Build great Teams – People management

End Of Year Status Check – A Case Study

End Of Year Status Check - A Case Study

In 2015, some very large companies announced they weren’t going to do end of year reviews any more. One small company decided these headlines were the excuse they needed to stop doing end of year reviews. A couple of years later, when I started working with them, the impact of not drawing a line in the sand once a year was being felt.

They use SMART goals and they check-in with their team several times a year, both of which are great. The challenge they had when I started working with them was trying to raise the bar overall. That’s what I’ll share with you in this article.

The Initial Situation – No End Of Year Reviews

When they dropped their reviews, they still kept their SMART goals and they also continued their feedback sessions throughout the year. At the end of year one, when they would have done a review, all was fine. Halfway through second year, they had the same goals, and they still held regular feedback sessions. The employees thought things were going well. The business owner wasn’t so happy because he wanted to stretch his team and raise the bar.

He didn’t know how to approach the team. Normally it would happen as part of the end of year process. Close out one year and review goals for the next year. He realized that with no formal line in the sand, it was difficult to find an opening to make changes that he wanted to make.

What We Did – Drew A Line In The Sand

When I started working with this business we looked at a few options. One option was to leave things as they were and work with him on making the changes he wanted to make. All that required was to help him communicate to the team, and update their goals. But we discussed why he’d dropped the end-of-year reviews and discovered that the process had worked well, and he’d dropped it out of laziness.

So he decided to start doing end of year reviews again because it made sense for his business. It was a good to have one time in the year to draw a line in the sand and see how things were going. For him, it was easier to set new goals or update targets, because everyone expected that as part of the process. He actually had all the pieces in place to make it work well – all he’d dropped was the final meeting. Looking back objectively it didn’t make sense for him not to do that final meeting of the year.

What We Did – Summary

The large companies that have dropped their end of year reviews aren’t going to stop caring about what their staff are doing. They’re not going to stop evaluating how things are going. They’re instead making the evaluation part of an ongoing cycle of regular feedback to see how things are progressing. In this scenario they believe there is no need for an arbitrary point in time to be the point at which a meeting happens to decide if things have gone well over the last twelve months or not.

The business owner I worked with, decided that for him that line in the sand was actually a useful marker. Maybe the large corporations can make it work, but for him, having a single point in time to measure how things are going is actually more helpful.

My Question To You

Do you do end of year reviews or appraisals? Do you combine them with ongoing performance feedback? If this is something you would like to discuss or would like some help with, contact me at You can also buy my book Accelerate to Team Success which is available as a paperback or on Kindle.


About the Author:

Nikki Faulkner photo Dr Nikki Faulkner founded Mulberry Bush Consulting to work with business leaders and their teams to make the 'People' side of their business as effective as possible. Mulberry Bush Consulting's specialty is helping small businesses who are new to having employees and helping businesses who are growing rapidly and increasing their employee-base at a rate that is creating a significant challenge.

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