End-of-year reviews are essential tools to help leaders gauge their business’s effectiveness and efficiency over the previous year. However, not all businesses implement a review, and some that do only look at the cursory metrics that would give them just a basic understanding of the company’s strengths and weaknesses.
A more comprehensive review is necessary if leaders want to learn where the business can improve and how to do so. If you haven’t gotten started on your year-end review, it isn’t too late to do so. Seven experts from Young Entrepreneur Council shed some light on what businesses can do to get started on their year-end review and explain why these steps are crucial for the review’s success.
1. Conduct A SWOT Analysis
At the end of every year, I conduct a SWOT (strength, weakness, opportunity and threat) analysis on my company and on my own performance as the CEO. By identifying the agency’s current strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats, I can better set goals for the upcoming year and determine the initiatives that deserve my focus. Taking an honest look at my own performance allows me to determine areas where growth is needed and I can then seek out the resources to help me improve. When I’m a better leader, my employees are happier, and the company performs better overall too. – Katie Wagner, KWSM: a digital marketing agency
2. Focus On Three Key Questions
We center our end-of-year review around three key questions. First of all, did we meet our goals? Secondly, are our clients satisfied? And thirdly, are we achieving our mission? And for each question we follow up with “If so, why?” or “If not, why not?” This almost always surfaces important lessons and specific changes we want to make for the next year. – Danielle Allen, Building Impact
3. Look At Key Performance Metrics
We plan our year-end review in October-December. Some key performance metrics we focus on are insurance policies; health insurance benefits; employee satisfaction; client satisfaction; growth in each vertical we are targeting; search engine optimization wins and losses; and client retention metrics. Every achievement counts, especially now, so congrats to all that are hustling in 2020. – Terry Tateossian, Socialfix Media
4. Have Employees Check Their Own Report
I ask my employees to check their end-of-year report themselves. In addition to knowing who performed well and to better aim for progress, having employees check their own end-of-year review is the best way to have self-analysis and honesty on the employees’ end. Plus then they can see for themselves if they actually grew in the company or if they failed that year. – Daisy Jing, Banish
5. Get Everyone To Contribute
We have individual employee reviews, but we also have a company end-of-year review where everyone contributes their ideas and feedback on pieces of paper in a bowl and we pull them to discuss as a team. It keeps the suggestions confidential but allows for open discussion on how to improve as a group. We make it fun by usually having some refreshments and including end-of-year gift drawings. – Jennifer Buonantony, Press Pass LA and PPLA Social + PR
6. Keep Your Employees In The Loop
Reviews are the best way to create a feedback loop within an organization. It should never be overlooked under any circumstances, as this will lead to deviation from the set goals. So start by strictly communicating to your team regarding performance appraisals and reviews, and then compare numbers. And give straight and actionable feedback instead of pointing out their shortcomings – Kelly Richardson, Infobrandz
7. Do An End-Of-Year Clean Out
Every company should be completing an end-of-year clean out. In offices this means bringing in a dumpster, while for virtual employees it’s the virtual trash bin. Clear out old files, drafts and unneeded graphics and create a fresh start. As a bonus, you might just find a gem that never got actioned and get reinspired. – Kelly Azevedo, She’s Got Systems