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The annual consultation for employees

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Last updated on 7 March 2023
To boost cooperation, top performance and growth, it is important that you and your supervisor confer regularly.

Consultation and feedback help you to understand what is expected of you, and you and your supervisor will be able to make necessary adjustments to agreements on time, allocate tasks or set different priorities. The annual consultation is the time for thorough reflection and to discuss matters that you might not have the time for in your busy day-to-day working life, including career goals and the cooperation with your team members and your supervisor. Detailed information about the annual consultation process can be found in the manual.

The annual consultation for employees

  • Objective and structure of the annual consultation

    The annual consultation is intended to allow you and your supervisor to review the previous period and discuss what you need from each other to improve performance, utilize your talents and boost your job satisfaction. You and your supervisor are jointly responsible for the proper preparation of the interview and for saying what’s on your mind. The annual consultation has no fixed format or assessment system, and contains no mandatory topics of conversation. Your supervisor will send you an invitation to the annual consultation via a task in the self-service option Annual Consultation. If you do not receive an invitation, make sure you ask for one. All employees are given the opportunity to have an annual consultation at least once a year.

  • Preparation for the annual consultation

    You will write a reflective report in preparation of your annual consultation. A good reflection gives you and your supervisor insight into the subjects that are important for you to discuss during your annual consultation. A few tips: 

    • Start on time, so you can take breaks and rewrite your report.
    • A reflection is more than a list of your results. Also consider what those results will mean to you in the coming period: what would you like to do more often, less often, or differently? What are you proud of, what didn’t go as expected, and when were you able to use your talents? How was the cooperation with your supervisor and your colleagues? Here you can find a list of questions to inspire you. You can also sign up for a course on how to write a good reflective report. 
    • Make sure to include personal development goals in your reflective report. Personal development is about more than completing a training course or preparing for the next step in your career. Development is also necessary to stay up to date in your field of expertise and to grow with changes in the organization. In considering ways to work on your personal development, also consider opportunities such as a temporary job, networking in and outside of the university, a job-shadowing placement or transferring knowledge and experience to junior colleagues. During the annual consultation you and your supervisor will then make agreements about your development and the time you will spend on this. Make sure to use at least the two personal development days that everyone is entitled to. 
    • Ask your colleagues for feedback. You can do this by selecting informants in the self-service option Annual Consultation. You can also use any feedback you previously requested in your reflection. On the page 360-degree feedback for employees, you will find some ground rules, sample questions and tips for this.

    You can use the Performance & development goals guide to set these goals step by step. 

  • Drawing up the agenda for the annual consultation

    The annual consultation does not contain mandatory topics of conversation. You and your supervisor will both contribute topics for the agenda to be discussed during the interview. You can submit points for the agenda via the reflection form, via the self-service option or at the beginning of the annual consultation. Consider at least the following topics in preparing for the annual consultation:   

    • Cooperation with your team and your supervisor
    • Career and personal development
    • Workload
    • Social well-being and a safe social setting
    • Ancillary activities (make sure that you have an up-to-date overview before the annual consultation!)
    • Working conditions
  • A conversation about performance

    During the annual consultation we will not use scores or other assessment systems. However, this does not mean that the annual consultation is entirely free of obligation and that performance cannot be discussed. In order to have a useful conversation about development and talent, it is important to know if you are meeting the expectations. If you have any doubts or questions about this, then make sure to discuss it in your annual consultation. Also make agreements to set up meetings in between annual consultations, so you will continue to keep the focus on your goals and on expectations. A few questions to prepare the conversation about performance:

    • Is it clear to you what is expected of you? Do you have a need for more meetings or feedback? How often do you ask for feedback yourself?
    • Discuss the agreements from the previous annual consultation. Have you achieved the goals previously agreed on? If not, what was the reason? What does this mean for future agreements? Is it time to make a different type of agreement (more or less specific and measurable) or to discuss progress more often and monitor agreements?
    • Do you find it hard to give your supervisor feedback or to discuss what you need in order to perform better in your job? Then sign up for the training course Be bold in your annual consultation. 
  • Make agreements

    You will make agreements for the coming period in your annual consultation. Before your interview, discuss which agreements you would like to make and what you would like to achieve with those agreements. Make sure that the desired outcome is clear in the annual consultation: what needs to happen for you and your supervisor to be satisfied? Also discuss which type of support is available, from your supervisor or team members, and how you will monitor the progress of your agreements.

  • Writing the report: sign as approved or as seen

    A report will be drawn up after the annual consultation, including the agreements. If you agree with the contents of your report, sign ‘as approved’ in the self-service option. If you do not approve, you may submit a change request. You should discuss this with your supervisor. If your supervisor does not honour this request, you can sign ‘as seen’. The report and your change request will now be forwarded to the immediate supervisor. The immediate supervisor can approve the report, in which case the report, including your change request, will be added to your file. The immediate supervisor can also decide that a modification is needed, in consultation with you and/or your supervisor.

  • Frequently asked questions

    The annual consultation form is empty, how do I add last year's appointments?

    Because of the transition to a different type of form, it was not possible to automatically include the old appointments from the annual consultation forms. As an employee you manually transfer these appointments once to the new system. At subsequent annual consultation the appointments will again be automatically visible. You can find the old appointments in your old personnel file. Please note that this link only works if you log on to the campus. If it does not work, please contact the IT service desk. Then enter the old appointments in Performance Goals and Development Goals. You can read how to do this in the QRC

    How can I ask for feedback before the annual consultation?

    You can ask for feedback from colleagues within the VU at any time during the year. You do this via Ask feedback. You can link this feedback to your performance and development goals. The feedback will not automatically be visible in the annual consultation form. Via the attachment option (with the paperclip in the upper right corner of the form) you can add an attachment with the feedback you have collected.

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Contact VU - HR Service Desk
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020 59 82882
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