Configuring & Managing Conversations

Enabling Conversations

You can enable Conversations for your organization by going to:

Admin → Program Management → Conversations → Settings

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There are (2) types of Conversations: Anytime and Scheduled

Anytime Conversations

Anytime Conversations allow managers and their direct reports to select a template and have a 1-on-1 at the time of their choosing. The default due date of an Anytime Conversation is 3 days from launch with a grace period of 60 days. This means that the Conversation will display in the participants' "Current" Conversations list for 3 days, then move to their "Past" Conversations list where it will remain available for another 57 days. The default due date and grace period cannot be customized. 

Configuring Anytime Conversations

Step 1: Enter a conversation name

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  • Request employees to confirm they met:
    • Selecting this option will ensure that the Conversation page contains a box that either participant can mark to confirm that they've met after sharing responses. Until a participant has done this, the conversation will not be recognized as complete.
  • Enable employees to create Objectives from inside this Conversation:
    • Selecting this option will ensure that participants can create objectives without leaving the Conversation page. This is ideal if you know that the associated Conversations will result in action items. 

Step 2: Decide on a format

Conversations can be one-directional or bi-directional. One-directional Conversations are great for self-reflection. 

Step 3: Permissions

  • No access:
    • Conversations are not accessible.
  • Can view: 
    • Conversation response for the manager and direct report will be visible once shared.
  • Can edit:
    • Managers' responses can be viewed and edited prior to being shared.
    • Direct reports' responses can be viewed prior to being shared, but not edited. 

Step 4 & 5: Enter questions for the direct report and manager to answer

  • Paragraph:
    • Open text
  • Scale:
    • You can set a scale that runs from 1-2, 1-3, 1-4, etc. all the way up to 1-7
  • Start Rating:
    • Up to 4 stars
  • Multiselect:
    • Update 15 options 

Step 6: Deploy Conversation

Toggle deployment on and "Save".

Notes:

  • If the Conversation template has not been deployed it will not be available to users. 
  • If a Conversation template is "undeployed" (toggled off) while an associated Conversation is in progress, all information (including responses) will be lost. These Conversations will not be available in the Conversations module or in reports.

Scheduled Conversations

Allows administrators to create a template and launch it to their entire organization or a predefined list to take place within a certain timeframe.

Configuring Scheduled Conversations

Step 1: Name this Conversation
The Conversation name and description will be visible to all participants. The description is a great opportunity to give participants some context around the Conversation as well as to provide links to any relevant company resources.

Note: Changes made to the name and description of a Conversation template that has a cycle in progress will be applied and pushed out to all participants. 

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  • Request employees to confirm they met:
    • With this option selected the conversation will include a box that either participant can mark to confirm that they've met after sharing responses. Until a participant has done this, the conversation will not be recognized as complete.
  • Enable employees to create Objectives from inside this Conversation:
    • With this option selected employees will be able to create objectives without leaving the Conversation page. This is ideal if the Conversation will result in action items. 

Step 2: Select participants

When it comes to Conversations in your organization, you might have varying needs across departments and employees:

  • Each department may need to have separate Conversations based on their objectives
  • Each manager may need to have a Conversation with their director about their team
  • All new hires may need to have a career planning Conversation with their manager

Include all employees:

  • This option will deploy the Conversation to all employees in your organization's Betterworks instance including those who may be added to the platform while the cycle is in progress.

Specific departments or groups: 

  • Departments: 
    • If a department has sub-departments within it (as defined by the "parent department" field in the department configuration), users in each of those sub-departments will be included in the conversation. For more information about sub-departments, please see our Adding & Updating Users Manually: CSV Upload article which includes a section about sub-departments.
  • Groups: 
    • These are predefined by an administrator and based on attributes that users share (i.e. location). For more information about groups, please see our Organizing Users Into Groups article.
  • Custom participant list:
    • Upload a CSV file. It should only include the email addresses of the direct reports who will be participating. The Betterworks platform will automatically pair these direct reports with their respective managers based on the existing reporting structure. 

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  • Allow managers to invite additional contributors:
    • Managers can invite up to (3) contributors to the Conversation with their direct report.
      • Note: Administrators do not have the ability to add contributors. 
    • Contributors will complete the same set of questions as the manager. 
    • This is ideal if the manager would like input from an employee who served as a mentor to the direct report or as the team lead on a project that the direct report was involved in.
    • Direct reports will not be able to see the identity of contributors or their responses.
  • Allow contributors to view other's responses 
    • Leaving this option unchecked will hide Contributor A's responses from Contributor B and vice versa. 

Step 3: Decide on a format

Conversations can be one-directional or bi-directional. One-directional Conversations are great for self-reflection. 

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  • Enable confidential questions:
    • These questions and their responses are only visible to administrators with Super Admin and HR Admin permissions (scope applied). They are often used as a way for the HR Team to gauge how effective the Conversation was. This option can also be used to ask about promotion readiness. 

Step 4: Permissions

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These permissions allow administrators and/or Skip level managers to access the conversations created from the template. The Skip level option allows managers to view the conversations of managers who report to them. This can help give leaders in an organization a better idea of:

  • What types of conversations are happening on the teams that they manage
  • Where they can better support the managers who report to them
  • How they can best steer the organization toward better performance

Administrators will be able to view and/or edit Conversations by going to:

Admin → Program Management → Conversations → Settings → Review Conversations

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  • No access:
    • Conversations are not accessible.
  • Can view: 
    • Conversation response for the manager and direct report will be visible once shared.
    • This also applies to confidential questions.
  • Can edit:
    • Managers' responses can be viewed and edited prior to being shared.
    • Direct reports' responses can be viewed prior to being shared, but not edited. 
    • This also applies to confidential questions.

