Tips for having better one-to-ones

Tips for better 1:1s: How can you better engage with your people?

  • Plan for your catch-ups, and do so before (not in them). Have a think about what you want to say in the meeting look back on what was said and actioned in the ones previous. Clarify what the goal of each 1-2-1 should be. Has your direct report followed upon what they said they would do. Come armed with some key questions, that go beyond the “what have you been up to”, contemplate getting past the simplistic defaults of manager – employee conversation.


  • Schedule your 1-2-1s in weekly (or monthly if more appropriate), with each individual. Doesn’t matter how senior or new they are. People need feedback and support, and to understand that they are important. Millennials are often pinpointed with needing more directive guidance. Saying, “my door is always open” is not always enough and can be intimidating for a new recruit. Actively engineering a meeting shows that to your employees that you care about them and that you want their feedback.


  • Don’t conform to a particular structure of 10/10/10, because 30 minutes might not be enough and because arbitrary structures like this may trivialise the actual conversation and limit important ideas or information that may come out in the 33rd minute. Have some idea of what you want to discuss: such as what has been successful at the moment, what hasn’t gone so well and what do they want to focus on next week. Catch-ups don’t always have to be about work, you can make them personal. Ask how your employees are feeling: Do they feel like the get enough recognition for good work? Do they feel like they can get constructive feedback?


  • Plan for the future. Each 1-2-1 is useless if there is no follow up or connecting point. What needs to be achieved in the next week, month, six months. Engage with your direct reports on what their career goals are what they want to achieve for the future. In and outside the company. Make sure you leave the meeting with a clear idea of what you would like to talk about in the next meeting. Similarly helping your employees set objectives can be a great way to guide them with their long-term development and goals.

Did you follow up on what you said you would do?  Holding yourself accountable for your actions, sets a precedent that your direct reports will follow.

Employees value communication from their manager not just about their roles and responsibilities, but also about what happens in their lives outside of work.

  • Face to face. Catch ups are best when they are completed in person. Email and Slack messages don’t quite cut it, people are able to hedge over their emotions and it can be difficult to get to the root of things. While face to face is a luxury afforded to people who work in offices and not at home. Managers can schedule a catch up in person monthly for remote workers and use google hangout in between.
  • Don’t miss your 1-2-1s, it sends out a message to your employees that more there are more important things than their time. Perhaps you block off the same half an hour for a person each week. Or you block of a half day for all of your team, to chat to them. Find what works best for you, but don’t miss them.

Enjoy your next one-to-one!

Found this advice useful? Follow us on Twitter @getmotivii

Setting objectives- a phenomena not just for January

So, we have left 2016- a year harangued by celebrity deaths and seismic political shifts, but have you taken the time to reflect on how it went for you? Did you achieve what you set out to, did you set any goals at all?

It might be almost half way through January,  but there is no time like the present to address your goals and objectives for now and the rest of 2017.

How do you want to succeed and progress as a person and in your career?

Start by pinpointing exactly what you want from work and how you can get there efficiently. Understanding what you want from your actions, and what you will gain, may be the first steps to actually getting there.

Make goals Specific

We set hard aspirational goals for ourselves that are often too broad to be attainable . But as David Kadevy reasoned “the bigger the goal the easier it is to give up on it.”

In light of this it may be useful to break our big goal down into smaller more specific objectives. Starting with specific and easy to achieve goals we can form goal completing habits that can be transferred into bigger objectives at a later date. Kadevy wanted to write a novel and was so overwhelmed by the prospect of it that he broke it down into writing a 100 words every day. The easier the goal, the more ridiculous it is to make excuses not to do it.

Big things happen because of small things, which means that if all you do is “go big,” you’ll never actually get to your goal.- Jeff Rodman, Polycom

For instance my larger goal may be to improve digital marketing at Motivii, but by breaking it down into smaller objectives over the course of the next three months I am more likely to reach my goal. For example, ‘Get clicks to the website up by 50% in three months time’, or ‘get 1,000 more followers on twitter by next March,’ or ‘get an article about Motivii on a well read online magazine’. The possibilities of these larger goals are endless but when broken down into bite-size steps that I can review and reflect on each week I am more likely to achieve them.

Set a time frame

Objectives may be long term goals or short term goals, but without setting a specific time period we often don’t follow through with our objectives. This might be signing up to do a half marathon in six months or completing a work-related project. Setting a time frame means that we HAVE to complete our objectives by a certain date – keeping us both motivated and accountable for our objectives. 

