they might require or re-assuring them of other aspects of their work which went well. Keep in mind, if your employees fail at tasks, you as their manager fail too and it’s your responsibility as well as their’s to deliver great results.


Take Time of Year Into Consideration

One thing that might get forgotten in the run-up to Employee Review Season is that reviews can be stressful. They’re a planned event, generally speaking, but employees still need to prepare for the experience and reflect on how far they’ve come in one year.

Therefore, prepare carefully when you’re scheduling End of Year Reviews. Some seasons are certainly busier than others, so make sure reviews aren’t falling on a week where employees are already scrambling to meet deadlines or woo new clients.

End of Year Reviews are important for the health of both the employee and the organization, but it doesn’t help anybody if the experience compounds the already present stresses of the modern workplace.


Reviews don’t have to be as stressful as we often experience them to be. When employees and managers remember that the End of Year Review is about improving the team and the entire company, the pressure or fear of that year-end meeting can wash away. With common goals and open minds, both employees and managers can get more from their End of Year Reviews.

How do you ensure a less stressful End of Year Review for your team? Let us know in the comment section below or @thinkproductive


By Sarah Landrum 

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