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The good talk

Last updated on 1 March 2022
The way we conduct our annual consultation will change in 2020. The new annual consultation will focus on what employees and supervisors need from each other to maximize performance.

Here at VU Amsterdam we noticed that there was a need for change. Our consultation cycle includes an annual consultation that no longer contributes adequately to utilizing talents, optimizing performance and the agility of our organization. The structure of the annual consultation has been changed to include a different focus on performance, talent and development. How can you as an employee optimize the use of your talents, how can you boost your job satisfaction and which areas of personal and professional development require attention?

What will change? 

The annual consultation will change in three important ways:
1. No more assessment scores, but a conversation about performance

We will no longer use the scoring rubric with scores A through E. Performance will now be assessed during the consultation. Employees and supervisors will discuss the previous period, which includes performance but also what this performance means to the employee. What are you proud of and when were you able to use and show your talents? Was it clear what was expected from the employee, are there other objectives that should be focused on or is there a need for more feedback? This serves as the basis for good agreements on future performance and development.

‘By removing the assessment scores there is room for a good talk in which you really listen to each other and help one another in achieving the common goals’ - Saskia Edixhoven, personnel consultant

2. Employee prepares a reflection report

A fixed component of the new annual consultation is the employee’s reflection report. This report describes the employee’s views on the recent period and what results and experiences mean. Did anything stand out? Which areas or aspects of your work did you work especially hard on? Which agreements do you believe will contribute to boosting your job satisfaction or relieving your workload? A good reflection report includes useful information for both the employee and the supervisor so relevant topics can be discussed and good agreements can be reached for the coming period. 

'In previous consultations we were mainly busy with the completion of a list. Now we took my reflection report as the starting point. We had more conversation topics than in previous years’ – Stacy Angel, secretary at the Faculty of Behavioural and Movement Sciences

3. No mandatory topics of conversation, but instead a joint agenda

The annual consultation no longer contains mandatory topics of conversation. The employee and the supervisor both contribute topics for the agenda to be discussed during the consultation. The employee’s reflection report may also provide reference points for topics of discussion.

The new annual consultation will not only lead to a better conversation, but also to more catch-up sessions. When you stay up to date, you know what is expected of you and your team members at any given time, and you will have a clearer idea of whether or not you are meeting these expectations. It also becomes easier to respond to changes, to set priorities, to adjust goals and to come up with a clever division of tasks. This not only improves cooperation but you can grow as an employee and as a team and reduce your workload. 

‘If there is something wrong, you must discuss it with each other immediately. Then there will be no surprising during the annual consultation’ - Suzan Besuijen, operations manager at the Faculty of Behavioral and Movement Sciences

More information

You can read more about the support process in the manual on the annual consultation.
More information for employees
More information for supervisors


To be able to prepare yourself well, as supervisor or employee, for the annual consultation, we offer various training courses. You will find the training courses at VU > Services > Learning & Development.

Useful documents

Quick Reference Card for employees
Quick Reference Card for supervisors
Tips and inspiration for your reflective report
Template reflective report (academic staff)
Template reflective report (support staff)

You can also follow a training course via e-learning (only available in Dutch).

Do you already have any questions about the new annual consultation after reading all the information available? Get in touch with the HR Advisor for your department or the HR Service desk (020 59 82882 or

Contact VU - HR Service Desk
Opening hours: Monday to Friday from 08:30 AM - 05:00 PM.

020 59 82882
Opening hours: Monday to Friday from 10.00 AM - 12:00 PM and 14.00 PM - 16.00 PM.