Share it with your manager

Studies show that when you share your objectives and goals with colleagues or managers you are more accountable for the outcome of them. Not only do you make promises to yourself, psychologically in your mind you’ve made promises to them too! Managers and mentors can be great supporters, especially if they have experience in your field and what you are working towards. Often when sharing your goals with your managers they become your biggest cheerleaders.

Making personal objectives that aren’t directly to do with work can help influence your work life and vice versa. Whether it’s going to the gym three times a week or getting clarinet lessons; setting up personal habits can help form good habits in the workplace.

Don’t forget to track the progress of your objectives and mark them off as done when you have completed them!

Ps. With Motivii you can now set objectives!

What I am really thinking… Enter the Graduate Employee


A month in, what has it been like for the new graduate employee?

Here are my five top tips:

  1. Be assertive– If you feel like you have nothing to do, you probably aren’t working hard enough. If you don’t have anything to do, bite the bullet and ask someone. There is no point twiddling your thumbs waiting for someone to give you some work. Everyone may be too busy to remember to give you work, so don’t be shy or afraid to go mining for work.
  1. Communicate – Tell your manager how you are doing or request a one-to-one if you feel like you are losing direction or track. You can always tell your manager if you want more work or if you are struggling. Asking for help, or what may seem like a stupid question, should and will be interpreted as interest and progression. Communicate to yourself what you want to work on each week and take time to reflect on how your week went and what you want to achieve for the week ahead.


  • Say yes – To almost everything. By being curious and open to learning new things you can develop your skills in areas that you didn’t expect to. Your job title is fluid and your tasks won’t always fit into what you signed up for. Be excited about learning new things, for example If you start in a marketing job, why not say yes to learning about data and programming. Say yes to social and networking events; it can be a good way to learn about your company, other companies they work with and also how to meet new people.
  • People are just humanIn my first week and by the end of the first month I’ve been in the room, on the phone and working with companies who could be described as “scary” or “very corporate”, yet one has to realise that there are humans behind the corporate masks just like ourselves.
  • Be a rebel (within reason)Break away from conformity and make a pathway for yourself that deviates from the mediocre and unthinkingly acquiescent. Committing to the status quo will only commit yourself to boredom and malaise. By expressing yourself and being who you are you can explore your strengths and weaknesses.



P.S.A. HALLOWEEN SPECIAL: Do you have looming spectres in your workplace?

Some areas of work might seem a bit too spooky and scary to deal with. We’ve alligned some key areas with our favourite halloween monsters.

Here are a few tricks and treats to help solve the situation

(bit like magic really)

  1. Organisation- Dementer  triwizardmaze_pm_b4c31m1_dementorintriwizardmaze_moment  

Often in some companies turnover can be very high or fear their security in their own job. This can lead to people losing sight of the product or services they are providing. Organisation issues have to be remedied to help retain key talent.


  • Understand: what is your company’s mission, what is it trying to do, how do you feel about this? Value: what are the values of your company and do you agree and relate to these values. Customer: do you know what your customers think about you. Impact: What impact are you having on the above? How can you help improve things at work?
  • Identify and solve an organisational problem; a great way to advance your career is to identify a problem within your organisation and propose a solution for it. By offering to put your solution into effect you will increase your visibility as problem-solver within the organisation, whilst expanding your skills along the way.

2. Team- Wolves


Sometimes in companies there can be lone wolves in the wolfpack, often leaving many employees to feel alone and like their work isn’t worth being valued by their colleagues. Similarly in the work environment it can be hard to create strong friendships outside the workplace. Team collaboration can be one of the most important areas in businesses succeeding.


  • Organise team building sessions: People work better together if they get along. It’s just part of our natural human instinct. As a manager it is up to you to organise events that will help foster relationships between your team. Big or small, formal or informal, everything counts.
  • Encourage and welcome advice: If relationships are suffering or you’re finding it difficult to work well with your team, ask your manager for advice. Rather than complaining about your colleagues, which likely won’t go down well with your manager, ask them for advice on how they think you could improve certain relationships.
  1. Communication- Zombies


At time we can be left in the dark about where our company is going. Similarly without frequent two-way communication between employees and managers it is difficult to know when things are going well in terms of performance and also motivation levels at work. Often managers forget that employees, like their customers and clients, need support and attention to be the most productive and motivated to do the best job possible.


