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!

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