UC Experience Conversations

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Enhancing the workplace experience, one conversation at a time.

What are UC Experience Conversations?

These are 1:1, broad-ranging conversations between employees (non-represented and represented) and managers, focused on understanding and enhancing the overall UC workplace experience.

UC Experience Conversations are recommended to be held at least once a year at a time that works best for employees. The conversations are encouraged, though optional, and ask both managers and employees to discuss a few questions of their choosing. A form of “stay interviews,” UC Experience Conversations surface dialogue and action planning via a wide range of topics of importance to the employee, such as:

  • Overall job experience

  • Future readiness

  • Retention

  • Wellbeing and work-life balance

  • Career development

  • Inclusion and belonging

  • Manager support

These conversations can be included as part of ongoing 1:1 conversations between managers and employees, and are a valuable way for managers and employees to discuss any future needs of the organization and how employees can keep their skills current to be future-ready, new or shifting career aspirations that employees may have, and to provide employees with an opportunity to discuss areas of importance to them. UC Experience Conversations are not considered performance appraisal conversations.

Register for Upcoming Ask Me Anything Zoom Sessions

First, check out the conversation tools, resources, and FAQs below. Then, consider joining People & Organization Development Consultants for one of three upcoming Ask Me Anything sessions in November and December. These are events for you to bring forward your unanswered questions about UC Experience Conversations. You can register via this Google form link.


Additional Resources

Below, you will find supplemental tools to further support employees and their development efforts:

Organizational Guidance, Tips, and Additional Support at UC Berkeley

UC Experience Conversations play a pivotal role in enhancing the employee experience at UC Berkeley

With Achieve Together check-ins as our foundational performance development model, UC Experience Conversations create deeper-level opportunities to support employees, build upon our Principles of Community, and identify strategies to reach UC Berkeley initiatives and goals.

After you review the webpage, tools, and guidance here, POD is here to help!

The People & Organization Development (POD) is happy to support you in maximizing the potential for UC Experience Conversations in your organization or team. Senior Talent Strategy Partner, Colin Gerker-Junsay (colinje@berkeley.edu), provides 1:1 and organizational consulting and can answer questions about UC Experience Conversations. If after reviewing the information, tools, and resources and would like additional support, reach out to Colin for an initial consultation!

We want to be clear that UC Experience Conversations are not considered evaluative conversations.

While UC Experience Conversations are not performance appraisal conversations, they can be used as an approach to taking future employee planning conversations to a deeper level. To that end, there is no tracking system, these are encouraged but not mandatory, the conversation tool will not be uploaded to your personnel file, and the content of the conversation is between the manager and the employee.

A best practice is to offer the conversation as part of a regularly scheduled 1:1

These questions can be revisited or discussed at any time, and you do not have to discuss these types of open-ended questions only once per year. It's a great follow-up to an Achieve Together conversation (for non-rep employees). Also, people leaders and their direct reports could address one or two questions per regularly scheduled 1:1 over time, giving space and time for one topic at a time.

Leaders lean-in!

While these are 1:1 conversations between employees and managers, leaders are absolutely encouraged to work with managers to explore conversation themes, trends, concerns, and opportunities at the organizational level – in addition to doing their best to support managers follow through on key actions with employees. Managers of managers, hold your managers accountable for offering UC Experience conversations to each member of their teams.

Consent is a must!

Explore if employees are comfortable having the conversation. Talk to employees first and use the template for managers to invite employees to the conversation. The template also includes details on preparing and following up.

Consider timing, as well as organizational, relational, and personal factors

The intent is to offer the conversations to everyone so we facilitate opportunities to enhance employee experience. And, if there are factors that would prevent a productive dialogue, it is recommended to offer the conversation at a different time when conditions are better. People leaders have the discretion to utilize UC Experience Conversations. And, employees can also request to engage in a UC Experience Conversation. 

These conversations are not just for high potentials, successor candidates, or flight risks

UC Experience Conversations should be offered to everyone on a team if the conditions for a successful conversation are in place.

Can others be invited into the conversation?

As a reminder, the design of UC Experience Conversation is to facilitate a two-way conversation between managers and employees. 

  1. Manager’s manager? The design of the process is to hold the conversation between a manager and an employee. We encourage employees who are reluctant to have this kind of a conversation to discuss their concerns with their manager. Employees can always reach out to their manager’s manager to express concern when elevation is needed. And, situations will need to be handled case-by-case. It’s possible that through the conversation, an action item could be to speak with unit leadership, P&C leadership, and/or the People & Organization Development team to broaden one’s career development network, get feedback, and/or to participate in ongoing succession planning within the organization. Additionally, employees should be reminded of the reporting and confidential resources available at UC Berkeley. 

  1. Multiple managers?If an employee reports to multiple managers, check with the employee on their preferences for meeting with their managers together or separately. 

  2. Berkeley People & Culture or HR Partners? While teams always have the opportunity to ask for additional support on facilitating UC Experience Conversations, the design of this conversation process is set up to be held between managers and employees. Teams and organizations may offer different types of structured interviews to address the employee issues (like DEIB, retention, exit).