One-on-One meetings - what are your thoughts? Don’t know why you should have them? No time to prepare for them? When was your last One-on-One Meeting with one of your team members?
Let’s start with a definition: A One-on-One Meeting is a regular “check-in” between two people in an organization – typically a manager and an employee. The definition can be interpreted such that a One-on-One Meeting can also be used as a relationship builder with other touchpoints in the organization, and I can definitely confirm that they work!.
Why are they important for the relationship between a manager and an employee? In a Nugget earlier this year I wrote about Engagement and how this is being measured by the Gallup Q12 (12 questions Gallup asks to measure Employee Engagement). One-on-One meetings are a vital tool which will contribute to your team members answering these questions positively. To be more specific: You can positively influence at least 9 out of the 12 questions when holding regular One-on-One meetings.
It is important not to just go through the motions of having another regular meeting with an individual on your team. For your employees to rate One-on-One Meetings as a positive experience you need to invest in them and not view such encounters as a burden. They are not an add-on to your role – they are foundational to it as this can be a place where leadership really happens. One-on-One Meetings have the potential to build trust and psychological safety and increase your team’s productivity. Additionally, in a hybrid working world, these regular check-ins help to stay positively connected.
When setting them up, let your team members know what your intentions are and what not. The One-on-One is THEIR (the employee’s) space where they can voice what they need your support with and enable their personal and professional development. One-on-One’s can be good coaching conversations as well. Importantly, point out that your intention is not to micromanage.
Ideally, the employee drives the agenda – urge them to come prepared with a list of their choice topics. In the meeting you then first work through their list and thereafter yours. Here are some ideas of what kind of questions you can ask:
What should we discuss so this meeting is of value to you?
Which part of your job do you find most enjoyable? Least enjoyable?
How can I support you better?
What other areas/projects are you interested in?
How does your current job support your long-term goals?
Once you have set up regular meetings, avoid cancelling them! Team members may feel that they are low on your priority list. If you must cancel, reschedule them right away.
Do the maths: A meeting of 30 minutes each week with one of your team members is only a time invest of 25 hours over the course of a year. This is a very small price for what you get: higher retention rates, less time spent on recruiting and onboarding, your employee’s engagement, motivation and development.
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