Report: Effective performance, development and career conversations at work


This report considers the widespread belief that managers should have more frequent and effective conversations with employees about their performance, skills and career development. The paper suggests that effective performance and development conversations can lead to a stronger organisational culture.

Key findings:

  • There is strong academic consensus that effective performance and development conversations can lead to improved and sustainable organisational performance.
  • The conversations activate four main levers: alignment and goal setting; constructive feedback; agreed career development actions; and motivation through individual attention and exploration.
  • If these conversations are considered as manifestations of organisational culture, we are more likely to remember to do the things that we know reinforce any culture change, such as communication; training; monitoring; rewarding the desired behaviours; assessing relevant capability; and modelling by senior executives.

This report is authored by the Institute for Employment Studies principal associate Wendy Hirsh. It outlines to practitioners six routes to more effective conversations.