engaging employees one-on-one meeting

One-on-one meetings

Is the traditional quarterly/annual performance review enough? Probably not!

Research continues to show that employees seek genuine relationships with their managers and value continual feedback. They want to know when they are doing good work. Staff members want a manager who builds an inclusive team environment. Most importantly, they want their managers to genuinely care about their well-being.

Does a traditional quarterly/annual performance review give your employees these things? The answer is, likely not.

One-on-one meetings are a more effective way to check in with employees

So what’s the alternative? One-on-one meetings between a manager and their team members are an innovative way of checking in with people. I’m talking about more than just a quick conversation about performance, or a quick five-minute “how are you doing” conversation. Don’t get me wrong, those conversations are already a lot more than some managers do!

I’m talking about scheduled and structured meetings that result in real conversations, which will, in turn, help form genuine relationships with team members. That’s what employees are seeking — an opportunity to contribute and to receive honest feedback that can help them improve and succeed. A recent Gallup study reported that only 20% of US employees said they’ve had a conversation with their manager in the last six months about steps they can take to reach their goals.

Scheduling one-on-one meetings on a bi-weekly or monthly basis provides opportunities for coaching, mentoring, and relationship building that will support strong morale and give a sense of belongingness to your team.

What to ask in a one-on-one meeting

Use these meetings to focus on your employees and what they need to thrive.

Have conversations about their productivity:

  • Do they have what they need to do their job?
  • What hours in the day are they most productive?
  • Do they need help or further training?
  • Ask them about their successes and celebrate them.

Secondly, ask them about their well-being:

  • Are they taking breaks and managing their energy levels?
  • What are they doing outside of work to manage their mental health and do they need support with that?

Lastly, ask your employees how they feel about the team dynamic:

  • Do they feel connected and as part of the team?
  • What has a colleague done recently that made a positive impact?
  • On a scale of 1 to 10, how safe do they feel sharing new ideas?

Asking these questions will allow for an open two-way conversation. But, don’t be afraid to veer from the questions you had in your plan, sometimes that’s how you form the best genuine, trust-based relationships.

Where to begin

Investing time in your employees will have multiple payoffs. Just like the saying goes, “a person who feels appreciated, will always do more than expected.”

Here are some tips to help you make sure it happens.

  • Put it in the calendar and make it a reoccurring bi-weekly or monthly event. You have to make it a priority!
  • If something comes up, don’t cancel the meeting. Reschedule it ASAP.
  • Communicate with your team members individually about the purpose of the one-on-one meetings. (Hint: The answer is in the first paragraph.)
  • Plan ahead about what you want to discuss. Let your team members know in advance what you plan to talk about so they can know what to expect and prepare accordingly.
  • Be present and take notes.

Want to hear more?

If you’d like to discuss the topic of one-on-one meetings further or have any questions, we’d love to hear from you!

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