Career Conversations

Career Conversation 5 step process

BEGINS: April 1                    ENDS: June 30

Upload Finalized Career Feedback Documents to UAccess

Regardless of how your area conducts career planning, store your completed documents in UAccess for easy retrieval from a centralized location. Then, you can reference your documents for developmental and growth reminders and during ongoing check-ins.

Employee User Guide (PDF)      Supervisor User Guide (PDF)

About Career Conversations

Career Conversations are yearly structured discussions between staff members and their supervisors. They are designed to support staff success and growth through reflection, planning, problem-solving, and honest and constructive feedback. Career Conversations begin when staff members reflect on their significant accomplishments, key strengths, and goals for the future and continue during check-in meetings throughout the year.

Please connect with your unit or department to clarify how Career Conversations integrates with your current career planning processes. Career Conversations are not applicable for University faculty, who utilize a separate process. For assistance, contact your Senior HR Partner.

Video Overview

This 18-minute recorded presentation covers how to prepare, the five-step process, SMART goals, and other Career Conversations best practices.

Five-Step Process

The Career Conversations process model consists of five steps.

Employee independently completes Career Conversations self-reflection and planning sections of the Career Conversations form (Word).

This step is completed when the employee sends the form to their direct supervisor.

Tip: Review the video guide, timestamps 4:06 and 6:30.

Supervisor reviews the form and enters their own notes in preparation for the Career Conversations meeting.

This step is completed when the employee and supervisor schedule a meeting to discuss the form.

Employee and supervisor have a live, face-to-face conversation (in-person or on video call) about the employee's plans for development and growth over the next year.

This step is complete when the meeting has adjourned.

Tip: Review the video guide, timestamp 11:58.

Supervisor makes final comments on the form and signs the document.

This step is completed when the supervisor returns the signed form to the employee for review.

Employee reviews and acknowledges the supervisor's comments and signs the form. Once signed, they upload the completed form to UAccess.

The supervisor verifies that a completed and signed Career Conversations form was uploaded by the employee.

This step is completed when the supervisor clicks "Confirm" on the UAccess "Complete Evaluation" popup.

Guides and Resources

These Career Conversations guides and resources help your conversation be productive, engaging, and future-focused.

Career Conversations Form

Review and complete this form before meeting with a direct supervisor.

Adobe Sign Steps

If you are instructed to use Adobe Sign, please follow these steps.

UAccess Upload Guides

How to upload and approve Career Conversations forms in UAccess.

Employee Guide

Pillars and Values Guide

As part of the Career Conversations form, indicate how each of your goals aligns with the University's strategic pillars and values.

Alignment Guide (PDF)


SMART Goal Setting

Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound. Take an initial goal and expand it using these SMART attributes.

SMART Template (PDF)

Flexible Work (Supervisors)

Staff with flexible work arrangements have specific needs. Supervisors, use this guide to help avoid proximity bias and support your direct reports' goals.

Frequently Asked Questions

All University staff should engage in career planning with their supervisors. 

The formal Career Conversations process should be completed with staff who have been in their role for at least six months. That provides enough time for the staff member to understand their position well enough to strategically plan for the future.

Prior to six months, supervisors and their staff should engage in regular feedback about job expectations and success as part of the onboarding process. 

  • Better performance and higher productivity
  • Stronger teams and work groups
  • More trust and a culture of positive change
  • Greater job satisfaction and engagement
  • Early signs of performance challenges

There are three easy ways to sign the Career Conversations form (DOCX).

  • Sign the form physically and scan it. Upload the scanned document to the UAccess Career Conversation module.
  • Type names directly into the form in Steps 2 and 3. The employee uploading this document to UAccess and the supervisor approving it will act as signature verification.
  • Use Adobe Sign. Review the Completing Career Conversations in Adobe Sign (PDF) for instructions.

Before the University had a common date for completing Career Conversations, staff feedback shows that the process felt unclear and that Career Conversations didn't always happen. The April - June window:

  • Accommodates both academic and fiscal timelines
  • Establishes the expectation for staff members and supervisors for an annual process
  • Allows for tools and resources to be developed and shared with you
  • Streamlines communications sent to your inbox
  • Will enable easier tracking of completion rates

It can be difficult to express disagreement with a supervisor, but honest conversations make for better working relationships. If the supervisor chooses not to change the comments following a conversation, the staff member may document the disagreement on the Career Conversations form.

Supervisors should be honest and share their perspective throughout the year. Staff members should not be surprised by comments during the Career Conversations process. However, supervisors may note any disagreements in writing or invite the staff member to revise their content based on the discussion.

Career Conversations are not intended to compare staff members to one another, but rather to develop individualized development plans for each person.

Completion of Career Conversations is a separate process from pay decisions; however, performance issues discussed in the Career Conversations process, such as not meeting goals or addressing areas of needed and expected improvement, are part of the staff member's record. Career Conversations records would be evaluated in determining merit pay or potential disciplinary action. 

UAccess Career Conversations tile

If you need assistance with the UAccess tile or portal, please email

Uploading your completed documents to UAccess has many benefits.

  1. It provides a centralized location to store your conversation that:
    • is more secure and accessible than keeping the file on your desktop, in a folder online, or in a filing cabinet.
    • ensures you won’t lose or misplace your copy.
    • makes it easier to search through all previous Career Conversations at once.
    • creates a simple way to look back at the goals you set throughout this year, or when you start working on next year’s conversation.
    • is easily referenced as you discuss achievements during career progression discussions.
  2. Documents stay with your employee profile even if you change positions within the University or your direct supervisor changes.

Uploading Career Conversations to UAccess replaces the need to email them to Employee Records.

Yes. Regardless of how your area conducts career feedback, we encourage staff members to upload their completed documentation to the Career Conversations tile on UAccess Employee Main Homepage.

All employees must upload their own Career Conversations or other career feedback form to their UAccess account. This process ensures confidentiality and gives each employee the opportunity to ensure the correct materials have been posted to their record.

If you or someone on your team does not have a computer readily available, please work with your department to determine the best method to access one.

There is a Career Conversations dashboard in UAccess Analytics. Employees with HR_BI_MED provisioning or higher can access this report

Use this report to see who in your unit has uploaded their completed Career Conversations documentation and whether their supervisor has approved it. Please note: You will NOT have access to the Career Conversation documents themselves; they are confidential. 

Please review the Accessing the Career Conversations Dashboard in UAccess Analytics (PDF) for guidance.