What Is an End-of-Year Review? (With Tips To Help You Prepare)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published September 2, 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

It's important for employees to receive feedback about their performance so they can continue to meet their job expectations. An end-of-year review provides an opportunity to speak with your manager about your work performance over the year and the accomplishments you had in your role. It's important to prepare effectively for these reviews so you can have a productive conversation with your manager that can help you meet your goals. In this article, we define an end-of-year review, explain the typical elements of this discussion and provide some tips to help you successfully complete the review.

What is an end-of-year review?

An end-of-year review is an evaluation of an employee's performance that occurs annually. During an end-of-year review, an employee usually meets with their manager to discuss their work performance, goals and accomplishments. Many companies choose to hold end-of-year reviews in December, while others have them during a different time of the year. Annual reviews can help employees with their professional development and provide an opportunity for them to connect with their manager.

Related: 20 Performance Review Questions To Ask Your Manager

Elements to discuss in your end-of-year review

Here are some common elements of an end-of-year review that you may want to be prepared to discuss with your manager:

Achievements

During your end-of-year review, take some time to speak about your biggest work achievements over the past year. Before the meeting, look through your work calendar or emails to familiarize yourself with the work you did earlier in the year. Write some notes for yourself about projects you completed or any new responsibilities you accepted. While describing those achievements to your manager, explain why you're proud of your work in those areas. Reflecting on your achievements during an end-of-year review can help show your manager that you're a valuable employee who contributes to the company's goals.

Job responsibilities

An end-of-year review is an excellent time to have a discussion with your manager about your daily job responsibilities. Tell your manager if you'd like to work on new tasks to help with your professional development or career advancement. Similarly, if you feel you may be working on too much at one time, explain to your manager why it may be beneficial if they could delegate some of your responsibilities to other team members. You can also use this time to ask your manager if you could receive additional training to help with some of your tasks.

Improvement opportunities

You can show initiative as an employee by asking your manager about any areas where you may be able to improve your work performance. Your manager can provide constructive feedback that can guide you as you continue your professional development. Ask for specific examples of times when you could have done more to meet expectations so you understand clearly how you can improve in the future. You can also ask about broader skills where you can improve, such as communication or time management. This discussion can provide some helpful insight on how to meet your manager's expectations.

Related: How To Respond to Constructive Feedback in 7 Steps

Skills

Your end-of-year review may include a discussion of the skills or areas of your performance where you consistently excel. Ask your manager about your strengths as an employee to understand what they value most about your work. It's helpful to ask for specific examples of situations where you displayed your strengths so that you can continue to showcase those positive qualities. Understanding the skills your employer values can motivate you to keep performing at a high level and delivering your best work.

Career goals

Your end-of-year review is a good time to have a discussion with your manager about your future goals with the company. If you're happy to remain in your current position, set some goals related to your performance so you can continue to do your job well. If you're ready to advance to a higher position with the company, discuss that possibility with your manager. Ask if they know about any potential openings that may align with the goals you have for yourself. This shows your employer that you have a desire to advance in your career with the company.

Read more: How To Set Professional Goals for Career Advancement

Company goals

In addition to your own goals, ask your manager about the company's objectives for the next year to understand how you can contribute to those goals. You may ask your manager if they know about any organizational changes that may impact your job. This can help you understand the overall direction of the company and the importance of your own role. It can also help you determine whether your personal career goals align with the company's long-term plans.

Salary

It's common to discuss your salary with your manager during an end-of-year review. When you've finished speaking about your performance and your goals for the upcoming year, use the opportunity to ask about a potential raise. If your manager provided positive feedback in the review, ask if your work performance over the year makes you eligible for a salary increase. Speak confidently and prepare to support your request with specific examples that show why you deserve a raise. It's helpful to practice this discussion with a friend or relative to help build your confidence before speaking with your manager.

Tips for completing a successful end-of-year review

Here are some tips to help you complete a successful end-of-year review:

Prepare

Before you have your end-of-year review, it can be helpful to prepare some thoughts about your work performance. Consider your accomplishments, responsibilities and skills in your position and review your goals for the past year to determine whether you met them successfully. Some professionals find it helpful to maintain a work folder or notebook throughout the year to keep records of their projects and responsibilities. This can help you as you prepare to discuss your work performance with your manager.

Listen

During the review, make sure to listen actively to your manager in order to remember their comments and suggestions for your work. If it helps, ask your manager if you can take notes during the meeting so that you can review them later. While your manager is speaking, maintain eye contact and let them know you're listening by nodding or asking questions. Listening to your manager during your review can ensure you remember their feedback and help to build trust between you and your manager.

Related: What Is Active Listening? With Tips for Improvement

Provide specifics

While you're speaking with your manager, provide specific examples or details to support the points you make about your performance and accomplishments. When your manager provides feedback for you, ask for additional details so you clearly understand their evaluation of your performance. If your manager says something you may disagree with, respond positively and acknowledge their opinion. Once they've finished speaking, state your own opinion by providing specific examples to show why you may view the situation differently.

Follow up

At the end of the review, ask your manager if you can have a follow-up discussion to discuss your progress on the goals you set during the meeting. Based on your goals, you may want to meet again with your manager within the next month or in a few months. Having a meeting with your manager at least once every quarter can help ensure you keep progressing toward your goals. While an end-of-year review is a valuable discussion, it's important to continue meeting with your manager throughout the year to ensure you can continue to meet your job expectations.

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