  • Don’t shy away from problems; If problems arise within work, don’t shy away from them; face them head on. Tell your boss when things aren’t going right, and communicate to them your prepared solutions. This will generate a faster, problem-solving conversation between you both and will nip the issue in the bud before it spirals into something bigger.
  • Make internal knowledge and documents easily accessible: especially important for newer employees, making internal documentation easily accessible is a great way of boosting communication and can even act as a training programme for new staff. Sharing files via Google drive or making them accessible on your company intranet is a good start.
  1. Wellbeing- Edward Scissorhands


Long hours and lack of sunlight are no longer vogue in the modern workplace. Commonly in the workplace we are pressed for hard work rather than clever work, which can be detrimental to employees well being. Hard work often doesn’t allow employees to do what they are best at. For engaged employees, wellbeing and mindfulness should be respected and encouraged in the workplace.


  • Promote a healthy lifestyle: adopting a healthy lifestyle is a key element in improving your workplace wellbeing. For example if you’ve got a busy afternoon, a heavy lunch probably isn’t the best option. Nor is skipping it completely.
  • Drink lots of water: water is the key to a healthy mind and body. Make sure you drink enough and you have access to it at work. Get into the habit of having a glass or bottle at your desk
  1. Manager – Voldemort


Managing can be hard, while we all know we need to better managing ourselves it can be difficult to manage other people at the same time. Some managers may find themselves too busy to give feedback to their direct reports. But they do not see the importance of giving praise to their employees. Similarly employees can often feel that ghost-like managers do not respect or value the work that they do, therefore they become disenchanted and disengaged with the tasks at hand.


  • Schedule catch-ups into your monthly routine: Town Halls, or simple monthly meetings, are a great way for everyone to share what’s happening and ask questions. This helps keep everyone in the loop. Motivii has recently launched a ‘Meeting Mode’ which would be really useful for these meetings; it summarises everyone’s weekly reviews into one page which you can all discuss together.
  1. Development- Chucky


Sometimes the path of work can get a bit spooky and unknown. Without good managing employees can lack direction and development can be stunted. Without opportunities to learn and grow within a company a general malaise can settle and morph into prolonged discontent and stagnation.


  • Engage your manager in a career discussion; Talk to your manager about your thoughts for the future, and come together to create a clearly defined career
  • Attend courses to broaden your skills; once you have investigated what is necessary to achieve your career goal, start broadening your knowledge immediately. Attend courses and workshops that help deepen your knowledge and naturally accelerate the process to achieving your goals.

How to get that ‘Hygge’ feeling in the office?



Autumnal series part 1 of 3

Hygge; the intrinsic feeling of satisfaction and well-being that Scandinavian’s do so well with their mindset and interior design.  Hailing from Denmark with many different meanings and interpretations, pronouncing it like “hug” sounds appropriate. Yet with the autumnal leaves falling and the slow malaise of winter arriving now may be a good time to bring a bit of Hygge into the office.

How can you make your workplace more Hygge and become a hyggeligt manager?


Talk to your employees about what they want in the office and how they want the office to run. Showing that you care and consider their thoughts is not only good for morale but performance as well.  You want to make your employees feel like they can be at home while at  work.

As Zrinka Lovrencic, Managing Director of workplace and consulting firm Great Places To Work Australia, said a great workplace is one where you trust the people you work for, have pride in what you do and enjoy the people you work with”

But creating this vibe at work is difficult unless you talk to your employees and gage how they are feeling.

2.Feedback to one another..

Don’t be another H.I.P.P.O* in the room. By moving away from top-down to two-way communication you can discuss things that may never have entered your brain or theirs. You can also find out when things are working in the office and when things are not.

As Claude Levi-Strauss said ‘The wise man doesn’t give the right answers he poses the right question’

3.Be flexible… But also set guidelines.

People work at different paces and in different ways. Asking them how they want to work may be beneficial for their productivity. People can be present, but also absent. If one of your employees is suffering from major brainblock/ pumpkin hangover let them go. But set guidelines, letting them know that the day after they are going to be working off the pumpkin pie in the office.

By embracing flexibility as  a manager you can focus more on output rather than hours, which creates a culture of productivity and performance rather than the daily dredge.

*HiPPO- highest paid person’s opinion

In summary, before you focus on Sushi Fridays and Pumpkin Spiced Latte Mondays, focus on the emotional wellbeing of your colleagues first and communicate with them about what they want.

