By Nicole Martin
As the year comes to a close, it’s a great time for leaders to reflect and get a view of the bigger picture. This introspection, however, should not solely focus on leadership’s own thoughts or data found in reports. To truly assess the highs and lows of the year, leaders should seek out and listen to the voices of their team members. Doing tasks day-in and day-out, employees can help provide a more accurate perspective on what’s worked and what hasn’t over the last 12 months, so that organizations can shape more focused and effective strategies for the coming year.
As December draws to a close, I recommend conducting an annual reflection as part of a year-end team review and new year planning. This can be done as part of a year-end performance review process or as part of a team building event. It is important to emphasize why this exercise is valuable so it isn’t viewed as more work to be done.
Read on further for examples of the types of questions that will help you gain insight on growth driving topics like efficiency of processes, clarity of directions, motivation, employee wellness, and more. You can pick a few from this list or have employees self-select questions that stand out to them, but keep in mind that using all of these questions would be overkill!
Questions to Ask Your Teams to Plan for a More Productive New Year
- What were the top three highs and lows of the year?
- What enabled and motivated us to reach those highs?
- What obstacles led to the low points and how did we navigate around them?
- What strategies worked well and which ones did not?
- Where did you spend most of your time and energy?
- What caused us stress over the last year? How can we address it better in the future?
- Thinking back, what was a moment when you were proud of what you and our team accomplished?
- What was a challenge or failure you think we can learn from?
- What were some of the major milestones we experienced this year?
- What did you hope to achieve this past year? Were you able to do so?
- Were you able to sharpen any skills this year? If so, what and how?
- What motivated you to get your job done?
- What can I do to make your job more enjoyable and productive?
- What can the organization do to better help you meet our goals?
- Where has management helped or hindered your work?
- What do you feel are the company’s main drivers of success?
- Are you comfortable with the corporate culture? Are there areas we can improve upon?
- How can we make our organization more inclusive and diverse?
- What is your favorite part about working for our company?
- What do you hope to accomplish over the coming year?
Diving into these questions will engage employees in a deeper conversation about the team’s wellbeing and how it works together as a unit. This action will also provide valuable insight on what your team members view as successes, failures, motivators, and impediments. Such reflective conversations can provide powerful information to help the organization boost efficiency, productivity, and employee retention – all things every business could use during this tumultuous time.