Continuous Dialogue

The modern interview cycle is increasingly based on a format that HR professionals commonly refer to as "continuous dialogue. Managers periodically have a 'good conversation' with each employee. These conversations are then called 'development conversation', 'annual conversation' or 'progress conversation'.

During these (relatively informal) conversations, a wide range of topics can be discussed - depending on the needs of the employee and the manager.

Continuous dialogue versus planned approach

The main difference from the "planned approach" or "classic" interview cycle - with, for example, a goal interview and an appraisal interview - is that the ongoing process of conversations in a continuous dialogue has no beginning and no end. Each stand-alone conversation is followed up again and again by a conversation based on the same format that builds on the previous conversation. This conversation model is currently gaining popularity because of its simplicity and flexible deployment.

Design of continuous dialogue

The format of the continuous dialogue is different from the "performance interview" that you may remember from the past. This conversation often took place at a fixed time during the year for everyone. The format of such a conversation was long, with many mandatory (and sometimes unnecessary) topics.

The development talks, inspiration talks or progress talks from the continuous dialogue are more loosely organized. They are often scheduled over the course of a year with different employees, so that a manager does not have to have the conversation with everyone at the same time, but at a time that seems logical for all parties. Common practice is to have such a conversation with everyone at least once a year, or as much more often as is desirable. This places much less of a burden on already busy schedules. The number of topics discussed is limited to what really matters. The agenda is largely determined by the participants each time. The initiative for the discussion lies with both the manager and the employee.

Employee focused

Initially, this set-up was mainly used in production-like environments, but it is now 'blowing over' to other types of organizations and institutions. The "good conversation" with genuine interest takes center stage, rather than the obligatory fill-in-the-blanks exercise of topics related to the working relationship. Employees who need more support are addressed more often.

The less 'format' you offer as an organization, the less grip obviously for a manager to shape a good conversation. So this also requires more conversation technique from managers. Contact us if you are curious about the possibilities for implementing a 'continuous dialogue' within your own organization. We are happy to help you on your way!

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