Cards for development discussions

(Keke kortit)

In Finland, workers have development discussions with their superiors at least twice a year. These discussions are a good way to set priorities, talk about career and personal development, well being at work, and give and receive feedback. In Migri, in addition to these discussions managers will reserve time for 15 min discussions with their teams bimonthly (keke-keskustelut). These discussions involve 2 persons, a team member and their manager. These short discussions are a new initiative in our organisation. They are aimed to motivate a fluent relationship with managers.

Kepa (development services) is the internal team in Migri dedicated to development of the workers. This team wanted to support these 15min development discussions by providing a toolkit and invited Inland to participate in designing it. In the beginning the idea was to have a series of cards, guidelines and a personal diary both for the employer and for her manager. We designed a set of cards and a diary. The toolkit would not be compulsory to use, but it could support the development discussions.

Design process

To test the tookit we conducted two workshops with workers in Migri. In these workshops we made use drama methods with small groups of two: one participant acted as the manager and the other as the team member. Then, they switch roles. After these sessions we discussed how the cards and the diary supported the conversation. We used SWOT analysis to guide this discussion. After these two feedback sessions we redesigned the toolkit and re-wrote some of the questions and the guidelines to use them.

As a next step, we tested the toolkit with managers in one of their training days. The workshop was very similar to the ones we conducted with team members, but we used a new version of SWOT to analyse the toolkit.

Caption: Translation of this matrix: what is good? What can be deleted? What needs further development? What else should we add?

The cards were accepted and perceived as useful by managers as well as team members. However, the diaries to record the conversations were controversial. As the content of these discussions is confidential, most of them were not comfortable in having a paper record of them. We discarded the idea of a diary for managers, but we kept the diary for team members.

Design outcome

The final toolkit consists of three cards, the guidelines and a personal diary to document the conversations and action points for the team members. The cards feature three themes:

1- Well being at work

2- Learning

3- Career planning, mobility and growth prospects.

In all the cards there are standard questions such as: how are you doing? And how can I help you as your superior? In addition, there are a set of thematic questions:

1- Well being at work:

Which are the top 3 supporters for your well being?

How would you rate your well being now from 1 to 10?

What can you or your superior do for improving your well being?

How to coordinate work and other life?

2- Learning:

What important skills you would like to develop right now (mirroring your work today)?

What new would you like to learn in a the long term (thinking in your dream job or your current one)?

In which way you learn better?

What can you do in your team to share your skills and learn better together?

3- Career planning, mobility and growth prospects:

What is your dream job in Migri?

In which way can we develop your work?

What are the strengths you would like to better use at work?

If you would go to another team, where would you like to go?

In the guidelines we made clear that the questions were just to guide the conversation but that it is not necessary to ask all of them, or follow the order. These questions are just a way to inspire the conversation.

The Kepa team has the idea to develop new cards in the future, taking in consideration the feedback that comes from the implementation phase. For now, the toolkit is ready. Let us know if you are eager to try it in your own organisation as well. We will gladly share all the materials.

Final note: The two colleagues from KEPA that developed the cards together with Inland, are not working in Migri at the moment.