End of Year Reflection with a Purpose

End of year reflections can improve your team’s productivity, communication, and collaboration. Learn everything you need to know here!

Reflecting on your year, especially in a team setting, can be rewarding, if not a huge key to organization-wide success. Many organizations have these discussions toward the end of the year – or the start of the next year – to set better goals. These chats are also great for boosting employee engagement and productivity. Below, learn how you can conduct a personal and team-wide end of year reflection. 

Why are individual end of year reflections important?

Remember how, at the beginning of each year, you wrote down all the goals you hoped to accomplish? An end of the year personal reflection serves the same purpose. You’ll recognize all your successes from the year and go over your failures with a fine-toothed comb. Next year, you’ll be less likely to make the same mistakes – and more likely to repeat your successes. 

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How to do an individual end of year reflection

It’s time to reflect on this past year and see what you’ve done so you can set meaningful goals for the new year. Follow the below steps for the best possible end of the year reflection.

1Break down your year 

You should review your past year in quarters to start setting new year goals. First, take a look at your initial goals for the year. Then, review each main area of your life and how your work affects it. This includes your physical and mental health, career, salary, and personal and professional development

2List your highs and lows

Think about what your best and worst moments were this past year, and list three to four of each. This short list can help you take inventory and build a launching pad for next year. 

3Write down your motivation

You more than likely had a few highs this past year, and now it’s time to reflect on them. Think about the steps you took to reach these highs and what motivated you to get there in the first place. And then, ask yourself, what helped you get through your lows? Jot this down too. 

4Think about what did and didn’t work

Is there anything that worked well for you? Is there anything you wouldn’t do again? Think about what you need to do more and what you need to do less. 

For example, one of your team members may struggle to meet a project’s deadlines. In the past, you spoke with them but didn’t offer to help them or ask why they were missing deadlines. But now, you realize that didn’t work. So instead, next year, commit to holding one-on-one meetings in moments like this to get your team members where they’re going.

5Reflect on what stresses you out

It’s normal to become stressed out – your job, relationships, and personal life all take up plenty of time and need plenty of attention. Think about a time this year you felt especially stressed. What caused it? Think about what you did during those moments and what you can do to better relieve your stress next time.

6List what you learned

Between your successes and failures, you probably learned a lot this year. Or maybe you forgot about something and you’re now re-applying it to your career and life. Write down everything you learned and use it as a reference in the new year. This is a great way to keep building knowledge and being your best self – both at and outside work. 

7Write down what you’re grateful for 

Perhaps most importantly, you can’t forget about all the things for which you’re grateful. What were some of the best moments of this year? Did you get a promotion? Or maybe you got to work with the client of your dreams? After you list everything you’re grateful for, consider how you can build on them in the new year. 

Why are team end of year reflections important?

Before taking the leap with your team into the new year, you should spend some time reflecting on the past year’s good and not-so-good moments. A team reflection recognizes what does and doesn’t work for your team so that you can focus on your mission and vision. This also gives everyone a chance to share their feelings, thoughts, and concerns. That’s a great way to resolve conflicts and help your team feel closer and more connected. 

5 Great questions for the team to reflect on the past year

After you complete your self-reflection, it’s time to reflect with your team. Here are a few end of year reflection questions you can ask your team to help you build success in the future.

1What were the lows and highs of this year? 

Gather your team members and ask them to list their best and worst work moments of the year. This way, your team can discuss what they believe were their best successes and reflect on the disappointments. From there, you can all figure out how to keep doing what works and improve on your challenges in the new year. 

2What got us through the lows and motivated us to reach the highs? 

Ask your team what motivated them to reach their highs and how they managed to get through the lows. This will help your team recognize and reflect on the lessons they learned over the year. After all, when you do something once, you can do it again. And when you do something wrong, you’re more likely to do it right next time. 

3What worked well, and what didn’t work as well, this past year? 

This question can help you learn what you can do to better serve your team in the new year. You can use your team’s answers to figure out which management styles you should stick with and which ones are worth leaving behind. 

Admittedly, this is a question your team might feel uncomfortable answering out loud. In that case, anonymous feedback tools are your best friend. 

4What situation did you find the most stressful this year? 

Ask your team members which situations they found the most stressful, then brainstorm how you can better navigate similar situations in the future. This question can also give you the opportunity to identify other ways to support your team’s mental health

5What are we as a team most grateful for this year? 

Ask your team to decide what they loved most about the past year. It could be the launch of a new product or service. Or maybe everyone on your team came together to solve a big problem. Once you figure it out, go around the room and ask your team members to express their gratitude for one another. These deep, meaningful moments can lead to better relationships, which can lead to more effective communication and higher employee productivity

After everyone answers, ask them how you can help them carry this into the new year. Your team’s response should be the starting point for how you help you create a comfortable work environment next year.

Reflect back on your year with Fellow 

End of year reflections can help you grow your career and build a stronger work environment for your whole team. With Fellow, you can set OKRs for yourself and your team, give and get feedback, and take meeting notes during your end of year reflections. It’s the easiest way to lead your team right to success.

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