What is a “Continuous Dialogue” and how do you implement it?

by Danique Geskus | Sep 13, 2023

‘Continuous dialogue’ refers to managers having ongoing conversations with their employees throughout the year. This methodology is often used as one of the tools to replace the traditional HR interview cycle with plan, performance and appraisal interviews. In a traditional appraisal cycle, goals are set at the beginning of the year, progress is evaluated during the year, and at the end of the year a review is made where a rating is given in the appraisal interview.

Through ongoing dialogue, managers and employees are in constant dialogue with each other about goals, development and career. Part of ongoing dialogue is “the good talk. These more formal conversations are a modern alternative to the traditional plan, performance and assessment conversations. Within the continuous dialogue cycle, good conversations are followed up with more informal 1:1 conversations between the manager and the employee. This structure ensures optimal follow-up for the established business and learning objectives from the good conversation.


Why companies are moving to continuous dialogue

More and more companies are revamping their HR interview cycle with the introduction of continuous dialogue. The main rationale is that the traditional cycle no longer fits the rapidly changing organization and both (HR) managers and employees experience too little added value from the current method of assessment. A comprehensive blog with the three main reasons for companies to revamp their HR interview cycle read here.

The move to continuous dialogue

For many organizations, the first step in revamping the traditional interview cycle is to implement ‘the new assessment’ and ‘the good conversation’. Two methodologies that deal with revamping the existing annual cycle and both are rapidly gaining popularity over the past few years. Key principles:

    • A conversation cycle consisting of short periods of usually one quarter.
    • In addition to evaluating, look directly ahead. In other words, planning goals for the upcoming period.
    • Goals, development and career are discussed.
    • Conversations are two-sided that include feedback from colleagues.
    • Assessment remains possible, but substantiated, transparent and fair.

Once the good conversations are set up, the next step is to actually move to continuous dialogue. You do this as a manager by following up on planned business and learning goals, discussing problem areas and celebrating successes in between good conversations, in, say, biweekly or monthly 1:1 meetings with your employee. That way you will achieve the desired results together faster.

The result of an ongoing dialogue

From research conducted by Gallup among companies that have implemented continuous dialogue, we know that one can yield tremendously positive results:

    • Companies that invest in an ongoing dialogue in which the manager and employee engage with each other on an ongoing basis see employee engagement increase by up to 280%.
    • This higher engagement is reflected in a 26% increase in the productivity of these teams.
    • A 41% reduction in voluntary employee turnover. Millennials and Gen-Z thus stay with these organizations longer
    • And employees who drop out with burnout decreases by an average of 62%!

For an organization with 150 employees, this results in time savings of 4,800 hours and up to savings of €170,000 per year. Want to know what this will save your organization in time and money? Download the business case.


How do you implement continuous dialogue?

The Learned platform helps you set up a continuous dialogue. Easily conduct effective development conversations and supplement them with tools for brief feedback moments and ongoing 1:1 conversations. Wondering what this looks like in practice? Create a free trial account experience it for yourself.

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