Performance Management

How to have and structure employee conversations to enable performance

Many managers struggle with employee conversations and don’t know how to have them. OpenBlend has outlined how to structure manager/employee conversations to enable employee performance using data from OpenBlend’s Data on Demand feature.


You’re probably aware of the benefits of managers having regular conversations with your employees, particularly that they:

  • Increase productivity and performance
  • Provide the opportunity to share feedback regularly
  • Give you a greater understanding of personal drivers and motivators
  • Enable you to gauge wellbeing
  • Greatly improve employee engagement
  • Reduce turnover

Employee conversations are a fantastic way for managers to build stronger teams. Unfortunately, many managers struggle with conversations and don’t know what to do to fix them. This is largely because they lack aligned objectives, don’t see the whole person, and happen infrequently.

A performance management tool helps managers and employees prepare for their one-to-one conversations, set discussion points, promote an environment for continuous feedback, and keeps one-to-ones efficient. By examining what our platform’s users are spending their time viewing and updating when they have these conversations, we get valuable insights into a people-centric performance management approach to one-on-ones.

Which is why we’ve outlined what is included in a typical OpenBlend one-to-one using data garnered from OpenBlend’s Data on Demand feature via Microsoft Power BI.

Sharing insight into why and how they’re included so that managers, employees, and the business can get the best results possible from their one-on-one sessions to enable employee performance and improve retention.

The data shows that on average during a one-to-one conducted by OpenBlend users:

  • 47% of the time is spent on objectives and actions

  • 33% of time is spent assessing individual drivers and motivators

  • 20% of the time is spent addressing wellbeing.


So, what key insights on how to structure an effective one-to-one can we learn from these findings?

Setting clear objectives

When we analyse the active features per session, we see that objectives/action setting and review is the largest component by far – and of this, the majority of time is spent discussing objectives.

We’re not surprised by the result - after all, there’s no point having employee conversations if you don’t hope to set and review priorities from it. But priorities shouldn’t just be some throwaway vague statement at the end, some random buzzphrase like ‘increase output’ or ‘approach things differently’ – instead you need to spend time in your one-on-one creating clear meaningful objectives that can be measured.

Measurable performance objectives will help to improve and guide your employees' performance, give them satisfaction in achieving their objectives, provide opportunity for continuous feedback and during your next one-on-one that employee will have a metric for measuring their performance. You’ll be able to build on their achievements and identify gaps that may have led them to miss their goals.  

Use one-to-ones to understand what motivates employees

Managers need to understand what motivates employees – that’s why, on average, around a third of the time spent in session is viewing and updating an employee’s Blend drivers, giving them visibility of the different factors that motivate the individual and help managers to see the whole person. 

Understanding that not everyone is made equal and that factors outside of our job description affect our work performance, is crucial for one-to-ones to make an impact. It’s not just about time spent in the office or professional goals – it’s about all the things that motivate and drive your employees to perform at their best, incorporating time spent with family, health and exercise, wellbeing, hobbies and interests, culture and so on.  

By allowing your employees to lead the discussion and talk about the things that drive and motivate them, you can drill down into their key concerns and have open, honest and productive conversations that lead to improved trust and better relationships between your managers and employees.  

Employee wellbeing should be a major focus

Employee wellbeing is vital to individual productivity, to the extent that, on average, 20% of the time is spent checking in with 3 simple questions that OpenBlend poses during wellbeing check-ins

  • “How happy are you?”
  • “How confident are you?” 
  • “How capable do you feel to manage stress?”

These coaching prompts help managers to tackle sensitive conversations with their employees and get to the root of what might affect their wellbeing. We’ve discussed before the impact of employee wellbeing on workplace and performance. When nearly 13 million working days were lost in 2018-19 due to stress, it’s prudent to cover wellbeing during one-to-one sessions

How can a people-centric platform enable performance?

OpenBlend provides managers and employees a platform for more continuous and effective performance management conversations. We believe that people centric employee conversations are key to driving productivity, boosting employee engagement and building a more meaningful connection between managers and employees

Are you struggling to have effective one-on-ones with your employees that actually make a difference for your business? OpenBlend can help. To find out more about how we enable performance, book a demo today or get in touch.

Browse the latest resources