The Development Dialogue, Step by Step - Guide for Managers

The Development Dialogue, Step by Step - Guide for Managers

The development dialogue, step by step - guide for managers

Preparation is vital in order to achieve high levels of quality in development dialogues.
The employee’s immediate manager initiates the dialogue and designs its structure, however it is essential that both parties are well prepared.

  • Establish a schedule for development dialogues so that they are all completed during the spring term.
  • Are there any issues of special importance to the school/department that should be taken up in all development dialogues?
  • Review the financial resources available for the competence development inputs that may be brought up during the dialogues.
  • Make sure notifications go out well in advance – both manager and employee must be able to prepare properly.
  • Inform employees about how the development dialogues are designed - both manager and employee must be aware of the aim of the development dialogue, how it will be carried out and the questionnaire that will be used.
  • Book 1-2 hours per dialogue.
  • Development dialogues should preferably be held in a neutral environment where there are no disturbances.
  • Review the questionnaire before the dialogue and think about the information/feedback you would like to give each employee.

Both the manager and the employee bear responsibility for, in a constructive manner, sharing their experiences during the dialogue. What is discussed during the dialogue will stay between manager and employee.

  • Begin by once again stating the aim of the dialogue so that the correct expectations are created and anxiety avoided.
  • The manager designs the structure of the dialogue with the help of the template entitled Questionnaire for Development Dialogue.
  • Give the employee the opportunity to bring up their own matters.
  • This is a true dialogue in which both parties are active and each section of questions is summarised verbally before moving on to the next.
  • The dialogue is concluded by looking to the future, then the manager and employee jointly document the dialogue unless another agreement is made during the meeting.

The manager follows up by ensuring that agreements are fulfilled and, if necessary, taking the initiative to a follow-up dialogue.

  • One good idea is, in connection with the dialogue, to carry out a brief review with the employee of whether there are any questions or if something has to be clarified.
  • Take decisions on proposals that have emerged from the dialogue (e.g. new equipment, competence development etc.).
  • Provide feedback to the employee concerning the ongoing and/or completed activities that had been established in previous documentation (or in the individual Plan of Action).

What is a development dialogue?

This dialogue is a prepared, annual discussion between the employee and his/her immediate manager. Its aim is to identify measures that develop both operations and the employee, with the goal of improving operations and the work environment.

Both manager and employee bear responsibility for the development dialogue and should, in a constructive manner, share their experiences. This system enables all employees to enjoy the opportunity to influence operations, their work situation, and create/manage a work environment where everyone feels empowered and part of a community. Agreements must be documented.

Why hold a development dialogue?

By holding an annual development dialogue, both managers and employees have the opportunity to bring up ideas for change and development, as well as thoughts on the working group's dynamics and the work environment generally. Furthermore, the dialogue is an opportunity for managers to receive feedback on their leadership. Employees, in turn, get the opportunity to discuss their work situation and receive feedback on their work. Managers will also be able to pick up early signs of stress or mental health problems at work and are then able, if necessary, to take action at an early stage.

Together, all of these aspects lead to the development of both the organisation and the individuals within it. For this reason, these dialogues are equally important to both employees and managers.

The aim of the dialogue?

The aim of the dialogue is to bring the following perspectives into focus:

Operational perspective

  • An opportunity to talk about the operational emphases for the year.
  • Strengthen and preserve KTH as an attractive workplace.
  • A tool in the work of creating a positive physical, organisational and social workplace.

Management perspective

  • Secure competence development and identify any necessity for support.
  • Gain knowledge on the employee’s view of how well the organisation, management etc. works. Create commitment among employees.
  • Gain knowledge of the workplace culture/jargon, if there is any lack of respect for diversity or any conflicts.
  • Gain underlying information in order to be able to secure the work environment, and possibly make improvements to it.
  • Gain knowledge on any possible ill health or stress signals at an early stage.
  • If necessary in connection with the salary dialogue, establish an individual action plan for the following year which provides opportunities for systematic follow-up.
  • Gain underlying information to use for:

- Strategies

- Work organisation, staffing and recruitment

- Measures within the work environment field

Employee perspective

  • Participates in an annual briefing/discussion on operational emphasis - one element of organisational development.
  • Time made available for follow-up of his/her own tasks.
  • Gains the opportunity of stating his/her own views and requests as concerns development and possible changes in his/her own work situation/career.
  • Provides the opportunity to make proposals with the aim of maintaining a good work environment.
  • All employees, including those on sick leave and parental leave are entitled to participate in at least one development dialogue annually.

Differences between development dialogues/salary negotiations/salary setting dialogues

The development dialogue forms the basis for the establishment of goals and an action plan for the year (an expected accomplishment). The salary dialogue is based on the findings of the development dialogue (performance on the basis of targets and current salary criteria). Consequently, the salary dialogue is an evaluation of what has happened, a look backwards. The development dialogue is about just that, development, and includes a focus on the future and measures for improvement.

For this reason, these dialogues do not take place on the same occasion.

Development dialogues should be conducted with all employees in the spring and salary setting dialogues should be conducted during the first half of the autumn term.

Doctoral students follow the doctoral student ladder in which local collective agreements on salaries apply.

Salary setting dialogue
The aim of the salary setting dialogue is to provide underlying information concerning:

  • Salary level setting.
  • Provide an opportunity to follow up the employee’s tasks, job description and performance during the previous year.
  • In certain cases, to formulate an individual Plan of Action to improve possible salary development.

Annual schedule

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