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An easy to use template for annual year-end reviews with your team

(BUSINESS) Work might be getting “done” this month, but one critical thing that should be on every boss’ to-do list is the end-of-the-year review. Save time and use a template, friend.

Reviews sit down

It’s that time of the year!

Holiday party time? No, bro.

Ugly Sweater time? No, sis.

Regifting time? No, Karen. (Really?)

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It’s end-of-the-year review time! Woot, woot!

Wait, wait… Don’t click off this story. We are here to help.

Year-end reviews are a critical time for leaders and direct reports. While it can seem challenging, it doesn’t need to be.

Rather than be all formal and “Boomerish” this review should be more of a conversation. And, it’s necessary to build rapport, show you are interested in your employees’ growth and your growth as a leader.

The end-of-the-year review is a time to reflect and show your employee “we’re good”, according to Claire Lew at Signal V. Noise. The review allows you and your direct report to sit down and discuss what went well and how you are a good cohesive team.

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Or, conversely, to consider if your working relationship isn’t a good fit.

End of the year reviews aren’t meant to be a formal rate yourself on a scale of 1-10, Lew says, it’s a time to consider how to make the coming year better, identify areas for improvement, and growth opportunities.

To build the working relationship and evaluate ways to do and be better in the coming year, Lew, CEO at Know Your Team, a software company to help leaders avoid being a terrible boss, says the questions should be different from those that are standard fodder for performance reviews.

Lew offers a template and sample questions to guide the conversation. She also says it’s likely that in the 1-hour to 1.5-hour time frame, all of the questions will not be addressed, but that is ok. It allows an opportunity to have more relationship-building conversations.

The conversation should be broken down into four areas:

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• Catching Up – 10-15 minutes
Questions should relate to holiday plans and end-year work wrap up.

• Reflections on the past year – 30-45 minutes
This is the opportunity for you as the leader to ask what you did well and could do better. Also, how your employee feels they did, where were they challenged, what did they learn, and how has your relationship grown together.

• Looking Ahead – 30 minutes
How do your employees want to grow in the next year? What areas do you, as the leader, need to give more energy?

• Takeaways and Next Steps – 10 minutes
A wrap-up of what you and your direct report(s) need to do in the coming year.

With a little planning and exaction you and your team will end the year on a good note and set the tone for 2020.

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Mary Ann Lopez earned her MA in print journalism from the University of Colorado and has worked in print and digital media. After taking a break to give back as a Teach for America corps member and teaching science for a few years, she is back with her first love: writing. When she's not writing stories, reading five books at once, or watching The Great British Bakeoff, she is walking her dog Sadie and hanging with her cats, Bella, Bubba, and Kiki. She is one cat short of full cat lady status and plans to keep it that way.

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