8 best practices for conducting a progress meeting

by Danique Geskus | Nov 17, 2023

Progress meetings, also known as performance appraisals, performance reviews or evaluation meetings, provide an opportunity for managers and employees to discuss work progress, set goals and exchange feedback. In this blog, we will discuss the basics of progress meetings and the best practices needed for successful implementation.


What is a progress meeting?

A progress meeting is a structured and regularly scheduled conversation between a supervisor and an employee to discuss performance, goals, development and expectations. The goal is to foster an open and constructive dialogue that contributes to employee growth and development and supports organizational goals. Here are some key points that characterize a progress meeting:

    • Regularity: Progress meetings should occur periodically, usually annually, semi-annually or quarterly, depending on the organization and the employee’s needs.
    • Goal-oriented: The conversation has clear objectives, such as evaluating performance, setting goals, identifying development needs and discussing career path options.
    • Two-way traffic: The conversation should be a two-way street, giving both the supervisor and the employee a chance to share their views and feedback.


Why are progress meetings important?

Progress meetings contribute to several important aspects of human resource management and organizational development:

    • Performance Improvement: By evaluating performance and setting goals, employees can be encouraged to improve their performance and grow in their positions.
    • Motivation: Encouraging open dialogue and recognizing accomplishments can increase employee motivation.
    • Development: These conversations provide an opportunity to identify development needs, such as training or mentoring, to help employees improve their skills and competencies.
    • Talent management: Setting long-term goals and discussing career opportunities can help retain talented employees and develop leaders within the organization.


Best Practices for Progress Talks

  1. Preparation: Both the supervisor and the employee should prepare for the interview. The supervisor should evaluate the employee’s performance and collect relevant documentation. The employee should reflect on their accomplishments, goals and any concerns or suggestions.
  2. A positive and constructive tone: Start the conversation on a positive note and emphasize the importance of collaboration and growth. Be honest and respectful when discussing both strengths and areas for improvement.
  3. SMART goal setting: Set specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound (SMART) goals. This helps create clarity and measure progress.
  4. Giving and receiving feedback: Give specific and constructive feedback. Use examples to illustrate your points. Be open to feedback from the employee and discuss how both parties can contribute to growth and development.
  5. Development plans: identify development needs and discuss how the organization can support the employee in improving skills and competencies. This may include training, mentoring or education.
  6. Documentation: Provide documented records of the conversation, including goals and action items discussed. This serves as a reference for future conversations.
  7. Follow-up: Schedule follow-up meetings to discuss progress on goals and ensure that development plans are implemented.
  8. Confidentiality: Respect the confidentiality of conversations and ensure that information discussed is shared only with relevant stakeholders.


Conducting progress interviews using Learned

Do you also want to get started conducting progress meetings but are not yet sure how to prepare for the meeting? With the Learned platform, you can get started right away with progress interview templates. These have already been used multiple times by more than 200 organizations to conduct many thousands of progress meetings!

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