The Start, Stop & Continue conversation: a modern approach to feedback

by Danique Geskus | Nov 15, 2023

Organizations realize the need for a more flexible, accessible and collaborative approach to employee feedback and development. One method that is gaining popularity is the “Start, Stop & Continue” conversation. In this blog, we will explore this modern approach and understand how it can contribute to a culture of continuous improvement within organizations.


The end of traditional performance reviews

Traditional performance appraisals have served for years as the standard method of assessing employees and determining their development needs. However, many organizations have come to realize that this approach has shortcomings. Often they are a one-way process, with the manager giving feedback to the employee without much room for the employee to give their own input. This can lead to defensive postures and non-productive discussions.
Therefore, more and more organizations have sought alternative approaches that emphasize frequent, constructive feedback, mutual understanding and cooperation between employees and managers. The “Start, Stop & Continue” conversation was created in response to this need.


A new approach: The “Start, Stop & Continue” Conversation

The “Start, Stop & Continue” conversation is a modern version of traditional appraisal and development conversations. The goal is to foster a feedback culture by enabling employees to regularly exchange feedback in a structured but informal manner. Rather than a one-time event, this conversational model is meant to be applied continuously.
The conversation form consists of three simple but powerful questions:

  1. What should the employee start with? This question invites identification of new initiatives, skills or projects the employee should embark on. It emphasizes growth and development.
  2. What should the employee stop doing? Here we look at habits, behaviors or activities that are no longer productive or relevant. It emphasizes the need to correct unwanted behavior.
  3. What should the employee continue with? This question focuses on the positive aspects of the employee’s work. It encourages them to keep doing what is going well and adding value to the organization.


The benefits of the “Start, Stop & Continue” call

This simple conversation model offers numerous benefits for both employees and managers:
Frequency: Instead of annual performance reviews, the “Start, Stop & Continue” conversation allows organizations to continuously collect and adjust feedback, providing current and relevant insights.
Mutual Engagement: Employees have the opportunity to share their perspective and feel heard. This increases employee engagement and ownership of their development.
Positive focus: Starting with what is going well encourages and motivates employees. This fosters a positive work environment and reinforces a focus on strengths.
Structured approach: The three questions provide a framework for the conversation, which adds structure and consistency to the feedback process.


The “Start, Stop & Continue” conversation in practice

To effectively implement the “Start, Stop & Continue” conversation, it is important to ensure that it becomes an integral part of the corporate culture. This means encouraging open communication, creating a safe space for feedback and training employees and managers in effective conversational skills.
In addition, it is critical to use the feedback gathered during these conversations for actual development. This can range from providing training opportunities to rethinking business processes.
In short, the “Start, Stop & Continue” conversation is a modern approach to feedback and development that is responsive to the changing needs of organizations and employees. It fosters a culture of continuous improvement, mutual commitment and growth. By embracing this approach, organizations can help their employees reach their full potential and adapt to the rapidly changing business environment. It is time to leave behind the old performance reviews and adopt a more dynamic and effective approach to feedback and development.


Implement Start, Stop & Continue with Learned

Learned can help your organization implement the “Start, Stop & Continue” conversation and build a culture of feedback and growth within your organization. With easy-to-use tools and templates for conversation management, feedback collection and development planning, Learned offers an all-in-one solution to support your employees in their growth and success.

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