In these 4 steps you can replace the year-end interview with a modern HR conversation cycle

— 5 minutes read

For many companies, and with that for many more employees, the annual year-end interview is coming up. Although opinions about the use of the year-end interview are divided, many HR managers are looking for a new approach. But replacing the year-end interview is easier said than done. In this article we give you practical tips on how you can tackle this.


For many companies, and with that for many more employees, the annual year-end interview is coming up. Although opinions about the use of the year-end interview are divided, many HR managers are looking for a new approach. But replacing the year-end interview is easier said than done. In this article we give you practical tips on how you can tackle this.


Stop with the year-end interview

In our previous blog we extensively discussed the main reasons for stopping with the year-end interview. Hereby a brief recap of the main reasons:
– The high costs of the year-end interview: when you look at the time spent by all employees and managers and the costs of supporting departments and IT systems, the total costs on an annual basis amount to more than 1 billion euros.
– An annual assessment does not make your employees better: the way in which assessments are made is often outdated and incomplete. The result: frustration for the employee and manager, no substantive discussions and no concrete follow-up.
– An annual assessment does not contribute to the retention of your employees: the current assessment is often only focused on past performance and does not pay sufficient attention to the wishes and ambitions of the employee. This makes employees feel less connected to the company causing them to leave earlier.


Read more about ongoing talent management as a modern alternative method in this blog and why we believe that every company should switch to this methodology this year. But what exactly does this method entail? And how can you start with the first steps this year?


Talent management as a new way of working

We define talent management as making your employees better with the aim of increasing their contribution to the organisation and binding them to your organisation. Logically, this involves more than having a mandatory interview once a year. We step away from an old-fashioned assessment and switch to ongoing coaching conversations with employees in which the following elements are discussed.


1. Give employees insight into their performance through 360° feedback

One of the problems with old-fashioned assessments is that the assessment is only executed by the manager. This is perceived as time-consuming, but is also seen as one-way traffic, that falls short of the employee’s actual performance. Since it is the employee himself who delivers the work, he will also be able to make a useful assessment about this. The same applies to the opinion of direct colleagues. That is why we encourage you to work with 360° feedback. This not only gives a full insight into the performance of the employee, but differences in assessments are a perfect starting point for a substantive discussion!


2. Align the goals of the company with the goals of the employee

Speaking of old-fashioned working methods within companies, how often does it happen that the objectives of employees are set top-down without consultation? Unfortunately too often. Within talent management, company objectives are aligned with the objectives of the employee and these are determined together. Since they are the ones who have to realise the goal, they can provide valuable input about the relevance and feasibility of the goal. In addition, research by Gallup (2017) shows that aligning goals leads to up to 28% higher employee engagement in the company.


3. Look at the development opportunities per employee

To achieve the set goals, certain skills are involved. It helps to map the current range of skills of your employees and to look at where there is still room for improvement. Too many companies fail to do this by not including the development needs of employees in their conversations. Often only targets and KPIs are discussed instead of the soft and hard skills that the employee has had to demonstrate to achieve those targets. Our advice: make the development need negotiable and actively provide learning resources that contribute to that development. When an employee feels that he is learning something with you, the chance is much smaller that he will work for the competitor.


4. Make career perspectives open to discussion

You can generally express an average career path of an employee in 2 ways: 1. An employee wants to become better in his / her current position. 2. An employee wants to progress to the next position. Regardless of the chosen route, it is very important to properly map out the ambitions of your employees. By not discussing this and therefore not knowing it, you make a big mistake. It appears that in 93% of the cases that an employee takes a different job, this is at a different company. This while 2/3 of those employees would have wanted to stay if there had been sufficient substantive guidance from the employer (Rigoni, 2016). Discussion therefore leads to retention.


Get started with your talent management cycle

If you are still in a situation where you have a year-end interview and you want to switch to talent management. No worries, you don’t have to do everything in one go. Start small with, for example, a review based on 360° feedback. You will see that this leads to new insights that may immediately help you to formulate your goals for 2020. Gradually expand this and experience for yourself how modernising your HR conversation cycle will not only save you time, but will also lead to better results and more loyal employees.


It is challenging to organise these processes without software. That is why the Learned platform offers the possibility to digitize all these processes so that can oversee everything from 1 environment.


Are you curious how this works for your company? Request a demo here.

Curious how Learned can help?


Padualaan 8, 3584 CH, Utrecht. Nederland

(085) 0250097



Renew your review cycle

Digitise feedback and renew your conversation cycle

Structure employee development

Structure employee development with powerful tools

Encourage career mobility

Match employees with internal career opportunities

Introduce skill management

Start with skill management and HR analytics


Practical E-books that enable anyone to successfully implement talentmanagement


Useful research and articles about talent management

About us

Background about our team and the mission of


360° Feedback

Digitise feedback and make feedback relevant

Conversation cycle

Renew your conversation cycle

Development plans

Next generation personal development plans


Align strategy with goals

Learning management

The learning experience

Talent marketplace

Match talent with internal opportunities

Skill management

Measure and develop future skills

Hr analytics

Discover and analyse talent