Part 2 out of 3 on pimping your office in Zen style coming soon!


6 ways to become a Time Wizard



Don’t worry, it won’t take long to read this!


Michelangelo and Steve Jobs were given the same amount of minutes as us in the day, but it all depends on how you use them.

Here are some tips to help you become a time wizard and manage your team more efficiently:

  1. Make time strategic

In the workplace some issues are of more strategic value than others. It is up to the time- canny wizards to decide what is the most important to be dealt with first. Michael Mankins found that 80 per cent of a manager’s time is devoted to less than 20 per cent of a company’s long term value. Thus a manager needs to be focused on decisions, not always non-strategic discussion.

A good way to address decision making is through…

  1. Structured team meetings

Online engagement tools can help structure and inform team meetings. Employees can reflect on the past week by looking at what they have achieved, and similarly what they have found difficult. By doing this they can consolidate their focus, and self-manage what their goals are for the next week. As a manager you can use this information to amplify discussion and create a structured pathway for team meetings.

Online engagement tools also allow employees to express how they feel right away, preventing issues within the organisation being dragged out from quarter to quarter. Similarly engaged and structured team meetings can show managers that teams are acting on what’s been agreed to in meetings.

  1. Keep meetings short and punchy

Planning meetings beforehand, and keeping a time limit on them, allows people to be focused and stay attentive. Be firm and address the key issues at the beginning of the meeting. Be engaged and don’t allow yourself, or your employees, to be distracted from work by other work.

  1. Keeping focus

Many employees and managers admit to doing emails or other work during meetings which can cause them to drag on and lose focus.  As the common saying goes: better to do something well or not at all.

Often we attempt to do 1000x tasks at once but at times the quality of our work is not always tiptop, meaning that more time has to be spent later correcting the work we do. In light of this we should prioritise what is most important and do it first.

  1. Make little changes to make your life easier

A common myth is that in order to manage time more efficiently you need to change yourself drastically. Little steps towards better time management can help in exponential ways. For example, you can use online personal assistant tools to go through emails; highlighting the most important ones and push the less important ones to the back. Use mechanisms to track emails sent by you, schedule emails for particular times and then follow those emails with automated canned responses to save your time and much needed brain power.

  1. Be kind to yourself

Sometimes you just can’t do everything. With an increasing workload, taking more breaks can help with efficiency. Exercise and practicing mindfulness can help you step away from work and re-calibrate. Learn how to say no and to delegate. Often we take on too much because we want to do the best job, but as a manager or an employee there are people in our team who can help us.

In summary, we can’t do it all, but as William Penn said

“Time is what we want most, but what we use worst”

So take a minute to think how you can make use of your valuable time better.  


The death of the employee survey?


“The annual engagement survey is too slow, too coarse and not very useful.

Replacing them with a new set of tools run on mobile is the future to understand the workforce.”

Josh Bersin – Deloitte

The term “employee engagement survey” dates back decades, but instead of fulfilling its rightful purpose many employees and managers alike see it as a waste of time. Why? Administering surveys annually, or sporadically throughout the business year, creates data that is no longer accurate and useful to anyone. In a rapidly changing business environment, what is the use of “old news”. If an employee has already been disengaged for seven months prior to the annual survey, they may have already cost their manager and their team lots of money and valuable time.

A disengaged employee not only wastes company time, but also their own. But with weekly meetings and a holistic approach, issues can be addressed immediately.  There is no magic ball that can see into the future and predict how employees may be feeling in a month or two’s time.

The past is often useless and the future is unpredictable – all this leaves us with then, is the present.

Collecting feedback consistently and frequently throughout the year is the most efficient and cost effective way of being able to really hear what employees have to say.

Through apps and websites (Hint.. Motivii!) employees can review their week. Monitoring their own progress and their focus for the week ahead. Through t mangers do not have to chase their employees for feedback. Not only does this engage the employee but also managers can use this information to frame weekly meetings. New sets of tools on mobiles can help companies make employee feedback a holistic and integrated part of their business strategy, rather than using inadequate and useless annual HR measurements.

In turn, everyone’s a winner; if you have a motivated workforce, the working environment will flourish and profits and success will come as a bi-product of this.


Can you ‘flex’ as a manager?

 ‘Flexible’ or ‘agile’ working has been heralded as the new way to create efficient workplaces and retain key talent. By switching up the locations for the daily grind, workers can get more out of their daily work and this can create a more creative and enjoyable work/life balance.

