End-of-year reviews are useful surveys because they help a business better understand its strengths and weaknesses. However, the analysis doesn’t have any set way of being done. Different companies conduct their end-of-year surveys in unique ways and tailor them to the needs of the business. Regardless, at the heart of every year-end study is the data collected. Analyzing this data can offer an enterprise essential insights into what it could be doing better, and what it excelled at over the previous year.
In developing an end-of-year review technique, it’s vital to cover the essentials to get a proper feel for the operations of the business. To this end, seven members of Young Entrepreneur Council share their insight into what they do within their own companies for the end-of-year review, and how any business can get started on developing its own technique.
1. Look At The Data
We do an end-of-year review and evaluation of our company. I like to ensure that I have all company data (including financial statements and customer data) to see how the company is evolving financially and to get a better understanding of our customers. Our data provides a narrative of who our customers are and what they need. I would encourage any business owner to pull all relevant data and do an end-of-year evaluation to determine where they are in the market and where they are headed. – Kristin Kimberly Marquet, Marquet Media, LLC
2. Set Up A System To Measure Progress
Long before you begin annual reviews, you must set up a system for how you’ll measure progress and reward that progress. This isn’t something to come up with on the spot, as your employees will have questions and you will need to have answers for them. I like to start all reviews with positives. Expressing gratitude and appreciation for my team’s hard work shows that their efforts don’t go unnoticed. Everything is documented prior to the meetings so there’s no confusion and I don’t have to pull up anything, which causes distractions. Then, I get into how they could improve using a scale from one to five, with one signifying a poor performance and five being the absolute best. Once I go into detail about the highs and lows, I ask them if they have any questions for me and what our plan is moving ahead. – Stephanie Wells, Formidable Forms
3. Know Your Numbers
When we conduct a year-end review, we evaluate our key performance indicators (KPIs) from the entire year. Did we achieve everything we set out to achieve for 2019? What worked? What didn’t work? Make sure your benchmarks are tied to specific financial goals. You must know your numbers from each month and each quarter so that you can readily answer whether you hit your goals or fell short. – Lisa Song Sutton, Sin City Cupcakes
4. Use Eliciting Values
As teams grow and business needs evolve, we frequently use a process in neurolinguistic programming known as “eliciting values.” Although our values do not change unless serious life events have happened, it’s great at the end of the year to revisit this discussion and find out how everyone is operating and aligned. A simple 30-minute process works wonders. It starts the new year off fresh, engaging and with everyone committed to the same goals and vision. – Klyn Elsbury, Shark School
5. Share And Discuss KPIs
We invite the leaders of every department in our company (marketing, sales, engineering, support and product) to submit their end-of-year review in December. Their reviews will include both qualitative and quantitative data such as their KPIs for their respective team. In January, we hold a meeting to share the results with the entire team. Each department head and members of their team presenting their performance and insights. This meeting also includes a fun team activity and celebration to recognize our accomplishments for the prior year and establish our goals and KPIs for the upcoming year. – Nanxi Liu, Enplug
6. Have A Heart-To-Heart
We have our regular meetings with random heart-to-heart talks about what our team liked about this year and what made them feel accomplished. From there, we try to see what we can do to make sure that next year is better, different and that everyone’s expectations will be met successfully. – Daisy Jing, Banish
7. Opt For Quarterly Reviews Instead
I’ve seen clients utilize end-of-year reviews. With regard to the business structure, quarterly reviews are much better, especially in startups. They help you assess past goal-setting, if the targets are being met, how well the budget is being managed and if there needs to be additional resources brought on in order to accomplish key projects or further upcoming ones. – Nicole Munoz, Nicole Munoz Consulting, Inc.