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Performance conversations

Employees and managers each play an active role to ensure performance conversations happen, and are successful. 

Typically, your manager will schedule your performance conversations as a series of regular check-ins that culminate in a final year-end overview. Along the way, you will be invited to discuss your career interests and aspirations, and seek feedback on your performance. 

If you are new to UBC or have recently come under a new manager, don’t hesitate to ask your manager about the process around probation, team and individual goal setting, check-ins and the annual overview process.

Performance conversation cycle

Performance conversations will generally contain the following activities:

  • Setting performance and development expectations aligned to unit and team goals. 
    Aligned to the role, desired outcomes, level of experience, and job classification.
  • Agreeing to performance, development, and aspirational goals.
    Relevant to role, responsibilities, objectives, interests, career aspirations and feedback received.
  • Making time for regular check-ins about overall wellbeing, goals, learning and teamwork.
    Recommend- at minimum- one regular monthly check-in to build relationship and discuss important updates, goal status, important feedback and learning objectives and outcomes.
  • A dedicated Career Conversation.
    UBC supports career satisfaction and resiliency. Employees are encouraged to engage in at least one career focused conversation with their manager and align developments goals to support their growth. 
  • Reviewing performance and learning outcomes against agreed-to goals and expectations.
    An opportunity to reflect on accomplishments, learning, and actual versus desired outcomes.

Performance conversation principles

UBC strives to cultivate the conditions where employees can thrive and grow. When it comes to performance conversations, adhering to a few important principles can enhance the experience for everyone.

  • Strengths-based. Look for the best in others as well as yourself.
  • A coach approach. Be curious and listen actively.
  • Shared learning. Recognize there is an opportunity for everyone to learn something new.

Phase 1: Prepare for the performance conversation

Enhance your performance conversation by working through the following preparation questions:

  • What would make this a meaningful conversation for you?
  • What feedback or insights are you hoping to obtain?
  • Are you meeting in person or virtually? How can you optimize the meeting space?
  • How are you doing? What would you like to share with your manager? (goal updates, wellbeing, teamwork, remote work, etc.)
  • What aspects of your performance and work do you hope to discuss?
  • What are you most proud of in terms of your technical and interpersonal achievements?
  • What challenges have you been facing, and how are you managing?
  • What progress are you making toward your goals?
  • How do you feel about your collaboration with others?
  • What resources do you need to be more effective in your role?

Phase 2: Have the performance conversation

The Connect, Open, Explore and Close (COEC) conversation model supports effective learning conversations of all kinds. The approach provides employees and managers with a structure, questions and prompts and can be easily applied to your annual and ongoing performance and development conversations.

Phase 3: Learning and reflection for self-development

Enhance your next performance conversation by working through the following reflection statements:

  • What I most appreciated about the performance conversation was…
  • What I learned about myself, my manager and/or my work was...
  • The aspects of the conversation that were challenging involved…
  • My learning edge is…
  • What will I be sure to remember for our next meeting…


If you have questions or concerns about the performance review process, please ask your manager, or if you need additional support, contact your HR Advisor.

Supports for managers

If you are a manager or people leader looking for support for teams, including tools to assist with having performance conversations with your staff and the 'Intro to Managing Underperformance' Toolkit, view the Staff performance conversations webpage (CWL-protected).

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