Manual for a Planning Meeting

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Planning meeting at the beginning of the year

Planning discussions are part of the conversation cycle. This annual cycle of interviews starts with the definition of objectives. This usually happens at the start of the year with a planning meeting, which is therefore also referred to as a objectives meeting.

The expectations of both parties are central during this conversation. You then make results and development agreements based on this.

You'll take stock later. You do this in the meantime with the performance review, which is also part of the interview cycle.

The difference is that you look here whether the employee is on the right track and if necessary adjust. Finally, you give the assessment during the assessment interview, usually around New Year's Eve. During the same appointment or shortly thereafter, you have another planning interview, after which the conversation cycle starts again.

Prepare objective interview

The objective interview requires good preparation from both parties. This reduces the chance that you make vague agreements or agreements that don't connect with the company and the employee. As an entrepreneur you can think in advance about the business objectives and the contribution that your employee can make to this.

- What output do you expect and how do you translate this into measurable objectives?
- Which (new) paths do you want to take with your company and what does this require from the employee?

The employee's input is important here, because the planning meeting is an equal conversation and therefore two-way traffic. In preparation he can already think about his role within the organization. He can take the job profile for this and ask himself whether this still fits in with practice.

If he has a personal development plan (POP), then he can review that again. Based on this, he can formulate points where he can further develop.

Structure planning discussion

You can go through the following steps during the interview:

Step 1. Opening

You can start the conversation with a brief explanation of the planning meeting. You also explain the purpose of the conversation. For example, you can indicate that you think it's important to make clear agreements with each other and that this conversation helps.

If necessary, explain the difference between this interview and the other interviews, such as the performance interview and the assessment interview. Finally, you indicate the approximate duration of the conversation.

Step 2. Formulate objectives

It's now time to put the objectives into words. You can start with the broad outlines by giving a preview of the coming year and the expected developments within your company and department.

You can then have the employee formulate objectives based on this. By having him do this himself, you put the responsibility in the right place. Keep in mind that the objectives match those of your company and are both challenging and achievable.

Step 3. Provide support

Also ask your employee if you can offer him a helping hand. Sometimes extra support is needed to achieve certain objectives. For example, the deployment of colleagues or following a certain course. If you can offer the right support, you increase the chance that he will achieve his objectives.

Make clear agreements about this and always follow them, so that you don't disappoint the employee. If you can't promise something directly, indicate that you'll return to it next time.

Step 4. Establish appointments

Always put the agreements on paper. Most organizations use a planning form for this. You then write down result agreements and development agreements. With result agreements you can think of the completion of projects or bringing in a certain number of customers.

With development agreements you can think of acquiring certain knowledge or developing skills and competences. Make these agreements SMART (Specific, Measurable, Acceptable, Realistic and Time-bound).

Step 5. Schedule follow-up appointment

Later in the year you check whether the employee has achieved his objectives. This happens first during the performance appraisal interview and then during the appraisal interview. Let us know when these discussions will take place, so that you can assume a clear schedule.

Of course you'll still inform between companies how things are going. However, the annual interviews are the formal moments around functioning and assessing.

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