In most companies, employees get one on one time with their managers only once a year during their performance appraisals. One-on-one meetings are about getting to know the people you work with better. They are about discussing higher-level things such as feedback, professional development and career goals. Ultimately, such meetings exist to help you figure out how you can make good employees happy and keep them around.
Here are 5 basic rules for planning and delivering effective one-on-one meetings:
1. Schedule one-on-one meetings regularly, at least once a week
This allows the employee and manager to have frequent, individualized communication. This will prevent problems from festering, allow for immediate feedback and promote open communication.
2. Create a safe environment for discussion
The meeting does not have to be a formal one or guided by forms or templates. Consider changing spaces by meeting in a relaxed spot such as the staff lounge, but do ensure that the room is closed with no interruptions such as mobile phones or others walking in and out of the room. By creating a safe environment, employees are more likely to be at ease and open up about their concerns.
3. Prepare the agenda
It is not necessarily a slideshow presentation, but it is important to establish the purpose of the meeting. Some suggestions could be:
a) Discuss what’s going well
b) Review progress on a current project
c) Acknowledge adjustments made from a previous project
d) Uncover any issues that is preventing the employee from doing their work well
4. Let the employee do (most of) the talking
One-on-one meetings are about them, not you. Listen actively and allow employees to have sufficient them to talk about their concerns, be they personal or work-related matters. This is also an appropriate time to ask employees for feedback on you. What can you do to help them be more successful at work? Do not get defensive and thank the employee for being honest. This will go a long way towards building trust between your employee and you.
5. End on a good note.
Before wrapping up the meeting, ensure that both parties have a clear idea of what has been discussed and the list of items to take action on. This is because your preparation for the next one-on-one meeting begins when the previous one ends.