Skip level managers can view and/or edit Conversations by going to:

Conversations → Skip Level Conversations

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Skip level managers specifically:

  • Can view:
    • Manager and direct report responses will be visible once shared. If the "Review Period" option is enabled (see Step 8: Schedule Conversation cycles below for more information) option is being used for the manager's questions, answers will not be visible until the review period is over and the manager shares their responses.
  • Can edit: 
    • Manager responses can be viewed and edited prior to being shared.
    • Direct reports' responses can be viewed prior to being shared, but not edited.

Note: Skip level managers can view and/or edit confidential question responses in conversations for managers that they directly manage (one level down).

Step 5 & 6: Enter questions for the direct report and manager to answer

  • Paragraph:
    • Open text
  • Scale 
    • You can set a scale that runs from 1-2, 1-3, 1-4, etc. all the way up to 1-7
  • Start Rating:
    • Up to 4 stars
  • Multiselect
    • Up to 15 options

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  • Clone:
    • You can clone the previous question by clicking the blue icon shown above.
  • Mandatory:
    • Make the question required.

Step 7: Set up notifications

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Note: System notifications must be enabled in order for conversations to be sent. To enable system notifications, go to:

Admin → Program Management → System notifications → Turn On

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This will prompt you to customized the different types of notifications:

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Notifications pertaining to Conversations cannot be customized. This means that if system notifications are enabled and the Conversation template has notifications selected, all participants in the Conversation cycle will receive Conversation notifications even if they're not receiving any other type of notifications. 

Once done, remember to scroll down and "Save":

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Step 8: Schedule Conversation cycles
A cycle must be set during which the Conversation will run. You cannot set a Conversation to start on the same day. Also, the end date cannot be the same as the start date.

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  • Set the number of days unlocked questions will remain editable: 
    • This allows you to set a grace period where participants who miss the original deadline can submit a "request to edit" (see Request to Edit below for more information). 

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Additional lock options:

  • All answers lock when shared:
    • Selecting this option will ensure that participants cannot edit their responses after they've shared them without approval.
  • Some answers lock on an earlier date:
    • Selecting this option will allow you lock individual questions before others (i.e. setting direct report questions to lock before manager questions). 

Note: When configuring additional lock options for a Conversation, confidential questions will always be excluded. 

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  • Additional Admin review period options: 
    • This option changes the "Share" button that a participant would normally see to a "Submit" button and allows participants to submit response which can be reviewed before they are shared. 
    • The Review Deadline will be the last day that participants can submit their responses. The "Share" button will appear the following day.
    • Participants will have the day after the Review Deadline to the end of the cycle to share their answers
    • These advanced options can help facilitate a more formal review process and may not be needed for a recurring check-in or other, more frequent Conversation types. These options are more often used during a Performance Review cycle to introduce more process. 

Step 9: Conversation deployment

Toggle deployment on and "Save".

Once the Conversation has been completely set up, you can add future cycles. 

Notes:

  • If the Conversation template has not been deployed the associated Conversation cycle will not launch (even when the start date arrives).
  • If a conversation template is "undeployed" (toggled off) while a cycle is in progress all information (including responses) from that cycle will be lost. These Conversations will not be available in the Conversations module or in reports.

Request to Edit & Approval/Denial 

If a participant has missed the deadline to complete their part of a Conversation, they can submit a request to edit by going into their conversation, clicking the gear/sprocket icon at the top-right corner to trigger the drop-down menu, then selecting the "Request to edit" option:

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This action will add their name to the list of requests that are sent via automated email to the organization's administrators once per day (at approximately 5pm in the organization's timezone). The email will redirect to:

Admin → Program Management → Conversations → Settings → Request to edit

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From there, you can select "Allow" or "Deny". Once a request has been approved or denied, the participant will receive an automated email as well. If approved, they'll have an additional 7 days to complete their part of the conversation.

Export a Conversation

As a Super Admin or HR Admin (scope applied), you can export a conversation from Betterworks by going to:

Admin → Program Management → Conversations → Settings → Review Conversations

Once you've located the applicable Conversation, simply click "View", then the print icon at the top-right corner of the Conversation page to Print the Conversation Summary:

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Reporting

To view Conversation reports, go to:

Admin → Program Management → Reports → Conversations

You'll be able to choose between (2) reports:

  • Conversation Adoption Report
  • Conversation Answers Report

You can also view more details pertaining to a Conversation cycle by going to:

Admin → Program Management → Usage dashboard → Data controls → Conversations

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FAQs

Can I add a user to a Conversation that is already in progress?
Yes. The user must be added via CSV upload or by being a part of one of the participating departments or groups. Their Conversation will launch at the top of the hour after they are added to the participant list. Participants can only be added until the cycle end date (not during the grace period).

Can I change the permissions of a Conversation that is already in progress?
Yes. Permissions can be changed at any time. 

If the Skip level manager permissions on an Anytime Conversation template are changed, will it impact previous Conversations that used the template?
No. These permissions will only be applied to future Conversations and those that are in progress.

Can a Conversation cycle be extended after deployment?
Yes, but only if the original date has not yet passed. 

Are there character limits for questions and answers?
Questions: 512 characters
Answers: 10,000 characters

How do I clone a template?
Administrators with Super Admin permissions can clone a template by going to:
Admin → Program management → Conversations → Settings → [Scroll to the applicable template] → [Click the blue icon under the "Actions" column]

Note: Please be sure to review the template and change any necessary sections (i.e. template name) before saving it.

Are anytime Conversations included on Performance Snapshot detailed print view?

Yes. Anytime Conversations are included in the detailed print view.