Year-End Performance Review: Tips for Employees and Managers

With annual performance reviews right around the corner, it’s time for both employees and managers to start planning.  

For managers, these year-end meetings are a great opportunity to invest in and support the individuals who work under their leadership. By being intentional with these conversations, managers can encourage communication and retention, and build trusting relationships with their employees. All of these factors will set managers and their teams up for future success. It’s also important for managers to keep in mind employees can get nervous about these meetings. Sharing equal amounts of performance encouragement and improvements will help keep employees engaged in these discussions. 

Employees should use year-end reviews to share with managers what they’ve accomplished within the previous year, as well as their future goals, ideas, and professional feedback on what could be improved. This time should be used for employees to explain what they want to work towards and gives room for their input on how that should happen.   

Open communication during year-end performance reviews allows both parties to have an understanding of expectations going into next year. How can you ensure these year-end conversations are mutually beneficial? We have five tips that can help you start planning, to make these reviews effective and encouraging for both employees and managers. 

  1. Be Consistent – If you consistently address goals and accomplishments relevant to financial quarters or projects, there should already be a good foundation of communication between parties. Make sure the information being shared at the year-end review is consistent with both the accomplishments and setbacks of the job.  

  2. Be Prepared – Spend extra time preparing questions, documents, and examples to help highlight accomplishments, improvements, and general feedback. By investing time and effort beforehand, you will bring value to the meetings and be able to communicate clearly, as well as set clear expectations moving into the next year. 

  3. Be Specific – Both employees and managers should find it helpful to keep notes or a written log throughout the year. Being able to reflect on projects, positive reinforcement, and areas to improve upon will help you find specific examples and make year-end meetings more concrete and productive. 

  4. Be Positive – Year-end performance reviews can often stir up anxious emotions. It's important that these discussions focus on both accomplishments and areas of improvement for both parties.  

  5. Be Proactive – During year-end reviews, managers should share their vision of their department and employees should share about their career aspirations. Discussing these topics openly and aligning goals will increase both parties' motivation. 

These five tips will set the framework for successful year-end performance reviews, ones that are affirming for both employees and managers. If done correctly, these reviews could become a highlight of the year for everyone involved.  

Stay tuned to our upcoming blogs that will go into each of these tips at greater length. For more information on performance reviews, or other employment needs, please reach out to the experts at Palmer Group