How to Have Effective One on One Meetings [4 Essential Elements]
One on one meetings are essential for successful performance management and the over all employee experience. The meetings allow managers and team members to check-in on a regular basis, in a meeting setting where the focus is on the employee. Not only is the one-on-one meeting a great way for the supervisor to interact with the employee and show their staff members that they care about them, but it also promotes transparency, communication, employee performance, and more.
In this article, we explain how to have effective one on one meetings.
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Defining One-on-One Meetings and Their Importance
The definition of a one-on-one meeting (also known as 1:1 or 121), lies within the word. It is a meeting between two people within a company, hence one-on-one, most commonly between manager and employee. The meeting is specifically designed as a check-in between staff members and is a great opportunity for employees to get their voices heard which can otherwise diminish in bigger team meetings. It can be used in many different ways, but most commonly it is a regular type of communication used to give feedback, develop relationships between leadership and team members, and motivate.
As a general rule, a one-on-one meeting focuses on relationships and well-being in the workplace, rather than duties and deadlines. Regular meetings with employees are a key component of successful performance management. For managers, it serves as an uninterrupted time to check-in on employee performance and goals and objectives. It is also a great opportunity to delegate accountability and get to know their employees on a personal level. For employees, it serves as a safe space to ask questions, get feedback on their work, and do goal-setting. For a company as a whole, by conducting one on one meetings, the organization promotes a company culture where it is clear that they care about their employees beyond their tasks.
Benefits of one-on-one meetings
There are several benefits to regular face-to-face meetings between a manager and employee. Not only does it provide a chance for employees to speak up and managers to show that they care about their workers, but 1:1s have been shown to improve team morale and loyalty. By having an open communication channel between the supervisor and every employee, you can expect to improve:
- Employee experience
- Job satisfaction
- Employee turnover
- Organizational performance
- Interpersonal skills
- And more…
How to Make Your One-on-One Meetings More Effective
One-on-one meetings work like any other meeting; the more you are prepared, the more effective the meeting will be. Without recognizing the significance of the 1:1, the meeting might end up being a waste of time. To avoid this, it is essential for managers to facilitate the meetings in the best possible way. Below, we list 4 essential points to cover to make your one-on-one meetings more effective:
Preparation and agenda creation
If you are organizing an important meeting with clients, do you prepare a meeting agenda? Most likely, your answer is yes. If you normally create meeting agendas, why would you not do it for your one on one with your employees? As meeting agendas are used to optimize the meeting minutes and outcome, it is a critical part of making your one-on-one meetings more effective.
The agenda creation does not have to be long, just simply write a list of topics or action items you would like to discuss with the attendee. You can write down these topic points throughout the week as you notice anything happening within the organization or the employee performance. For the best possible outcome, all employees should also write down if they have anything important they would like to discuss.
Set a recurring schedule
The most important part of having effective one on one meetings is to make sure that they happen at all. To optimize the effect of the meetings, we recommend organizing them on a weekly basis, or at least three times every month. To ensure that they happen, set up a recurring appointment in your and the employee’s calendar and plan the logistics behind it.
By doing this, the meeting is set from the beginning of the week and will be a priority in your weekly agenda. You should really avoid canceling the meeting, as it will make your employees feel like they are not a priority on your list.
Have the right mindset
Although one-to-one meetings focus on the employee, this should not be considered a time for supervisors to sit back and relax. For an effective meeting, it is required from team leaders to listen actively and provide constructive feedback. A good manager sets clear expectations for the employees and helps them form their goals and objectives.
Get personal and show them that you care about their performance improvement. Be open-minded about what they have to say and listen for any development opportunities for yourself. If you approach it with the right mindset, this can be an excellent opportunity for you to receive feedback on your mentorship and management skills.
At the end of the meeting, summarize the meeting notes by clarifying key takeaways and action plans for both the employee and manager. To ensure that the topics that have been discussed during the meeting do not end up being wasted, keep track of the development, and follow up on the topics in the next meeting.
Relevant Topics to Discuss During Your One on One Meeting
To make your one on one meetings as effective as possible, there are certain topics you should not miss out to discuss with your employee. Below, we list the most important topics and provide examples of questions that could be asked:
With the right questions, managers can get valuable insights into staff members’ work performance. To improve your performance management, try asking these questions:
- What are your plans for this week?
- What are the challenges you have been faced with since the last time we spoke? How did you overcome them?
- What can I hold you accountable for when we meet next time?
Team collaboration and work environment
Interpersonal interactions and work environment should be key topics in one on ones, as they are often left out during other meetings. By asking the following questions, you can gain understanding of your employee work life and team collaboration:
- What do you think about our teamwork?
- Are there any interactions you would like to discuss?
- What do you think of the company morale?
- What could we change at the office to make it more pleasant for you?
One on one meetings are an excellent chance for leaders to gain insight into how to engage employees. To find out how to improve employee engagement, ask the following questions:
- What are your top priorities for this week?
- Which one of your tasks do you enjoy doing the most?
- What is your least favorite daily task to do?
Goal setting and talent development
During the one on one meeting, the managers can help their staff members in creating measurable employee goals that can be evaluated in future meetings. To set goals and keep track of talent development, consider asking the following questions:
- What do you think of your current goals? Do we need to adjust them?
- Is there any project you would like to be a part of?
- What are your long-term professional goals? How are you working towards them right now?
Manager performance and improvement
As mentioned before, not only is this a valuable time for employees to get feedback, but it also creates an opportunity for the team leader to be held accountable and get feedback on their leadership. Although most employees might be reluctant to provide negative feedback to their employer, by asking the questions right, you can get invaluable answers on how to improve your leadership. For example, in your next one on one meeting, try asking these questions:
- What can I help you with between now and the next time we meet?
- How is everything going with the people you work with?
- Can I assist you in any more way in your job performance and career development?
- What do you think about our meetings? How can they be improved?
Software that Improves One on One Meetings
Nowadays, human resources provide multiple software to improve the employee experience. The management system can also be utilized to make your one on one meetings more effective, as they provide resources for managers and employees to use before, during, or after the meeting. PeopleSpheres consolidates all your HR software on a single platform, allowing all staff to manage their HR tasks in a single place.
With PeopleSpheres, managers and employees do not have to go across different software and user interfaces to follow up on the action topics from the meeting, even though they are across different spectrums of HR management (career development, communication, performance management, goal setting, etc.) By gathering all HR software in a single place, it gets easier to manage your employees and track their development, while improving employee experience.