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5 year-end staff meeting ideas your team will actually enjoy

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It was a busy year, and if you’re feeling it, chances are, the rest of your team is feeling it too. In this article, we’ll share five year-end staff meeting ideas to help you and your entire team end the year on a high note.

If you’ve struggled to find time during the year to recognize your team members, an end-of-year meeting is the place to do it. A year-end staff meeting is also the perfect time to align the team on next year’s goals.

How do you run an effective meeting? Think about what you hope to accomplish in the new year: How can you greet the next challenge with confidence, energy, and enthusiasm?

How a year-end staff meeting can benefit your team

An end-of-year meeting is a chance to bring the whole company together to reflect on the highs and lows of the past year. It’s a chance to pat each other on the back for a job well done and look toward next year’s goals. The end of the year, just before the holiday, is a great time to energize your team for the year ahead. 

The benefits of a year-end staff meeting:

  • They offer a time for joint reflection.
  • You can collect feedback about the year or any specific processes.
  • They provide a team building opportunity. 
  • They provide transparency from owners, leaders, and management.
  • They provide an opportunity to thank the team for all they have done. 
  • They set the team up for success in the coming year.
  • They remind the team of why the work is important.
  • It’s a chance to celebrate wins together.

Year-end staff meeting ideas

So, what should you include in a year-end meeting? The anatomy of your year-end meeting will completely depend on the size and needs of your team. 

You may choose to lighten things up, focusing more on celebrations and team building, or you may choose to focus on gathering feedback and informing the team of what to expect in the new year. Try to make your meeting hybrid-friendly, accommodating and providing value for all employees, regardless of location or role.

Here are some year-end staff meeting ideas you might choose to include in your meeting agenda.

1. Tie status updates to the company mission.

This is an opportunity for complete company transparency. What went well, and what didn’t go so well over the course of the year? What progress have you made on achieving company goals?

What’s next? What do the owners or those in charge see for the future? What can the team expect going into the next year? Status updates like this keep everyone in the loop and prevent gossip from spreading. An update about where your business hopes to go in the coming year (and reassurance that you want your whole team with you on the journey) will provide a sense of security for your team, allowing them to comfortably enjoy their holiday. 

2. Celebrate wins (and the people who made them happen).

When talking about what you accomplished, make sure you thank and celebrate your team. Do this verbally, but don’t shy away from including something extra special for this meeting. 

You could buy lunch, desserts, bonuses, or small tokens of your appreciation. Keep in mind that the simplicity of the recognition doesn’t diminish its importance. Effective employee recognition provides a huge boost to team morale, confidence, engagement, and employee retention.

If you’re meeting in person, what about some decorations? Or are you meeting virtually? What about having a themed meeting where everyone where’s a hat, a certain color, or an ugly holiday sweater? 

Just because your team is remote doesn’t mean you can’t celebrate together. There are plenty of celebratory items you can have sent to your entire team, such as fancy coffee or tea, a bottle of wine or champagne, chocolates, balloons, flowers, gourmet snacks, etc.

Your team has been working hard all year long. This is your time to celebrate them and spark their dedication to the company before the new year begins.

A personalized leadership approach for each team member.

PI’s behavioral insights help leaders inspire and coach each employee in a way they truly connect with.

3. Reflect and gather feedback.

We’re big fans of consistent and continuous feedback. It’s how your team improves and strives to help each other grow—managers and business leaders included. 

While feedback is essential all year round, it’s incredibly important to reflect and gather feedback at the end of the year:

  • What went well?
  • What didn’t go so well?
  • What does your team hope will be improved upon for next year?

Make sure this section of the meeting doesn’t solely focus on the negatives, but gather general feedback about how the year went and how the business can improve its processes. The “what went well?” question is just as important. Take the time to reflect on the highs as well as the lows, and don’t forget to document everything that stood out to your team over the course of the year. 

Breaking down the team’s accomplishments not only makes the team feel good, but it provides insight into how success can be repeated, measured, or improved upon the next year. 

4. Plan for next year.

As you say goodbye to this year, it’s time to start thinking about the next. What does the business hope to accomplish? What does the team and each of its members expect or hope to accomplish in the coming year?

Taking some time to plan for the next year, or at least Q1, will set your team up for success when they return to work in the new year. Keep this light to avoid bogging down the entire meeting, but ensure you come out of the meeting with tangible ideas for the coming year.

5. Remind the team of your mission—and give them purpose.

An end-of-year meeting is the perfect opportunity to remind your team why they do what they do. After a busy year, your team is tired, and the day in, day out swing of things may be beginning to grind on them. A year-end meeting is an opportunity to step back and remind your team of their purpose. 

You can press the reset button and provide inspiration leading into the coming year. Reiterate your mission and vision. What do you deliver to your clients or customers? What is your business’s purpose? What problem are you solving for your customers and clients? How is each individual on the team a part of achieving that purpose?

Utilize a year-end meeting agenda to make the most of your meeting

Remember that an EOY meeting is still a meeting, so it needs to be effective. Even if your year-end meeting is designed to be a little more fun than your regular all hands meetings, it still needs a clear and transparent meeting agenda. 

A meeting agenda should clearly explain the nature of the meeting, its goals, and discussion topics. It provides a reliable structure so that the team knows exactly what to expect. A meeting that lacks purpose is a waste of everyone’s time, and no one needs their time wasted—least of all right before the holidays. You don’t want team members looking at the clock and wondering when they’ll be able to get back to work or go home. 

Follow meeting best practices to guide your agendas, and get the most out of the time.

Gathering the entire team together for a meeting can be stressful. Plan this meeting well in advance so that you’re not scrambling at the last minute. It’s important to balance the high level of information with employee recognition and a bit of fun. It is the end of the year, after all! 🎉

Marlo is a strategic leader and full-stack marketer with 10+ years of experience developing and leading teams. Outside of work, you can find Marlo in the Bay Area with her daughter, husband, and dog.

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