Regular one-to-one meeting with staff can help motivate staff and improve employees engagement. Find out how to get the most out of this process.
How to Have One-to-One Meetings with Staff
One-to-one meetings with staff can increase employee engagement which improves productivity, staff retention and even customer service. Many managers, however, struggle to get the ebenefits from this staff engagement strategy.
It can be difficult to find the time for one-to-one meetings and hard to focus on the task at hand. As leadership coach, Kristi Hedges said, they can quickly become a, “a one-way delegation session.”
Here are the key ways to have effective one-to-one meetings with staff.
Employee Feedback Timing
Firstly, it’s important that managers build feedback skills. These create the right atmosphere between manager and employee.
Real Business also argues that a one-to-one meeting with staff should not just be an annual event. This is because issues should be dealt with directly and as immediately as possible.
It’s best to tackle problems head on so things don’t fester, persist and even get worse. This can lead to a contentious one-to-one meeting down the line which may not be productive.
Similarly, one-to-one meetings shouldn’t be mixed with annual reports around promotions and pay. These talks can colour the meeting.
An employee may not be right for a higher role, that doesn’t mean they’re not a valuable member of staff. Therefore, a one-to-one meeting should reflect this.
On the other hand, managers may find it to fit in one-to-one meetings. This can be due to their own workload and on first glance it may seem like there are no pressing issues.
A productive, team building idea like Snowball Fight can air grievances and save time. Whereas, RACI is a helpful tool for decreasing duplications of work, clarifying roles and again building teamwork.
This way employees can feel more open with their manager and each other whilst saving time for everyone involved. Doing these once in a while can bring up team issues and deal with them accordingly.
Boundaries of the Discussion
Before the one-to-one meeting starts the boundaries of the discussion needs to be set. These include:
- An agreement on the degree of confidentiality for the discussion.
- Dialogue needs to take place on whether notes are to be taken and if so, what will happen to them afterwards.
- The time available for the consultation needs to be agreed.
There also needs to be some structure set by the manager, this may involve questions driven by the business needs.
A one-to-one meeting should include a two-way conversation otherwise it can easily slip into old delegation habits. Even better, let the employee lead the conversation.
Asking them about their issues, goals and actions can be fruitful as the manager then doesn’t need to provide heavy-handed criticisms.
Again, the structure may include things that need to be asked but time needs to be left and wiggle room provided for things to unfold.
This helps the employee feel like they’re in the driving seat and will make them more open and honest. They will also be more open to the manager’s opinions.
Managers can add their insights and behaviours they’ve seen. They can then ask if the employee agrees and to explain their answer.
By adding a mix of observations on positive and negative actions employees will be more willing to accept constructive feedback.
Mentoring and Coaching
If the organisation has a mentoring program then this discussion does not need to focus on the goals set by the employee. Instead it can be a quick check-in on progress and the effectivity of the program.
This will save time for managers and put employees in charge of their own progression. Moreover, mentoring programs build employee relations.
As a result, staff will be more motivated towards their own goals and the manager can be freed up to have more efficient employee coaching responsibilities.
Once the employee has outlined how they will deal with the issues raised, the manager can add suggestions they both agree on. Then a future time needs to be set to check-in on the progress of these targets.
Employee Engagement surveys can also highlight the specific needs of a workforce. Therefore, resources can be saved on specific staff engagement strategies to improve talent management.
(Main image from Teamwork Leadership)