Great Leadership

A Complete Guide to End-of-Year Meetings

Image of Simon Deignan
Simon Deignan2021-12-06
Everyone is undoubtedly looking forward to the holiday season and, potentially, a few days off to spend with family and friends. The run up to year’s end may be a bit chaotic and stressful but an end-of-year meeting is an important event to organize and mark in those calendars.

What is an end-of-year meeting?

As our calendars slowly approach that final box, plans are being drawn up and finalized for next year’s initiatives, product launches, budgets, and plenty more. As the name suggests, an end-of-year meeting takes place towards the end of Q4 and offers you and your respective team the opportunity to focus on all the hard work and effort that has gone into the past few months. 

Be aware, this doesn’t need to resemble a weekly team meeting or even a quarterly reflection. You can come up with a structure and plan that will work best for everyone. Consider this your chance to put a bow on the year’s efforts and the opportunity for each and every member of your team to both reflect and to look forward. 

Feel free to get creative when thinking of things to discuss and potential activities; add in a variety of different elements, and be sure to block out a decent chunk of time. Also remember, it’s the holiday season so consider doing something fun.  

So… why run an end-of-year meeting?

An end-of-year meeting is more than a simple retrospective. See it as something that reviews and reflects on the previous 11/12 months as a whole. Everyone, from the most junior members to team leaders, can voice their opinions, show their appreciation to one another, or offer some insights into projects that they lead or took part in. 

Each year will contain its own unique ups and downs so as a leader you can decide what direction this meeting will take. Perhaps highlighting the year’s key metrics can help contextualize the team’s impact. Maybe celebrating even the small wins can be a good way of putting a tough year into perspective.  

You don’t just have a full year’s worth of work to reflect on, but a full year’s worth of teamwork and individual effort and sacrifices; so be sure to congratulate everyone involved and acknowledge what has been accomplished. 

How to run a successful end-of-year meeting

Now we get to the good stuff. How exactly can you make this meeting a roaring success and have everyone excited to come back to work in the new year? Well, we have some tips that can help. 

Offer some well deserved praise

Hard work should not go unnoticed and words of encouragement and appreciation should not go unsaid. So as well as singing plenty of carols, let’s give everyone a chance to sing the praises of their teammates. Offering everyone an open (and anonymous) forum to send someone a special message for the work they’ve done is a great way to kick off an end-of-year meeting. 

Give Praise

Give Praise

Both Word Clouds and Open-Ended questions are great for sending praise someone's way.

Recap, recap, recap

Wait… what did we do back in February? What was the result of that A/B test we implemented in Q2? Recency bias is a very real phenomenon and we all tend to conjure up images of our most recent endeavours when we are asked to reflect upon something. So going through exactly what happened on a month-by-month basis will help jog those memories and make sure no important details from the year get left out. 

Look at the numbers… but in a fun way

Not everybody is data-savvy, additionally, numbers can make plenty of heads spin and put others straight to sleep. Metrics are nonetheless important, no matter what department you are in. So think of a way to present those all-important numbers in a clear and unique manner. Making it an interactive experience will make even more people interested in those charts and graphs.

Guess Our Growth

Guess Our Growth

Review those highlights and lowlights

Now that you have given everyone a nice reminder of what they have collectively accomplished, you can ask everyone to consider their individual highlights and lowlights. Highlights don’t necessarily need to be successful campaigns, they can be small personal wins that mean a lot to the individual. 

Lowlights, likewise, don’t need to be failed projects or missed targets, but learning opportunities to keep in mind when striving to improve. Identifying both elements are crucial for team and personal development.

Highlights Of The Year

Highlights Of The Year

Run a Q&A

Now is your chance to clarify any issues, address burning topics, or follow up on old discussion points. Taking the time to answer questions will help ensure your team is operating in a transparent and collaborative manner. Furthermore, you can ask everyone to focus on the year as a whole when coming up with their questions they have. 

A top tip is to ask employees and team members to submit questions before the meeting so you can allow the appropriate amount of time.

Survey the group

Gauging opinions on what people think of their year can be a fantastic way to make plans and find improvements for the upcoming year. How well did we collaborate as a team? Did we work efficiently? Consider this like a mini-survey you can run together with your colleagues and use the information gathered to help improve team performance and satisfaction starting from day one of next year. 

End of Year Review

End of Year Review

Scales slides are perfect for adding multiple questions into the same slide. No need for any extra effort!

Look forward to upcoming projects 

Perhaps you want to just focus on Q1 and wait until January or February to talk in more detail about the entirety of 2022 - that’s totally fine. Tailor this to suit your meeting, but spending some time looking forward is a great way to compliment the reflection you have done up until this point. Drumming up some excitement for the new year can help keep the good momentum you have built continues on. 

Do something fun

As I said before, it’s the end of the year and many of us are craving a break, so end on a fun note. All work and no play may make this just another meeting and that is certainly not what we want. Christmas jumpers are optional! 

No matter if you and your team celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa or some other festival, we have a quiz to suit every need. try out a Winter Quiz to see if people really know their stuff about the most wonderful time of the year.

Winter Quiz

Winter Quiz

Office awards can be a great way to crack a few jokes, show your appreciation for others, and end both the meeting and the year on a high note. 

Office Awards

Office Awards

Ending the year on a high

So there you have it! Another year is in the books and you have now put a nice bow on the past few months. Make this final meeting of the year the best one thus far. The goal should be to end the year on a high note and enter into Q1 of the following year with a good sense of everything that was done. 

So if you haven’t marked a date yet and found a time that works for everyone then we suggest that you get cracking because time is ticking. This is one meeting you don’t want anyone missing! 

Feel free to use any of the templates included above in your end-of-year meeting. Mentimeter has all of the tools to make this the most interactive and engaging meeting of the year! 

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