Everyday Conversations


One task that creates anxiety amongst managers and employees is the end of year performance review and a few years ago we were in the same position. We decided to abandon the rulebook and start again. We aptly named our new performance framework ‘Everyday Conversations’.

With change, there is sometimes hesitation but at IQ-EQ we are great believers that if it is not adding any real value then we need to rethink our approach. The old method was no longer improving performance in fact it was having the opposite effect. We were looking backwards at the past twelve months instead of looking ahead. Everything is in real time now so why should something as important as people’s development be retrospective instead of forward focused.

Why the need to change?

As a global organisation, teamwork is key and the old approach encouraged people to compete against each other rather than working together.

Now it is about career growth, learning and developing both personally as well as professionally. Our managers have regular catch ups with their teams, there is more frequent dialogue, more open and honest conversations as neither party has to worry about end of year ratings. Instead, we are focused on the future. We have seen people’s careers develop much faster and that’s because our people are driving their own careers and grabbing opportunities.

Everyone wants to do a good job and we trust our people to do so. At IQ-EQ it is about empowering our people to take control and drive their own careers in a safe and supportive environment. We appreciate and acknowledge everyone is different and we know that everyone is capable of developing; it’s just a question on finding their strengths and tapping into their unexplored potential. 

Employee Feedback - Helen Baxter, Head of Talent Management

Before we introduced Everyday Conversations, it was important to take some time to reflect on our current process to understand what we wanted to achieve going forward. We spent time listening to Line Managers and our people to understand what they did and didn’t want or like about the current appraisal process and what would benefit them in the future.

Here’s an insight into their feedback:


  • Talking to their Line Manager about the work they had on their plate
  • Having the opportunity to discuss their career development and future opportunities
  • Receiving recognition in real time for doing a good piece of work
  • Celebrating success


  • Filling out lengthy paper forms that no one was going to read again
  • Being chased to up load a form on to the system
  • Looking back and dragging things up from nearly 12 months ago
  • Spending hours writing objectives that were no longer valid at the year end
  • Being given a rating that was not motivational or seen as fair
  • Having half yearly conversations on weaknesses and what had not been achieved

We listened to what they had to say. We threw out the rulebook and created Everyday Conversations.  It was important to spend time listening to our people and focus on what they wanted. It has been a relatively smooth transition and the majority of our people have seen the benefits and embraced the new process. 

If you are asking the question, do all our Line Managers do this well? The honest answer is no. With every new concept, there is always a period of adjustment. If you wait for perfection then progress does not happen. What is important is this new process is a lot less painful and more empowering.  I believe with our on-going support, educating them on the benefits and supporting from the top we will get there!

At the end of the day, we have let go of a centralised process that adds no value and not be afraid to empower our people to do the right thing.

The feedback we’ve received so far is that it’s liberating and they are having more meaningful conversations and that’s what’s important.

Stacey Withe

‘I regularly catch up with my direct reports to discuss their career goals and performance.  Having frequent meetings means that we are always on the same page and there are no gaps in expectations from either side.

The objectives we set are reviewed regularly to ensure they remain current and fair.  Everyday Conversations is a far more effective way to appraise your team and also for them to feedback to me’.

Stacy Withe, Director, Funds & Institutional, Jersey

Dee reflects on the concept of being a  ‘Connector Manager’. The concept of the connector manager came from research to help find a better way for managers to develop their people. Read more.

Dee O'Malley, Talent Officer, Isle of Man