The notion of meetings in corporations around the globe has changed. Companies are now becoming more employee-centric than ever before. As a result of this, the methods of communication between employers and employees have also become more personal. And likewise, one on one meetings have now become a norm across the industry.
Earlier, most communication between managers and employees was limited to either group meetings or casual over-the-desk chats. In both ways, there was a little or absolutely no window for an employee to express his/her concerns more openly. Even for employers, this has created a barrier to knowing their employees better.
However, the work culture has changed a lot. Employees now search for purpose in their jobs. And employers want their employees to feel engaged in their jobs. Hence, it won't be wrong to say that holding 1-on-1 meetings is the connecting bridge between them.
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 having twice the number of one-on-ones with their manager relative to their peers are 67% less likely to be disengaged.
Also, it's worth mentioning how 1:1's have positively affected the workforce in Adobe and GE.
Now you might be feeling that you should start doing the same in your workplace.
So to help you conduct 1:1 meetings like a pro. Below are some of the essential points you need to keep in mind before proceeding with the meetings.
9 Important Tips for Conducting Successful One on One Meetings
1. Be an Active Listener
"Don't listen to reply; listen to understand."
When you interact with employees face to face, you should be ready to hear them out very precisely. Use the moment to understand their concerns, their plans, and aspirations from the job.
This will help you accurately gauge the depth of the issue they might be facing. And accordingly, devise out a perfect plan to address those issues as fast as possible. Also, you'll be able to answer their queries in a very effective manner.
This will display your seriousness regarding the welfare of your workers. Thus, strengthening the bond that you share with your employees.
2. Make Notes
There's always a chance that you might miss out on one or the other important point in every meeting. Hence, making notes during sessions is a good practice. This helps you to revisit the crucial things discussed then later at any given time.
Follow the same while conducting one on one meetings too. Doing this will display your generosity and will to support your employees.
You can also use these notes later to find any common issues that your employees might face. And then take appropriate measures to address each of those issues efficiently.
3. Always be Open-Minded
One-on-one meetings do not always need to be about work or company affairs. Sometimes you can opt for having a good casual discussion with your employees as well.
You can indeed start with some light talks before proceeding with the rest of the agenda. Probably, take status updates of what’s going on in their lives and share something from your side as well.
Ask them some open-ended questions like how their day is going so far or how they feel working for you.
Also, note that adding some humor to your conversations is a perfect idea. It will help the employee feel relaxed and speak up freely as the conversation progress.
As a manager, you can also ask them to rate your management skills. This will instill the thought in your employees about how much you care for them and want to improve it further. Eventually, it’ll help in your own career growth as a manager.
4. Preset the Meeting Agenda
Sharing the agenda beforehand is very important for effective one on one meetings. It helps you avoid any awkward breaks that may happen during the conversation.
Doing this would help 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 a crucial amount of time.
And you can use this surplus amount of saved time to engage with multiple employees’ in a day. However, you can still have some time for you and your employee to allow a free flow of conversation. Thus, boosting the workplace camaraderie that you share with your employees.
5. Be Well Prepared
1-1s are not something that you can arrange or conduct within short notice. Even this requires proper planning to be effective and flawless. And that's why you should always prepare the topics which you might think are very important.
Similarly, you can ask your employees about the pressing issues. And later take them up during the one on one meeting.
Also, try to take a 30 minutes break before beginning with a one on one meeting. Use this time to let go of your stress so that you stay focused during the 1-1 discussion with your employee.
6. Map Out a Proper Schedule
Refrain from scheduling a one on one session amidst a busy schedule. I am saying this because you should be able to dedicate an ample amount of time during these 1:1's.
Also, don't organize such meetings during the off-hours or towards the end of the day.
One-on-Ones are very important for making sure that both you and your employees are on the same track. For the same, organize such meets frequently. This will further help you keep a close eye on the performance and development in your workplace. And also give you a clear idea about the action items to achieve and keep track of any action plan decided earlier.
7. More about Your Employees
As a manager, you must not take over the entire session during a one-on-one meeting for yourself. When you organize 1:1's, you are sending the message that you are there for your employees.
During the conversation, encourage your employees to speak out more openly. Let the conversation be more about them. Hear out their issues and praise their achievements in the workplace so far.
However, here I don't mean that as a manager, you should just sit and listen. Join the conversation in a very subtle manner. Try and explain the long-term goals which you want them to be a part of.
Instill the thought in your employees that you are always there to support them. Thus, cementing the base for ensuring a healthy work culture and an engaged workforce.
8. Somewhere in The Fresh
Moreover, if you're a manager or someone in a much higher position, you might enjoy your own closed space. However, the same closed area often takes you away from your employees.
They take your closed space as your turf, which bares them from saying things out loud and clear. For that exact reason, always try to have such meetings somewhere out in the open.
Few suggestions for places where you can conduct one on one meetings are
- The Lobby
- Office Garden
- Talk over coffee at the cafeteria
- Or you can even take them out for a walk and have your discussions
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.
Conducting an effective one-on-one conversation may become difficult during tough times. And here, I mean when the prevailing business conditions aren't in your favor. However, make it a point to motivate your employees after every meeting with them.
Seek advice from them and remember to appreciate them for their efforts.
This is also the most sought-after quality of a manager that many employees look forward to. So no matter whatever the outcomes of 1:1s are, always wind it up with a positive note.
It may not always be possible to keep a check on your employees' performance at work.
But one on one meetings bridges this issue by allowing you to know your employees closely. This way, you get to realize their concerns and gauge their abilities more accurately. And this, in turn, will enable you to give proper performance reviews to your employees.
Even if you think that one-on-one meetings are time-consuming, it benefits both you and your employees in the following ways.
Develops better mutual understanding.
Build trust and confidence amongst the team members.
Enhance transparency in the workplace for a healthy work environment.
Helps the managers foster their coaching abilities.