Setting goals for 2015: The importance of recapping the year with employees

Involve employees in your strategic planning and you’ll have more robust learning and commitment to goals.

Recapping last year with employees is just smart business practice.  It communicates that everyone is important in achieving company goals.  Management has the opportunity to thank employees for their dedication and specific contributions, discuss important learning and set expectations for the year ahead.  Employees feel engaged, connected and valued contributors to achieving company goals.

As part of the process, ask for employees’ perspective—as the ones who carried out your strategies and worked most closely with customers—on what worked and what didn’t.  There will be good learning to share with the entire team.

It’s the perfect opportunity to have the whole organization on the same page in terms of priorities, goals, and expectations for the new year.

As Joseph Daly, a practice management consultant at Signator Investors, Inc., writes in “Taking Stock Of Your Business: Planning For The Next Year”:

“Every New Years, we dedicate ourselves to a resolution; improve our health, advance ourselves professionally, volunteer for charity. The same can be done for your [company]. If you have a business plan, take a look and see what goals you [set for last] year and the extent to which you’ve achieved or progressed toward those goals. Did you set out to develop a marketing plan and was it successful in driving more business for your [company]?”

Reviewing your top goals for the past year, from generating more client meetings to planning for succession, is essential in determining what your first steps should be in the new year.”

As the new year begins, there’s no better time to start planning again—this invariably means recapping the past business year—and deciding where to take your business this year, echoes Caron Beesley, a small business owner and contributor to the Small Business Administration’s blog,

“Conducting a holistic year-end review has meaningful benefits for every small business owner—not least of which is planning for and positioning your business for economic [prosperity] in the year ahead.”

Who better to involve than your frontline employees?

In a LinkedIn group for employee communications professionals, Internal Communications Best Practicesseveral discussed an essential element of the year-end recap: the CEO presentation to employees. Here are some of their ideas.

Natasha Kardamanova, internal communications manager at ITE Group Plc, asked what makes such a presentation successful.

Christina (Cameron) Chase, employee communications manager at Corvias Group, suggested:

“Consider eliminating a presentation, or instead of bullets, use a powerful image and just a few words on a slide. Have your CEO focus on one or two big ideas and just speak about that—what are the one or two things you want employees to focus on? Collaboration? Innovation? Whatever it is, use this as an opportunity to get them excited about it. Follow-up communications should support that in every way.

Jane Hare, a freelance video producer and scriptwriter, also weighed in:

“A quick recap video is a great way to summarize and communicate year-end successes and other facts and figures instead of having the CEO read them. We’ve created animations, such as moving words or photos of people or products over branded backgrounds, sometimes with existing soundbites, edited with high-energy music to engage and have impact. Then, have the CEO deliver the key messages as a presentation. Depending on content, the video could be repurposed internally or externally.

Kata Bors, internal communications manager at Heineken, shared:

“Besides the recap video … what worked for us is a short TED video .… Last time our CEO used one on collaboration and sense of community/family. It was about soldiers and their sense of community, endurance and devotion. It was very moving, everyone loved it, and of course after that our CEO explained why this video was so important for him, and what we could learn from it to the benefit of our business.”

Ben Burr, senior business manager of IT at AT&T, noted:

“Something that is often left out of presentations at that level is how they are clearing roadblocks for their employees …. Use this opportunity to provide employees insight into what’s being done to address the issues they have identified as important. This allows people to individually connect to what is shared rather than just absorbing accomplishments and plans.”

We hope these ideas give you food for thought as you plan your own New Years recap with your employees. Let’s make 2015 the best year yet!

For an in-depth guide to building a vibrant, everyday culture of workplace gratitude, download our FREE eBook,  “Transforming Your Workplace with Gratitude.” You’ll be amazed at how easy it is!
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