Navigating your end of year review

As the nights draw in and it gets darker in Northern Hemisphere, it’s getting time when many people are starting to prepare for their end of year review. Many people that I speak to, often look at this with dread as “just another thing” to tick off their increasingly busy list or alternatively just another example of seeing how little they’ve achieved this year. I try to approach this as an opportunity for an open discussion. An open discussion to ask:

  • Where are we both today?
    • How do you feel within the Team/Organisation?
    • Are you happy with your job?
  • What have you achieved this year that’s made you proud?
  • What areas do you want to focus on next year?
  • Where can I help you succeed?
  • Where do you want to be this time next year? (e.g. in line for promotion/ promoted/ better at your current job).
    • What do you need to get there?

When you are preparing for your end of year review, take the time to critically analyse what you’ve achieved this year. You can use your objectives that you set at the start of the year as a guideline but try to think about your accomplishments, biggest learning points, happiest moments etc. When I am going into these discussions myself, I like to frame my story under the following points:

  • What had I planned for this year?
  • What did I manage to achieve
  • What have I learned?
  • Where do I want to go from here?

By using these broad arcs, I’m able to lead my Manager through my year and highlight my key successes but also the areas that I want to highlight as growth opportunities or where I’ve succeeded.

When you are preparing this evaluation, also promote what you’ve been doing that meets Organisational goals/expectations. This could be around:

  • Are you a team player? Have you contributed to the team in any way?
  • What have you done to support your organisations goals or values?
    • Are you promoting the company or being a good ambassador?
  • What have you supported to success?
    • This one is REALLY important. Just because you were not in the lead of an objective, does not mean that you were not instrumental to it’s success. Goals are TEAM activities so highlight anything that you’ve supported into a successful conclusion.

As a Manager, One thing that I’m looking for in my end of year reviews is understanding what the person needs from me:

  1. At the moment
  2. In the near future
  3. In the coming year

This will enable me to see where I’m able to support them or challenge their goals for next year. In a coaching session that I had recently, we were discussing the preparation for the end of year reviews and they were afraid to show their weaknesses/development areas for fear that this would be used against them when it came to bonuses/yearly salary increases. I argue that: No, it’s the Organisations’ responsibility to ensure that they can support your professional development and it’s your responsibility to highlight what you need and where you want your career to go.


Taking the time to prepare for your end of year review is vital to ensure that you can end your current year positively but also to reflect on where you are, where you want to be and what you need to get there.

I’d love ot hear how you prepare for your end of year reviews. Have I missed anything?

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