Well, that didn’t go as planned.
2020 was a year unlike any other. It was undoubtedly one of the most challenging years for businesses and employees in recent history. Now, here it is December, and it is time to do your annual year-end review with your staff. Well, that should be interesting.
Should you just skip it? Absolutely not!
It is an important leadership task to review the past year for both yourself and for your team and use what you’ve learned to plan for the future. Your template for doing this should have defined measures for success but should also be flexible for circumstances both unforeseen and outside of your control. 2020 will certainly stretch that flexibility!
Where to begin.
How do you approach not only annual performance reviews but also review the overall performance of your team?
1. Talk openly about the challenges
Your team may approach the year-end review process with some trepidation and even anxiety. Start off your review by acknowledging that this year was not business as usual. Use humor to introduce the subject in a way that eases the stress response (there is no shortage of available memes).
Then, use open-ended questions to actively engage your team in a real dialogue.
What was the hardest thing?
What have you learned about yourself while working from home?
What helps you accomplish your tasks?
What keeps you from meeting your goals?
What do you need from me to be successful in your job?
Recognize and take note of the challenges and frustrations that your team voices. These are opportunities for improvement for 2021.
“Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow.”
~ Albert Einstein
2. Recognize successes in the storm
It is so important to acknowledge where team members were able to succeed despite challenges. Keep in mind that the ability to overcome obstacles and adapt to change should be recognized as accomplishments. Again, you can have a lot of fun with this! Perhaps a superlative award ceremony is in order.
Most likely to have hand sanitizer
The Got-Your-Back Award
Best Balancing Act Award
Most Creative Zoom Background
Perhaps you could ask team members to share what they appreciate about their teammates. Nothing beats a handwritten note of thanks; send a snail-mail letter of appreciation and encouragement to each employee.
Offer opportunities to learn from each other. Provide forums to provide best practices learned over the past 9 months in dealing with the virtual workplace.
“Hit the reset button. Whatever happened yesterday, forget about it. Get a new perspective. Today is a new day. Fresh start, begins now.”
~ Germany Kent
3. Set a positive outlook for the future
I don’t know about you, but I am ready to say good riddance to 2020 and approach 2021 with a fresh mindset. You set the tone for your team. Together, brainstorm what is possible in 2021 incorporating the lessons you’ve learned through 2020. Reevaluate your team’s goals and adjust them as needed. This is the opportunity to put aside the past year and establish a mutual optimism for the new year.
The end of the calendar year gives us a line of demarcation to separate the old from the new and lead into 2021 with intention.