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

8 Ways You Can Learn To Love Your Job – Even When You Absolutely Hate It

It’s that time of year again, the 14th February, or in other words… Valentine’s Day. A day that celebrates love. Whether you’re jumping at the chance to surprise someone with chocolates, or cursing all the loved up couples whilst crying alone into a tub of Ben and Jerry’s, nobody can deny that celebrating love is something simple and sweet.

But why should February 14th be restricted to those in the thralls of romantic bliss?

Whatever our plans are this evening, it’s likely that on this Tuesday we’ll be stuck at work until they happen. In fact, the average person will spend around one third of their life working. What’s more, the annual Sunday Times Best Companies to Work For awards are coming up next week, full of companies with employees that love their jobs and really enjoy going to work. That’s great for them, but what about those who aren’t so lucky? Here are 8 ways we can learn to love our jobs that little bit more..


1. Think about what you enjoy at work… and ramp it up


Focusing on the areas of your job that you really do enjoy will give you the strength to get through the less enjoyable parts. Whether that may be the flexible work hours, the interesting projects, opportunities for development or the great bunch of colleagues you work with, focus on these areas and try to embrace them even more.


2. Make a change, however big or small

The root of employee unhappiness is often boredom. Instead of lulling around spending time feeling sorry for yourself and thinking about how bored you are, take the plunge and modify what’s getting you down. Start challenging yourself and think, “What would give me more joy at work?” And then make it happen. Be persistent in adding worth to what you bring to your job, and it’s likely your boss will notice and reward you for it.


3. Volunteer – either through your work, or on the side

Volunteering can help you to escape the dramas and negativity in your own life, and allow you to gain perspective on the needs of others less fortunate. If your employer initiates the volunteering it can help to build relationships amongst co-workers, as you work together to make a difference.


4. Keep up to speed with your field of expertise

Don’t get left behind in your chosen industry. Becoming complacent may mean that when interesting opportunities arise at work, you may not be adept enough to grab them. Read trade publications or set up a Google Alert that tells you about news in your industry. Remaining in the know, and up to date with industry trends, may empower you to come up with your own projects that you can start. Plus it means you can really own your area of the business, and people (including your boss) will come to you when they need knowledge or advice about something.

5. Take the plunge and ask for more duties

Think about your current position and dissect it in order to identify a new responsibility that will challenge and excite you. Listen to conversations carefully and make sure you’re aware of any upcoming projects or positions that you can put your name in for. Say yes to new assignments. If all else fails and you can’t think of any yourself, or aren’t aware of any upcoming, then schedule a meeting with your manager and ask them. It’s likely they might not be aware that your task load is thin, and they’ll welcome the fact that you’re showing your initiative and demonstrating interest in your work.


6. Declutter your desk, then create your own office nest

If your office space is messy and overwhelming it can make employees feel low on energy. Clear out as you go. Take rubbish out of overflowing drawers and declutter your mail inbox. It’s liberating and empowering, and it will allow you to go on to create your own office nest. We spend so much time at work it’s important we try to make our own area as enjoyable as we can. Make your space your own by decorating your area with photos of loved ones, and make yourself as comfortable and relaxed as you can be.


7. Move around more

Most of us are likely to work in an office and stay seated for the majority of the day. This can cause us to feel sluggish, and also may contribute to health concerns such as weight gain, heart disease or eye strain. Find time to go on a short walk, run up and down your stairs, take a quick gym class (where possible), or stand up and do a short 10 minute exercise. This short break will not only benefit your health but will put you in a better place mood-wise as well, helping you to enjoy the rest of your day more.


8. Finally, smile and laugh more

Smiling and laughing are so simple, but really can help us to enjoy work more. They tell your brain to be more happy by releasing neuropeptides. A recent Gallup study discovered that those who smile and laugh more at work are more engaged with their job. Improving engagement will mean you’re generally happier and more enthusiastic, and people will be more likely to want to have you on their team. At the end of the day most of our troubles at work are quite trivial, so try not to be so serious; couldn’t we all use a laugh anyway?

Want to find out more about how you can love your job? Visit our website or follow us on Twitter @getmotivii  

Communication Tips

For employees

Effective communication with your manager is crucial for yourself, and your company, but it really starts with you. You must approach it and deliver it in a particular way in order to get the most out of each discussion. Follow these tips to ensure that you and your boss communicate as effectively as possible:

  • Schedule your meetings: First things first you need to find some time to figure out with your boss what is the most effective method of communication. They may prefer a monthly catch-up, or they may decide to implement an open door policy. Either way, working out when and what is best for both of you is really crucial, and it will provide structure to your communication.
  • Start at the bottom line: Once you have a set meeting schedule in place get straight to the point at these catch-ups. Start your story at the end, and work backwards if necessary. For example, as a marketer you may say, “We have 50 more leads, and this is why…” This helps to keep the conversation streamlined and focused , and you’ll both get much more out of the brief catch-up. In short, don’t beat around the bush.
  • Always use data if you can: Words can be interpreted in many different forms; data, however, speaks for itself. To ensure clear and concise communication always opt for data and let the numbers speak for themselves. Data is facts, and these facts will then spark communication and conversation. Aesthetically speaking, visuals always go down well. So if you can include visuals or images do so – the information will be much more pleasant to read.
  • Don’t shy away from problems: If problems arise at work don’t shy away from them; face them head on. Tell your boss when things aren’t going right, and communicate to them the solutions you have prepared. This will generate a faster, problem-solving conversation between you both and will nip the issue in the bud before it spirals into something much bigger.
  • Communicate what you’re thinking about the business: If you have particular concerns or success related stories about the business, inform your manager. A good manager would enjoy hearing how his employees feel about the organisation. Speaking to your manager about the company will help them to see things from someone else’ perspective. Feedback should be a two way process; it’s important to feed back up the chain about your own thoughts and feelings.

For managers

Good communication is essential for informing people at work what is happening and where the business is heading. Here are some quick tips on how to boost communication with your employees:

  • 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.
  • Look to the future: Weekly meetings often focus on what’s happening week-on-week. However, what’s also important is having a plan around where you want to go as a team and a business. Everyone should know about the longer term plan and how they can contribute to its success.
  • 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 acts as a training programme for new staff. Sharing files via Google drive or making them accessible on your company intranet is a good start.
  • Have an ‘open door’ policy: An open door policy encourages open communication, feedback and discussion about any matter of importance to an employee. It also shows that you care about their feedback, and are willing to listen at any time. So, if you have the time, this is a great one to implement.
  • Personalise your communication: Send round a personally written email each week to each employee about important topics for the business, or things that you are concentrating on. This will help you to truly connect and engage with your direct reports, and will enable communication in your organisation to flourish. Also, when employees email you about something try to think of them as clients. How quickly would you like to respond to a client question? Within 24 hours? If so, have the same mentality for employee emails.