The connected conversation in practice

At 10Eighty, we think employers need to take a more employee-orientated perspective in terms of performance appraisal.

The annual tick-box exercise tends to be counterproductive and the best staff want something more personal and tailored to their role and aspirations. Why should employers want this too? Because connected career conversations can accelerate and align your workforce development, with dramatic impacts on engagement and productivity in any organisation.

In our recent successful Connected Conversations events we used values cards and skills cards to show how these two traits can be used in initiating meaningful career conversations with employees. Every employee is entitled to job satisfaction and career success – their employer will benefit from helping them achieve that success. Engaging with employees and committing to providing personal development and opportunities to meet career aspirations is the launchpad for a connected conversation.


An employee whose values don’t resonate with corporate values is unlikely to be engaged or motivated and give some insight from personal experience.

The connected conversation centres on what is really important to people, what motivates them. Values taken in conjunction with an overview of employee strengths provide the basis for reviewing both performance and career trajectory that builds on the reality of their working life.

To manage people well you need to understand what makes them tick; to make the connection between how the organisation can help them to achieve and develop as part of a high-performance team. This is a much more positive experience than the average performance review.

Schedule and track connected conversations

10Eighty’s career path software Fuel 50 offer is a powerful platform for leaders and managers to schedule and track connected conversations with their people throughout the year, with a concomitant impact on overall levels of engagement and performance. It also allows team members to create career plans and track progress towards achieving career objectives for a truly rewarding career.

Regular feedback is important to employees – younger members of the team prefer to work this way and workers on flexible contracts need the input and opportunity to engage with leadership. Employees in some roles will want and need feedback more often than others and managers will soon come to arrangements with each team member as to what works best in each instance.

There is also the obvious advantage that by checking in regularly with employees performance issues are dealt with promptly, problems don’t fester and team members can be more confident that they understand the big picture while feeling they have a voice in the process. In essence performance and productivity improve when feedback is not held back for the annual review and managers deal with issues as they arise.

The connected conversation allows managers to acknowledge where staff are performing well, where they can improve and provide guidance as to how they might build their skills and progress within the organisation.

Quality, relevant feedback improves employee learning and task performance. We think it is really important that all managers learn how to deliver effective and constructive feedback.

Michael is Chief Executive of 10Eighty. 10Eighty is a career and talent management consultancy that helps organizations maximize the contribution of their employees by ensuring satisfying jobs and careers for their employees. Michael is a Human Resources professional, having worked in the National Health Service, Insurance, Commodities and Derivatives industries. He has worked within the career coaching business for fifteen years, both managing a £7 million business and delivering bespoke, one to one career coaching. In the last 15 years Michael has run businesses that have helped 75,000 people make successful career transitions. He is a frequent commentator in the press/media, which includes a range of topics on “successfully managing your career” and talent management. Most recent media mentions have included BBC South, CNBC, Radio4, Financial Times, City AM, Financial News, Evening Standard, The Sunday Times, The Grapevine and HR Magazine, to name but a few. He writes a careers column for People Management, a blog for the Human Resources Magazine and is a regular contributor to The Thompson Reuters HR Portal. Michael is known as a thought provoking speaker in the HR industry. In the last 18 months, Michael spoke at the Careers Partner International Conference, NHS breakthrough conference, NHS North West Leadership Academy, London School of Economics, University of Westminster’s Talent Management Conference, ICAEW Finance Directors Conference, CIPD learning and development conference and CIPD branch seminars. He is also Chair of the CIPD’s Central London Branch. Additionally is a non executive director of Marshall ACM, an e-learning company and the Total Reward Group, a compensation and benefits consultancy. Michael plans to publish his book “The guide to everlasting employability” in the Autumn 2012. He has just launched an iphone app “careers snakes and ladders” and an online interactive version of the book in collaboration with Marshall ACM to coincide the launch of his new business 10Eighty. Michael has a degree in Economics, a MBA from Warwick Business School and is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development. He holds an accreditation from the British Psychological Society for the use of psychometrics. Michael has completed the Fairplace Internal Accreditation Programme, the training element of which is externally recognised by the Association for Coaching. Michael Moran was until January 2012 Chief Executive of Fairplace and a main board director of Savile plc, the career and talent management consultancy. Fairplace is part of the Savile Group, an AIM listed plc. The Savile Group was placed 16th in the Sunday Times top 100 small companies in 2010.

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Michael Moran – CEO 10Eighty

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