Middlebury is committed to a model that centers holistic and honest feedback and prioritizes personal and professional growth on an ongoing basis. The goal of these conversations should be to reflect on successes, challenges, and opportunities moving forward.
Quarterly Conversations are regularly scheduled conversations between supervisor and employee with a focus on strengths, opportunities, and goals. They are simple and frequent. There are no long forms to fill out or performance ratings and the focus is on ongoing conversation and connection. Quarterly conversations allow you to address questions, concerns, or challenges. They create space for professional development discussions and connection beyond daily work.
Quarterly Conversations take place once a quarter. Given different schedules and timing, these are required to be completed three quarters per year but strongly suggested to be done all four quarters. Conversations are documented in Oracle HCM in a form that has intentionally limited space for summary of strengths, opportunities and goals. The supervisor is responsible for capturing the summary in Oracle HCM, and the employee has an opportunity to add brief comments after. Both supervisor and employee have access to completed Quarterly Conversation forms in the system for reference.
The goal of Quarterly Conversations is to celebrate successes, acknowledge areas for improvement, and be forward looking to maintain momentum towards achieving individual and institutional goals. As employees, we will all have the opportunity to explore the following areas with our supervisors:
- What are my work-related strengths?
- What are my work-related opportunities?
- What are my near and/or long-term goals?
Quarterly Conversations are intentionally designed to be flexible. Supervisors and employees are encouraged to develop a schedule and structure that works best for their situation . All employees can share if they have specific preferences that would make the conversations more productive. The requirement is for supervisors and employees to meet with at least three quarters per year, with a strong recommendation to meet once per quarter. These meetings do not necessarily need to be on the same schedule, and the cadence can be adapted for employees who do not work year-round.
Supervisors and employees might choose to shift one of their normally scheduled meetings to focus on the quarterly check-in, or choose to schedule the quarterly check-in as a separate meeting.
- Quarterly Conversation Tools
- How to Hold Effective Talent Conversations
- Approaching Critical Conversations Roadmap
- Sample Questions to Ask and Additional Conversation Prompts
- Documenting Quarterly Conversations in Oracle HCM
Frequently Asked Questions
Annual performance ratings will no longer be given. The focus of Quarterly Conversations is to reflect on past performance while also maintaining a focus on future goals and opportunities to build upon existing strengths in a more holistic and ongoing way.
A self-evaluation is not required. However, leaders can choose to request that staff members reflect upon their performance over the past quarter before or during the meeting. Staff members may, of course, also prepare on their own before the Quarterly Conversation. This work should be kept simple and in service to the conversation itself, not burdensome preparation.
You get to choose! The conversation can be designed in a way that works best for the two people in it. As a supervisor, you may wish to ask your staff to come prepared to the meeting, or make it more of a freestyle conversation. As an employee, you may want to share your thoughts first or react after your supervisor has started. It is important that you together work out what is best for the working relationship.
If you’re already meeting with your staff on a regular basis, that’s great! You can choose to shift one of your normally scheduled meetings to focus on the Quarterly Conversation, or choose to schedule the Quarterly Conversation as a separate meeting. This program allows you to create a schedule that works for your team and is not prescriptive beyond requiring a check-in at least three quarters per year, with a strong suggestion of once per quarter.
No. You can choose what schedule works best for you and your staff. The requirement is to meet with each of your direct reports on an ongoing basis. Some supervisors may prefer to space conversations out over the quarter, others may have a specific time that works best for them closer together.
The goal is that leaders meet with each staff member at least three times per year. We are strongly recommending that supervisors and employees meet each quarter during the year, but understand that for some teams this won’t make sense. We recognize that not all individual’s work year-round. Leaders have the flexibility to meet with their employees in a cadence that works best for that individual.
We encourage an open dialogue between employees and their supervisor. Please discuss any concerns that you have with the performance documentation directly with your supervisor. There is not a formal appeal process, but the documentation in Oracle does allow for employees to briefly provide their comments after the supervisor has completed the summary.
The opportunities for improvement and goals sections of the Quarterly Conversations are places where a leader can note areas where an individual needs improvement. If you’re not seeing progress towards goals or seeing patterns of concerning behavior then it may be time to move into a separate process for performance improvement plans and/or corrective action. Please contact your HR Business Partner for support.
Institutional goals are captured in Envisioning Middlebury. Likewise, every department has their own strategic plans and goals that could be used to create goals for individuals that ladder up to the department/institutional goals. Leaders and staff can work together to set goals that ultimately align to broader departmental initiatives and thus support institutional priorities.
There is no direct link between Quarterly Conversation and compensation, but they are related as they both reflect aspects of the work an individual does in their role at Middlebury. Our new compensation structure and process is the mechanism for pay increases based on market and overall career progression.
Among other areas of focus, the Quarterly Conversations are an opportunity to discuss how to develop a deeper level of ownership and impact in one’s current role and/or how to progress to another role within Middlebury. The skill matrix is intended to assess an individual’s career progression. Increasing one’s level of ownership and impact could lead to a shift in skill matrix placement. It is expected that an individual would stay within the same skill matrix level for a period of time given that the skill matrix is an assessment of a career which typically spans a long period of time.
Quarterly Conversations will be captured in Oracle. The form is intentionally brief in an effort to keep the focus on the conversation itself. Please see instructions for supervisors and employees. Forms will be available for all staff every quarter, automatically populated in the system for your convenience.
Both the supervisor and the employee are able to see the documented forms in Oracle. Next level supervisors will also have access to view the forms
Since the Quarterly conversations are part of an employee’s record, Human Resources (HR) has access to these documents as well. HR will not actively review these documents as they are submitted, but may review them on a case by case basis..