What is a planning meeting and how do you approach it?

In a planning meeting, you set goals with your employee for the coming period. This conversation is not compulsory, it is something you can choose to offer. It is complementary to the performance review and an appraisal interview. Examples of goals include developing a new skill or bringing in a major new customer. A new skill in your business can allow you to respond to new opportunities or work more efficiently. A major new customer contributes to your business' turnover. Read how to approach a planning meeting in this article.

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What is a planning meeting?

In a planning meeting, you and your employee formulate their goals for the year together. A planning meeting is held at the beginning of the year. A planning meeting is part of the HR interview cycle. The interview cycle consists of a planning meeting, a performance review, and an appraisal interview.
During the appraisal interview, you discuss the progress made regarding the goals you have set. During the performance review, you assess whether your employee has achieved these goals and what consequences you will attach, such as a salary increase.


  1. Make sure your employee knows their job description and your company objectives.
  2. Ask your employee to think in advance about goals that fit the job and your company goals.
  3. Discuss your employee's proposal during the interview and finalise the goals together. For example:
    • A number of sales/services
    • A particular skill that your employee wants or needs to develop. For example, with a course or training.
    • A particular project, such as the opening of a shop.
  4. Make the goals SMART (Specific, Measurable, Acceptable, Realistic, and Time-bound). Do you want your employee to sell a minimum number of products or services? Then set the goal as follows: Employee sells X number of products within X time. In doing so, avoid an excessive workload. This is a form of psychosocial strain and you are obliged to prevent it.

Report for personnel file

Process the planning meeting in your personnel file. That way, you can look back at what you and your employee agreed on during the appraisal interview and performance review.

Employee handbook

Communicate in your employee handbook how often and when you have planning meetings and what you discuss in them. That way, your employees have clarity around the process.