The notion of meetings in company culture is changing across the globe. Companies are now becoming more employee-centric than ever before. The methods of communication between employers and employees have become more personal as a result of this. One on One meetings are now becoming more of a norm for having a healthy employee-employer relationship and a transparent company culture.
Earlier most of the communication between managers and the employees were only limited to either group meetings or casual over-the-desk chats. In both the ways, there was a little or absolutely no window for an employee to express his/her concerns more openly. Even for the employer, this created a barrier for knowing their employees better.
However, the definition of work has changed dramatically in the 21st century. Employees now seek purpose in their work and employers want employees to get engaged or emotionally attached to their work. And it won’t be wrong to say that 1-on-1 meetings with the employees is the first step towards achieving better employee engagement.
According to a report in Harvard Business Review,
Employees who got little to no one-on-one time with their manager were more likely to be disengaged. On the flip side, those who get twice the number of one-on-ones with their manager relative to their peers are 67% less likely to be disengaged.
Moreover, companies like Adobe and GE who adopted 1:1 meetings have seen a significant impact on their workforce.
So, as proven, 1:1’s help improve employee engagement and increase the productivity of employees.
However, there are certain things that the employer or the manager needs to keep in mind before proceeding with one-on-one meetings.
9 Important Tips for Successful One on One Meetings
1. Be an Active Listener
“Don’t listen just to reply, listen to understand”. When you interact with employees on a personal level, you should hear them out very precisely. Use the moment to know how they feel working for the organisation, what they aspire to be and their action plan to achieve their targets. These things will help you understand your employees and your team very well. This also imparts your sincerity and seriousness for solving any issue your employees may face. Also, you’ll be able to answer their queries in a very effective manner.
2. Take Notes
Taking notes during meetings is a good practice. This helps all involved in the meeting to put emphasis on the important call to actions discussed. Follow the same for the one on one meetings as well. Making notes of the discussions between you and your employee will help both to prioritize the tasks assigned and actionable outcomes of the meeting.
3. Always be Open Minded
One on one meetings does not always need to be about work or internal company affairs. Sometimes you can go light by asking about the wellbeing of your employees. You can indeed start by asking them how they are doing or how they are feeling about their work before proceeding with the rest of the agenda items. Adding some humour to the conversation is also fine. Starting light will help employees’ open up more freely as you keep on progressing with the conversation.
As a manager, you can also ask them to rate your management skills. This will instil the thought in your employees’ about how much you care for them and want to improve it further. Eventually, it’ll help in your career growth as a manager.
4. Set the Agenda Items Beforehand
If you want the 1 on 1 meeting to be effective and successful while also saving some precious time of both you and your employee, then share necessary details beforehand.
This enables both you and the employees in the following ways:
- Help both to be precise and stay on topic during the meeting.
- Streamline the process of knowing each other.
- Saves crucial amount time.
The time saved will enable you to engage with multiple employees’ in a day. However, you can still leave some time for you and your employee to encourage a free flow of conversation. This also helps to build better camaraderie which is very essential for a healthy workforce.
5. Be Well Prepared
We all prepare before doing anything which we consider important. Similarly, treat the one on one meetings with your employees’ with utmost importance. Always prepare the topics to cover prior to the meeting. Also, try taking 30 minutes break before beginning with a one on one meeting. Take this time to cool down from your work stress so that you stay focused when you enter into a deep conversation with the employee. Doing proper research beforehand will leverage your employees’ to think that you notice everything. And also you remember the things discussed during the past one on one meetings.
6. Map Out a Proper Schedule
Always organise one on one meetings when you have an ample amount of time to hear out your employees and convey your own ideas. Don’t schedule such meetings amidst a busy work day or keep it for before the last office hours or take it up during breaks. Moreover, refrain from cutting one on one meetings short or in between if you are busy elsewhere or keep on postponing because you aren’t ready.
One-on-Ones are very important in order to make sure both your employees and you, as a manager, are on the same track. Moreover, schedule one on one meetings from time to time based on your own and your employees’ convenience. You can opt for monthly, quarterly or at the most half yearly time periods for organising 1:1 meetings. Organising it at regular intervals will help achieve the action items and also keep a track of any action plan decided previously.
7. More about Your Employees
As a manager, you must refrain from hijacking the entire session during a one on one meeting. These meetings should be solely about the employees where they speak and you sincerely listen. Let the conversation be about them their goals, achievements, issues, team member and everything relevant to them.
However, here I don’t mean that as a manager, you should just sit and listen. Join the conversation in a very subtle manner. Play your experience card to instil the thought in your employees’ that know you understand their concerns and will be there to help them out.
8. Somewhere in The Fresh
Being a manager or someone in a top administrative level, you might have the privilege of getting your own personal closed door space. Even though it showcases your authority in the organisation it takes you away from your employees. Having a one on one conversation with an employee inside your closed door office may prohibit him/her from speaking freely.
Few suggestions for places where you can conduct one on one meetings are like
- The Lobby
- Office Garden
- Talk over coffee at the cafeteria
- Even the concept of walk and talk can be applied here
This helps in making the situation light and comfortable for the employee to open up freely.
9. Leave on a Positive Note
No employee should leave demotivated after one on one meetings. One-on-One meetings play a huge role in achieving a bigger picture i.e. employee engagement. The ultimate aim of these meetings is to bridge the gap between employees and their managers.
Carrying out an effective one on one conversation may become difficult during tough times. However, make it a point to motivate your employees after every 1-on-1 meet. Advise and help them out during the difficult times and also never miss a chance to appreciate them when times are good. This is also the most sought after quality of a manager that many employees look forward to. So no matter whatever the outcomes of a 1:1s are, always wind it up with a positive note.
It may not be always possible to keep a check on status updates about how your employees perform at work. The one on one conversation helps the employers’ gauge the employees’ abilities which further helps during performance reviews.
Even though one-on-one meetings could be time-consuming, it helps both the employee and the employer in the following ways
- Develops better mutual understanding.
- Build trust and confidence.
- Enhance transparency in the workplace for a healthy work environment.
- Helps the managers foster their coaching skills by improving their listening and guiding abilities.
- Adds more weight to your employee engagement best practices.
Furthermore, such meetings also help the managers foster their coaching abilities by improving their listening and guiding skills towards the employees.
Thus, conducting one on one meetings is a great way to support your team and build better work relationships within the organisation.