It’s that time of the year again, when every organisation is rushing towards a successful closure to a long, tiring period of 275 days of work. All organisational members – including managers, senior managers and organisation leaders, take a look back at the year gone by and assess how it has been for everyone. The primary focus of such assessment is to understand what was done, how it was done, and how much impact it had on the organisation – in order to make a better plan for the coming year.
Why a checklist?
Now, why a checklist, you might ask. End of the year calls for measuring and assessing process, performance and possibilities for the year ahead. Just like your personal to-do list for the New Year, every business owner needs to compile a checklist at the end of the year to review what happened in the past year and hence plan accordingly for the next year. Studies like this one show nothing works better than a checklist.
A comprehensive checklist helps you to:
- Review achievements against the set goals
- Assess if the competencies of your employees were optimally utilized
- Document every department’s progress as expected
- Set a plan for the upcoming year
- Ensure every employee is fairly assessed
- Understand how their accomplishments contribute to the organisational goals
- Ascertain the plausible reasons behind failures, if any, and how to rectify them
- And lastly, it helps you to define a robust operational process
The year-end checklist for every organisation
The checklist given below which is in no particular order, will help you assess this year and plan for the coming year:
1. Spend some time to review performance so far: This is probably the most important item on the year-end checklist. With just one more quarter to go, how are you poised to meet your annual targets? Our previous blog 7 Commandments of Motivation might help in case you need some motivation. However, the review is not just for the current year but also for planning the upcoming financial year. So not only check if you are well prepared for the appraisals this year but also plan your targets and talent requirements for the next year.
2. Restructure your business: This is a good time to look back at your current organisational structure and reassess its output. Is the current departmentalisation working for you? Is employee performance better under the current hierarchy? Like Diwali cleaning and rearranging your house, you also need to consider reshuffling your resources and bring about a new order in place. Because a redefined work structure is more likely to yield a better output than working is the same model continuously.
3. Get ready to define your annual budget: Budgeting is the most indispensable task, especially when the year-end is near. Every organisational function – from allocation, management to upgrading manpower, data and other resources, calls for a healthy budget. And what’s better than to end the year with a clear vision of what you need to change in the upcoming year?
4. Plan for an annual meeting: Annual meetings are nothing new for organisations. However, planning it much ahead could give you enough room to set the agenda and decide what you want to share with your stakeholders, staff and other organization members. Making such prior plans also influences your people to set their individual agenda for the meeting and look forward to a new direction from their leader/s.
5. Take care of unproductive operations: Come New Year, we are all faced with a standard question- how’s business? Of course the books say it all but what about those unyielding ventures and inactive businesses that have gone cold or have no prospect of generating fruitful returns? The end of the year calls for closing such operations so you can think afresh to introduce a new function with full vigour.
6. Update compliance related matters: Regulatory updates about your organisation, the labour laws, economic system of the country and any other legal matters are what keep your organisation functioning properly. And staying abreast of such matters before the year ends, will only help you and your staff from missing out on vital information. Arrange for an audit of all personnel files, legal documents etc. across all branches (if any) to check for any compliance issues, before you close all books for the year.
7. Review your client list: Just like you, your clients might also undergo changes throughout the year. Ensure that all information, data and details are updated. This helps you in two ways. One, you are in sync with their developments. And second, this gives you an opportunity to acknowledge their contribution and thank them for their yearly business.
8. Back up all data: Among all the technical tasks and fulfilling processes, most often than not, we tend to forget the small details at work – like backing up data and information files. Not that it’s a surmounting issue, but keeping your data backed up and organized on a yearly basis only makes things more structured.
9. Reboot yourself: Employees need holidays and so do employers. After a long, stressful year of manning and guiding the ship, it’s time to take a halt so you can refuel and think anew for the coming year. A short break that does not hinder your running functions, can help you reboot yourself.
And thus, we end the year on a stress-free note…
The last months of the year indeed make for a busy and maddening time for the entire organization. Being at the helm of it, it all comes down to the business leader/s to ensure that there is less panic and more order in the year-end activities. Once you have closed on tasks on hand and prepared well ahead for the last few months, may be you can indulge yourself and your teams for a little holiday cheer to keep the smiles going. After all, it’s the season to be jolly, isn’t it?
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Author Profile: Madhukar Kumar is co-founder of Yellow Spark. His speciality lies in unearthing people’s driving force. He is an IIM Calcutta alumnus and describes himself as a seeker who is driven by purpose, fuelled by passion, and accelerated by perspectives.