One of the processes I implemented early on when managing others was to have individual monthly meetings. Since I have already given points on team meetings in a previous post Making Meetings Matter, today’s blog will focus on the importance of regularly scheduled one-on-one meetings with your employees.
Some may question why a supervisor would need to take additional time from an already busy schedule to meet with employees individually, especially if a team meeting already occurs every month. However, there are a variety of benefits, including an increase in retention, better communication and a decrease in disengagement.
Prior to meeting, both the employee and myself would complete a form, which we would then review during the actual one-on-one. Here is the format I used:
- What’s going well – In this section, I would note three things that the employee has done well since last time we met. This could be a project (s)he is working on or completed, a positive customer service experience or a suggestion (s)he came up with to streamline a process.
- What needs improvement – In this section, I would note areas that may need to get better; for example, quicker turnaround or getting back from break on time.
- Goals/action items – In this section, I would note any ongoing or future goals I would like to see the employee working on. These could be short-term in nature and due by the next one-on-one or a long-term goal of several months.
- Miscellaneous notes – In this section, I would put any other information that did not fit neatly into the above areas.
Other points to keep in mind include the following:
- Be consistent – Try to keep the same schedule in terms of the date/time of the one-on-one meeting. Also, if possible, try not to cancel them. This shows that you value and care about the employee and that these meetings are important to you.
- Turn off distractions – Along the same lines, be attentive and really focus on what the employee is saying. Avoid checking email, voicemail or texts.
- Listen to ideas/suggestions – It is also critical to find out if (s)he has any feedback regarding procedures and processes, as well as ways to improve the team culture within your department. Many times, (s)he may have more knowledge about these topics. Whenever possible, implement these ideas to show you trust his/her judgment.
- Save time for small talk – If the employee is open to discussing personal issues, make sure to be interested. Ask what (s)he is doing this weekend or how the kids are doing. This goes a long way to increasing loyalty, communication and a positive work environment.
- Follow-up, as needed – If there are any items that need to be followed up on prior to the next one-on-one meeting, make sure to do so in a timely manner. Show your employees that you value their time and input by getting back to them.
What are your thoughts? Do you have any personal stories you are willing to share? Please feel free to ask questions or share your experiences below.
- The Secret to Effective One-on-One Meetings with Direct Reports
- How to Conduct an Employee Meeting
- How to Possess Good Communication Skills in the Workplace
Jeremy S. joined Empathia in 2007 as Manager, Client Care Services, then became an Account Manager/Sales Consultant in 2012. He is also a certified wellness and tobacco cessation coach. Jeremy has a bachelor’s degree in Psychology and a master’s degree in Organizational Development. Prior to joining Empathia, he spent 14 years in the EAP industry in a variety of managerial/leadership roles at another behavioral healthcare organization. Jeremy enjoys reading, photography, music and spending time with his wife and daughters.