June 30. It is a symbolic date as it marks the end of the financial year. The date also presents an opportunity for leaders to communicate with their employees about the achievements and challenges of the past year, and the priorities for the year ahead. It is a chance for the human voice of the leader to reward and recognise, or to call for new effort.
There are many ways to communicate performance and plans to employees. The size, location and nature of an organisation mean that recommending a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach is not possible. In one company, a CEO email might be just the ticket, while in another organisation a walk-around visit might be what is called for.
A leader’s personal message is an opportunity to show genuine commitment to the company and the people who work there. Good communication at this time can build support and create momentum. Poor communication can reduce commitment and damage morale. Leaders should consider what impact the message would have on them if they were the receiver.
Regardless of how leaders choose to deliver their personal message, here are some considerations:
- Link results to the longer term company vision, values and strategy.
- Provide specific examples of success.
- Frame results realistically. If the result was good but not great it is appropriate to focus on the good, while acknowledging room for growth.
- If it has been a successful year, focus on the achievements and specific activities that contributed to the success.
- Thank individuals and teams.
- Give credit for good results, and take accountability for poor performance.
- If performance has been poor, provide clear but realistic expectations as to what is required in the future.
- Provide an opportunity for feedback.