What is “The Good Conversation” and how do you implement it?

by Danique Geskus | Sep 27, 2023

Starting The Good Conversation (or Continuous Dialogue) is an important HR issue at many organizations. After all, a Good Conversation between manager and employee helps increase employee performance, development and engagement. But facilitating The Good Conversation in practice is a challenge for many HR managers.


What is “The Good Conversation?

What is the good conversation? The Good Talk is a methodology that is rapidly growing in popularity and is being used by organizations to replace the traditional HR interview cycle, or Performance Management Cycle, consisting of a plan, performance, and appraisal interview. In our previous blogs, we covered in detail the 3 main reasons to really revamp your traditional HR interview cycle now and why simply discontinuing your review is a bad idea. In this blog, we will elaborate on a methodology to accomplish this called “The Good Talk.”

We define the good conversation as the conversations that replace the plan, performance, and assessment conversations between the manager and the employee. In effect, then, a “good” conversation is a replacement for the traditional HR interview cycle. The main goals of the good conversation are to increase employee engagement and job satisfaction, improve employee performance and encourage the employee to continue to develop.


What are the characteristics of “The Good Conversation” methodology?


1. The frequency of calls is higher

Whereas the traditional HR cycle involves a cycle that includes three conversations: plan, performance and assessment conversations, in practice “the good conversation” often involves a cycle of four conversations. These often coincide with the quarters.

2. The “Good Conversation” is the plan, evaluation, and assessment conversation in one

Whereas in the traditional HR conversation cycle there is a clear distinction between the three conversations, in the methodology of the good conversation these three conversations are merged into one conversation. A “good conversation,” then, involves both evaluation and looking ahead.

3. The good conversation addresses a wide range of topics

Good conversation is used to address a wide range of topics. Consider: performance (the goals), the employee’s sustainable employability, personal and professional development, and career aspirations. Because many organizations already work with quarterly goals, the good quarterly conversation makes it possible to integrate your conversation cycle about goals, development and career with your operations. Curious about the full list of topics? Download the Eguide and view the list of the 32 most frequently asked questions in ‘The Good Conversation’

4. The good conversation not only looks back but also forward

One of the main differences from the performance and assessment interview is the focus on looking ahead. Evaluating the previous period is important and should certainly take place, however, only lessons can be learned from it. Change is no longer possible. All the more important to look ahead immediately and flesh out business and learning goals for the period ahead.


Example of a “Good Conversation”

So the good conversation can consist of a broad scale of topics. One talking point that appears in almost all Good Conversations is employee performance. Performance is often discussed by evaluating both the employee’s business and learning goals. In addition, the employee’s skill gap is increasingly being considered. This not only looks at development but also at sustainable employability. Curious about the full list of topics? Download the Eguide and view the list of the 32 most frequently asked questions in “The Good Conversation.
For inspiration, we have added below an example of The Good Conversation based on the relevant skills from the employee’s job profile. Using this tool, both the (HR) manager and the employee can give direction to the employee’s development within The Good Conversation.


Assessment and the good conversation

A common misconception is that there is no room for judgment in the good conversation. After all, appraisal continues to be required as input for salary and/or promotion. However, within the Good Talk methodology, assessment takes place on an ongoing basis. This falls under “The New Assessment” It is further up to the organization how they want to establish this assessment. A common comment that scoring is perceived as negative has been debunked in a Gartner study. Only how the assessment is assigned affects how the assessment is perceived. Relevant assessment criteria are thus essential. Why abolishing assessment is not necessary read here.

The best practice is to evaluate in every “good conversation” and also attach a score to this evaluation. So the evaluation can be based on the achievement of business goals but also on the behavior and expertise the employee has shown based on skills and competencies.

By evaluating each good call and averaging the four evaluations at the end of the year, the evaluation does not come as a surprise to the employee and is concretely substantiated throughout the year.


Benefits of “The Good Conversation”

A study conducted by Gallup on revamping the HR interview cycle and “the good conversation” showed tremendously positive results. Among other things, Gallup saw an increase in employee engagement of up to 280%, an increase in productivity, a reduction in employee turnover and a decrease in burnout. Wondering how much this will save you in time and money? Download the business case.

In summary, the good conversation is a methodology for revamping the traditional HR interview cycle. With the main goal of creating up to four good conversations a year between the manager and employee about goals, skills, development, sustainable employability and career, among other things.


How to start “The Good Conversation”

At Learned, we believe that continuous dialogue is the key to success. To achieve a continuous dialogue between manager and employee, you need a modern hr cycle on the one hand, and user-friendly software that empowers your cycle on the other. So create a free trial account for Learned today. Experience for yourself how to get started with ongoing feedback moments, short check-ins and The Good Talk.


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Chart low and high performers with objective evaluations

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