Listening is one of the most important skills that often gets neglected. Employees feel disengaged when their opinion is not heard, which in turn leads to lower productivity. Richard Branson, Founder of Virgin, spends time talking to employees and customers and listening to them. This principle permeates the entire organization. Incorporating such a culture, however, does not have to call for major policy changes. Just initiate meaningful discussions with your employees through the 1-on-1 meeting.
Importance of 1-on-1 Meetings
1-on-1 meetings are crucial to building strong relationships between managers and employees. Regular sessions ensure that all issues are addressed before they become unwieldy. It is also an opportunity for the manager to coach and mentor his team.
1-on-1 meetings bring the team together, communication channels open up, and productivity improves. Managers gain a better understanding of his employees’ strengths and interests so that they can be allocated to tasks accordingly. As a result, employees are happy and are likely to stay in the organization longer.
1. Create the Right Atmosphere
It is important to ensure that employees feel comfortable discussing issues and concerns during 1-on-1meetings.
2. Make Time
1-on-1 meetings need to be a recurring event. The frequency would depend on the size of the team and the experience level of the employees.
3. Prepare a 1-on-1 Meeting Agenda
The Manager and Employee must prepare a list of topics to be discussed. During the meeting, they can agree on which are the most crucial topics.
During the Meeting
1. A Great Beginning
Begin the meeting on time and with an open-ended question. This allows the employee to talk about what is troubling them at that time. It is best to turn off all interruptions (phones and laptops included) and listen.
2. Facilitate Solutions
1-on-1s are a great place to focus on specific challenges and work together to find a solution. Offering constructive criticism is important, even if it means addressing uncomfortable issues.
3. Get Personal
Managers must share their experiences. Even though there are important work related issues to discuss, set aside some time to talk about the employee’s career and personal life.
4. End on a Positive Note
Thank the employee for their contribution. Show them their efforts are appreciated. This will make them feel valued.
Pitfalls to Avoid
1. Canceling 1-on-1 Feedback Sessions
This gives an impression that you do not value this time with your employee.
2. Control the Meeting
Let the meeting be about your employee. Allow him/her to run the show.