The Best End-Of-Year Staff Meeting Ideas

Use these tips to close out the year with a meeting that perfectly balances reflection and motivation.

In just about any good book, the last few lines are just as gripping (if not more) than the words leading the first chapter. Think of your favorite movie too—the final scene leaves you excited and waiting for a sequel. The same idea goes for the last meeting of your work year. The year-end meeting is the grand finale of all work meetings, and it should leave your team members excited for next year.

When the end of the year is approaching, you might be looking for a creative way to wrap things up and motivate your team to finish strong. Below, you’ll find some tips for planning an impactful and unforgettable year-end meeting.

What is a year-end meeting?

A year-end meeting is an opportunity for you and your team to review the past 365 days. During this meeting, which takes place toward the end of the calendar year, you’ll celebrate everyone’s accomplishments and identify opportunities for improvement. You’ll also announce key goals for the upcoming year—during a year-end meeting, the future is on the table too. Your objective is to encourage your team and get everyone on the same page as you enter the new year.

Benefits and purpose of year-end meetings

Your annual year-end meetings are the time and place for reflecting on the past and harnessing excitement for the future. Here are some of the many reasons you should consider adding a year-end meeting to your team’s calendar.

  • Reflecting on the past year. Year-end meetings are an ideal time to evaluate the accomplishments and setbacks within your organization over the past year. By examining what worked and what didn’t, you can make informed decisions moving forward and point your team in the right direction for the future.
  • Planning for the upcoming year. During your meeting, you’ll set specific goals and strategies for the 365 days ahead. You can create a roadmap for your team to make sure everyone is aligned and knows their role in achieving your shared goals. The result is a vision for your team to work toward, along with insights into your organization’s larger plans. 
  • Discussing and encouraging growth. Year-end meetings are a great time for team members to share the successes they celebrated and the challenges they faced throughout the past year. They’re also ideal for considering your team’s feedback and encouraging them to learn and grow from their experiences. 
  • Celebrating achievements. Year-end meetings give you the opportunity to highlight some of your team’s many accomplishments. From your sales team setting a record to a team member leading their first project, there’s no limit to the achievements you can recognize. Doing so shows that you’re excited when your team members win, and this can motivate them to do bigger and better things moving forward.

Celebrate achievements and ignite enthusiasm for the year ahead

Discover innovative ways to conduct reviews, celebrate team wins, and set exciting goals for the future during your meetings by using a tool like Fellow!

8 year-end meeting best practices

To take the guesswork out of your planning and hosting, consider these eight productivity tips for year-end meetings.

1Use a meeting agenda software

New Year’s resolutions come and go, but if there’s one thing that leaders are always looking to accomplish, it’s streamlining their most tedious tasks. Meeting agenda software can make planning and organizing your year-end meeting much easier. For instance, Fellow’s meeting productivity software comes stacked with collaborative meeting tools that simplify preparation while increasing the impact of your meetings.

Fellow’s Meeting Guidelines feature makes it easy to view everyone’s schedule so you can find the best day and time to host your year-end meeting. Once the date is set, Fellow helps with even more behind-the-scenes work. Use Fellow’s AI-powered features to create a detailed, relevant year-end meeting agenda, then send out your invites. When the meeting starts, Fellow’s AI transcription feature will record and transcribe your meeting. This eliminates the need for note-taking and allows everyone to stay focused and engaged during your meeting.

When you need to assign action items, Fellow allows you to seamlessly track these tasks so everyone is clear on assignments and priorities. You can see your team’s progress and follow up on tasks as necessary. This way, you can stay on top of your team’s many moving pieces and make sure no task falls through the cracks. 

“The best way I have found to stay on track is to have a detailed agenda with ample time assigned to each item listed, and an assigned ‘time keeper’ in the group to watch the clock and keep the team on track. Free-flowing meetings can be fun if you are brainstorming, but your year-end planning meeting requires much tighter management.” — Theresa Callahan, Talent Management Consultant for Managing for Performance

2Review goals

The year-end meeting marks a significant checkpoint for your organization. Namely, it’s the perfect time to revisit the goals and targets you set at the beginning of the year. Start your meeting with a conversation about these objectives. You and your team should be proud of all the work you put toward accomplishing your goals while identifying any adjustments you need to make.

With Fellow’s Objectives tool, you can view your team’s objectives and key results (OKRs) and track everyone’s progress throughout the year. This means all the information you need for the review portion of your year-end meeting is at your fingertips, with no extra work required.

3Discuss lessons learned

Not every objective your team took on during the year will have gone as well as you’d hoped—and that’s okay! Your year-end meeting is a great opportunity to pull out the lessons from those situations. Identify the challenges that slowed or halted your team’s progress, then figure out how you can prevent those problems in the future. This way, you and your team get a better understanding of what’s needed to increase your chances of success in the new year.

4Leave time for open discussion

Give your team members time to reflect on and share their thoughts about the past year of work. Opening the floor to your team members to share helps you get a complete picture of the work being done within your organization. With this information, decision making—especially as a group—becomes easier. Open discussion also fosters a sense of involvement among your team members and reinforces that you value everyone’s input.

5Celebrate accomplishments

A little celebration can go a long way, and no year-end meeting is complete without some time to recognize and celebrate your team’s accomplishments. Highlight both individual and collective achievements that happened throughout the year. Your goal is to send your team off into the next year with a healthy dose of positivity.

6Create new goals that align with your organization’s strategy

During the last few weeks of the year, many organizations determine their vision for the following year. Creating goals for your team that align with your organization’s new vision can ensure your team is working toward this goal. The year-end meeting is a perfect time to do exactly this. You’ll give your team members a sneak peek into how they’ll further contribute to your organization’s progress next year.

7Ask for feedback

What better way to show your team members you value their opinions than by asking for their feedback? Whether it’s about the year as a whole or the year-end meeting itself, make a point to ask your team members for their honest input. 

With Fellow, you can easily gather feedback from your team members. You can use pre-built templates to get ideas for useful, thought-provoking questions. Fellow also allows team members to submit anonymous responses, thus encouraging more honest opinions.

8End on a positive note

To end your meeting, spark motivation among your team members and help them feel excited to start a new year with your organization. Give your team members a verbal pat on the back by once again acknowledging and appreciating all their hard work. Whether you conduct a team-building exercise or lead your team in a united cheer, make a point to end your meeting positively. How you end your meeting can set the tone for the next year, so wrap things up with tons of good energy in the room.

Free year-end meeting agenda template

It’s never too early to start planning a year-end meeting. In fact, the earlier you start, the more time you have to make it special and finish off the year with true excellence. Use Fellow’s year-end meeting agenda template to plan a productive, memorable year-end meeting,

This template comes with structured ideas, so you can use it as-is or as inspiration to build out your own customized agenda. Either way, everything you want to cover will be thoughtfully and strategically included in your meeting.

Parting advice

Effective year-end meetings are more than a recap of the past year. The best ones include a touch of nostalgia, a healthy dose of celebration, and a heap of enjoyment. It’s not just about the past, either—a large part of this meeting involves inspiring and uniting your team for the future.

You know your team members better than anyone, so maximize elements that make them feel appreciated and motivated to accomplish great things next year. Fellow has you covered with all things meetings, and the last one of the year is no exception, so get to planning!

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About the author

Shayna Waltower

Shayna Waltower is committed to creating accurate and engaging content while presenting information in a way that makes complex topics easily understandable. In her contributions to the Fellow blog, Shayna applies this concept to productivity by presenting leaders with practical strategies for enhancing effectiveness and streamlining operations.

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