However, how much flexibility do you give your employees? How do you balance creating a high performing team while giving employees the flexibility they want

Here are a few tips to help you ride the flexible working wave and ensure that your team is both productive and motivated.

  1. Rules

For flexible working to function properly there has to be clear detailed rules which everyone in the office agrees on. One of the principles of flexible working is to move away from the ‘hub’ (the conventional office) to the home and roaming (which is anywhere that isn’t the office or home).This allows employees to work in their favourite café like their 20th-century Parisian heroes or at home watching urban foxes in their tiny garden, this can do wonders for mental wellbeing but without some careful managing can create a disconnect between manager and team.

However, what if everyone worked from home every Monday and Tuesday the working week would go off to a slow start. We would recommend creating a plan, where all employees need to be in the office for key meeting and team building exercises.

  1. Keep your team updated

Keeping your team in the know about the direction the company is going in, whether it be in the long term or the short term, can be difficult. Flexible working might make this even more challenging, especially when you aren’t sharing the same air in the office. Managers cannot rely on guesswork to understand how employees are doing and vice versa with employees and the company. Online collaboration tools can be an interesting and advanced way in keeping in touch and making sure that everyone is on the same page.

  1. Flexible working makes weekly team meetings even more important: Without passing your fellow colleagues in the corridor or on the way to lunch it is difficult to know how exactly your team is doing. Flexible working can impact each individual in a different way and is important for teams to come together to discuss it. Team meetings also encourage employees to reflect on how their week was and take a few minutes to address their own productivity.

Weekly team meetings can be used as a brilliant way to check in with your team members and to set objectives with them, within specific timeframes.

  1. Keep your team creative and innovative

Some employees may express that they find it challenging working in alternative locations and miss the ‘water-cooler moments’ at work or even the physical community of working together in an office. It may be difficult to create or maintain social connections. As a manager you can organise creative meetings outside the office and non-work related social events. Keeping your team connected allows them to bounce ideas off each other and work together to find solutions for problems.

  1. Embracing smarter work/ life balance

Flexible working represents the movement towards a “smarter” view of work. Be careful to make sure that flexible working does not become an excuse for employees to be constantly on-call or for them to do nothing at all. Setting defined working hours for each individual separates work from home life but also gives guidelines for productivity.

In summary, to make flexible work “work”, you need to embrace giving employees more options and the technology they need to make the transition work. However, employees also need to understand the flexible working does not mean they just do what they want, they need to keep to some simple rules to ensure that work is truly flexible rather than brittle. 


Can you Manage a Millennial?



Tis’ the season to welcome young and fresh new employees and graduates to your team. Many of these new employees will fall into the group, commonly branded as Generation Y or the “millennial”.

As a manager it may be difficult to connect with the young graduate, fresh out of university with looming debt and the life experience of a tadpole. While they may come across as a generation misguided, where the concept of a first date has morphed into “Netflix and Chill” (if you don’t what this means email us!). With 91% of Millennials not intending to stick with their job for more than three years (Future Workplace), here are a few tips to help get the best out of your millennials and encourage them to stick around.

Embrace this technology knowhow

As a manager you can utilise and take advantage of young graduates’ tech literacy.  Many have skills and knowledge that delve deep into the world of communication, this can be harnessed towards the good of the company. Listen and be open to new tech ideas: Generation Y are at the forefront of the technological revolution and may know more creative and innovative ways to engage with your clients and customers. Whether it be instant messenger over email or technology-driven logistics plans.

Tip: they live their life on their phone, therefore consider work-related, interactive apps and online platforms to encourage them to feedback and engage with your business.

Structure is stability

Young graduates are used to being at a loose end; with vague essay assignments, “optional lectures” and few contact hours a week. You need to bypass this inefficiency and get your new employees to manage their own time effectively and to set attainable goals for them and your whole team.

Help young graduates practice mindfulness by helping them move past disjointed work hours and guide them towards weekly reflection of their work and their objectives for the next week. Check in with them frequently, using weekly meetings as a team and regular one-to-ones to ensure that they and you are getting the most out of their work. Using online formats (Hint Motivii!!), you can check in with your new staff and map their progress and struggles as well as monitor your own performance as a manager.

So in summary, embrace your millennial employees. Tap into their technology savviness to boost your business, but give them some structure each week to centre them and make sure they are part of a winning team.