If you are not running one-on-ones with your team members, you are missing out on a fantastic opportunity to build rapport and create a culture of transparency.
Because no matter how well-oiled your team is, one-on-ones go beyond getting a status update on daily projects.
They are about greater matters: an employee’s personal and professional development within the organization, soliciting feedback and creating an environment in which your employees are willing to be transparent.
Ultimately, your people will be more likely to stick around for the long haul.
Need proof? According to a Harvard Business Review study, the TOP 3 drivers of employee dissatisfaction are (1) the lack of recognition of employee achievements, (2) the absence of clear guidance and (3) not having the time to give meaningful commentary to the employee.
So if you're looking into introducing one-on-ones, which will give you that warm, bubbly feeling, here's a guide for you.
Use it to run silky smooth one-on-ones and foster a culture of transparency in your organization that will attract 90% of job seekers.
Put Your Team in the Know
First things first.
If you have never held one-on-ones with your team before, you may want to let your team know what these sessions are all about. This way your people will know what to expect from the get-go.
Set your team members’ expectations from the start by informing them that the purpose of these meetings is to help them feel included, informed, and supported in their day-to-day work. Then send a recurring calendar invite their way.
Build Cadence Through Consistency
After all, the key to running successful one-on-one sessions with your employees is to make them recurring rather than ad-hoc.
And there are several reasons for it:
- It will help you send a clear message to the employee that they are valued in the workplace.
- It allows for clear, consistent, and transparent communication between you and your direct and prevents them from interrupting you during the week with small questions. Instead, they will wait for your next scheduled meeting.
- Constant one-on-one sessions encourage a culture of continuous feedback, which adds to integrity within your organization.
Here is an important thing to keep in mind, though. Make sure you schedule one-on-ones with each and every team member — not only top performers.
Why? Because otherwise, you’ll be implying: there’s only a handful of people that are worth my time. The others aren’t as important and can wait.
The result of that?
The workplace engagement will increase with the employees you have met whereas the morale of those who you did not meet will be completely demolished.
Now, sometimes things come up, and you will have to do something about your one-on-ones. In which, you want to reschedule the meeting but never cancel it altogether.
On board? Great.
As for timing, try to schedule these meetings weekly, dedicating enough time to address all needs — at least one hour.
You can always end earlier if needed, but rushing through a 30-minute meeting will not provide the opportunity to explore ideas and provide coaching to your employees on their day-to-day responsibilities.
Let Them Run the Show
There’s a time and place when you should dish out your feedback. And that’s during the performance review meetings. One-on-ones should be all about the employee — unless, of course, something major comes up.
So put your employees in the driver’s seat and eagerly solicit feedback.
How? Start your meeting by asking the employee: So, how’s everything going? Any problems/issues?
This is a simple attempt at getting an initial data point that you can use to dig deeper into how they are progressing in their current projects, how they feel about their work, and whatever else that they want to bring up.
It should help you gauge their emotional, mental, and professional state of stability in their role and largely within your organization.
Stay on Top of What You Discuss
Next up, you want to fire up your shared Google Docs file, start documenting your one-on-ones and drive action.
A simple way to do this is to use the same document week in and week out, so employees can easily reference past projects they were working on, and keep an updated account of current tasks and projects (both short- and long-term).
It can look something like this:
- List here, including a general timeline
- List here, including all relevant details
The idea behind using Google Docs or another document sharing tool is great because it enables you to stay on top of things and have an archived history of things done or planned to be done.
Here is how you can use these shared documents to max out your one-on-one sessions.
Review the Action Items Prior to Each One-On-One
At the beginning of each one-on-one session, make sure you do the legwork before the next meeting to review what needed to be done. This will help you pinpoint potential roadblocks, which you can discuss in the next meeting.
Decide on Takeaways and Deliverables
Throughout the meeting, write up action items and make sure you are on the same page with your direct in terms of what needs to be done before the next meeting arrives.
The greatest thing about one-on-ones is that when employees come to you with a problem, you will not only listen to the problem you will actually take steps to solve it.
And that paves the way for trust and integrity.
At the end of the day, on-one-ones can supercharge your company culture allowing for transparency and higher job satisfaction.
But if you fail to treat each and every employee like they are worth every minute of your time, you will have disengaged employees who are unwilling to be integral and ready to jump ship.