Four Critical Conversations that Maximize Employee Engagement & Performance

The role of managers and supervisors in the employee engagement process is vital. This is something we all know. Recently, a client asked me to outline some of the key conversations that need to occur between managers and supervisors and their teams. The initial list was huge but I was able to combine some ideas and eliminate others to come up with the four critical conversations I believe need to take place.

Conversation One: What do you care about?

Managers and supervisors must develop an understanding of what the employee really cares about in terms of their job, work environment and life outside of the workplace. The more insight you have around these areas, the easier it is to provide appropriate assignments, support and follow up, which leads to increased engagement.

Conversation Two: How do you want to grow and develop?

Understanding the goals and interests of team members in as much detail as possible provides managers and supervisors with significant engagement leverage. Learning about a team member’s short and long term growth and development interests will position you to have a substantial impact on the individual’s performance and level of engagement.

Conversation Three: What type of recognition works for you?

The ways employees like to be recognized for their achievements and in what setting can differ widely. Preferences for recognition can range from verbal praise and time off to opportunities to work on special assignments. The setting can be private, public or another setting that is meaningful to the individual. Delving into this conversation and linking what you learn to the insight you’ve gained from the other conversations will have a powerful long-term impact.

Conversation Four: What are your key performance goals?

The last critical conversation examines and ultimately establishes the employee’s work-related performance goals. The important thing for this conversation is ensuring the manager and supervisor focuses the conversation on strategic imperatives while allowing the employee to outline the goals. There are two parts to this conversation, as follow-up interactions to track and discuss progress are needed.



About Ken Milloy, guest blogger for Impact People Practices

Through his work as a consultant, speaker, blogger, workshop leader and practitioner Ken has assisted numerous companies improve internal communications, employee engagement and boost performance.  A recognized thought leader on communication and engagement as well as a great storyteller, Ken has chaired and spoken at conferences around the world.  Through his consulting, coaching and Blogging, Ken supports individuals, teams and companies in achieving high levels of engagement and strategic communications.

A detailed bio is available at http://var/www/vhosts/


A note from Christine McLeod, Founder of Impact People Practices- Interested in guest blogging with us? 

Topics we like to cover are engagement in the workplace, Innovative HR, Social Media at work, Employer Branding and generations in the workplace. In the meantime, we’d love to see you on twitter @impactresults or on our Facebook pages http://var/www/vhosts/ and http://var/www/vhosts/



  1. Christine McLeod on January 5, 2012 at 4:56 am

    Thanks so much Ken for your powerful questions- so simple and yet we get caught up as leaders with complex statistics and measurements and “strategies” for engagement- it starts with showing an interest in the PERSON… and creating an authentic foundation. 

    • Ken Milloy on January 5, 2012 at 2:31 pm

      Hi Christine.  You are most welcome and I am hopeful that the 4 questions article stimulates some thinking and action ideas for your readers.  Simple for a purpose….engagement doesn’t have to be driven by huge interventions…it really does begin with each individual just taking a little initiative to make things better by caring about others…from there the Impact simply grows positively.  Cheers and onwards, Ken.