Reflecting On The Past Year

It is that time again when we need to ponder the year that was. Was 2021 really the year you thought it would be? Was 2021 an “I don’t want to talk about it”, type of year and looking forward to a new year? If you have experienced huge successes at work or in other areas, that is great, but the greatest success for many of us is the fact that we endured and made it to the finish line.

If the past year has sabotaged your goals and resolutions for 2022, think again and look at all the negative’s you have endured and overcome and ultimately become a stronger more resilient individual. Reflecting on what we took from the past year is the perfect way to prepare and to make the next year better. As author Miguel de Cervantes once said, “to be prepared is half the victory”. Every experience, every moment is a lesson, and it is up to us to decide if we are going to “use” this experience and learn from it.

As employers, it is often a good idea to engage with staff and assist them with their planning for the year to come to make for a successful new year. Engagement on a personal level is not always possible and can take place as group engagement if need be. As a team leader, why not give each employee in your group a branded notebook or company branded diary, which can have tip-in pages with positive affirmations and quotes to motivate and encourage staff.

A workshop can be scheduled with the various groups to discuss each individuals’ feelings as to how the year went. It is a good idea to encourage discussion amongst the employees and to encourage honest feedback amongst them. Included in the tip in pages, can be a list of questions which need to be verbally answered, by each employee. This is similar to a performance review but can be done as a group and must be taken as a positive feedback and planning event, to make their working lives better for the next year. It can be a really fun “event” and staff can be provided with a branded T shirt, face mask, or another item of clothing or headwear, to capture the theme.

5 Questions to ask employees at the end of the year. Each person should answer all questions and be given the opportunity to speak and encouraged to jot down notes.

  • How do you feel the past year went? – this allows for problems to be addressed as well as successes for all employees.

  • Are there any areas for development or improvement that can be seen? - this gets everyone to think about their own personal improvement and that of the team too and to take ownership over their performance.

  • What would you like your team or yourself personally to do next year? – get employees to be specific, with both big and small ideas, as this will help to set specific goals.

  • What is your biggest challenge in your job – this is the opportunity for employees to verbalize roadblocks or challenges they may be experiencing. For example, remote working leads to new challenges and these need to be addressed.

  • What do you think we can do better to improve things for our customers/clients? – it is good for employees to report back on this as they may have had to deal with issues that others are not aware. These answers may help to drive priorities for the next year.

Once this event has concluded, why not take all the information gathered and to reinforce all the positive feedback, ideas and comments, print a seeded bookmark, seeded coaster, or branded packet of seeds, with a relevant message. These can be planted, and the employees will remember what was discussed and at the same time, do something good for the environment.

In conclusion and on reflection, Corporate Gifting this past year has not been quiet at all. It is evident that companies have realized the value of gifting clients and employees to show appreciation for their continued business and to reward staff for a job well done. Sadly, there have also been many gifts given to those who have lost loved ones to Covid. Companies have had to show care and compassion to both clients and staff who had to deal with very difficult times.

Gifting for those working remotely was evident this past year, in the gifting of technology items like headphones, chargers, anti-spill drinkware, screen cleaners, blue tooth speakers and employee care packs too. Employers were quick off the mark to make sure that staff were set up and able to work from home. As things began opening up, staff were back at work a few days of the week and they were provided with company branded face masks and hand sanitizers at their workstations and other “welcome back” gifts to make them feel comfortable.

If this past year has taught us anything, it has made us realize what is important, and how strong and resilient we are. As Jonathan Lockwood Hule says “Celebrate endings – for they precede new beginnings.”

Let’s agree to meet this time next year, same place to take a look at how 2022 went and what we have learned looking back. “Cheers to a new year and another chance to get it right”. – Oprah Winfrey

Thank you for your time and may Happiness and Love be the Gift you give not only to others but to yourself too.

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