Have you ever thought about going one-on-one with an employee on the basketball court? At a coffee shop? At your favorite restaurant? As long as you have a meaningful conversation about the employee and his or her experiences at your business, you can have a one-on-one anywhere. Along the lines of, “stop and smell the roses,” stop working and invite an employee to meet outside the office for some one-on-one time. It may seem hard to make this a priority, but the return on investment is high and well worth your time.
Why Conduct One-on-One Meetings?
You may think you know your employees, but do you really? What’s Erika’s favorite tennis shot? Did you know that Timothy was an Economics major in college? Milli is a visual learner and has three dogs. All these tidbits of information give you insight into what benefits are important to your employees, their strengths in the workplace, how to approach their assignments and, perhaps most importantly, how to retain your valued employees. You may find out about employee relations issues before they become “issues.” You can clear up a misunderstanding before it affects an employee’s performance. Are you starting to become a believer? If so, think about incorporating the following into your one-on-ones.
1. Give Employees the Floor
Start by asking the employee an open-ended question to get them talking. A simple question like, “What are your plans for the weekend?” will inevitably lead to a revelation about the employee’s family, interests or hobbies. Not only will you glean information about the employee, the employee will feel heard and valued, gradually leading to a strong and loyal bond between the two of you.
2. Talk About Their Job and Goals
Ask the employee how their job is going and what challenges may be present. Gradually lead to a discussion about the employee’s goals for that quarter or year. If the employee does not have any set goals, help formulate them. Ask if the employee has the resources needed to accomplish the goals and if there is anything you can do to help. Save discussions about the employee’s performance for another time. If the employee feels the conversation turn toward performance, he or she may clam up and not feel free to open up.
3. Ask for Suggestions
Employees are a great resource for workplace suggestions. They are on the front lines and may be privy to things you are not. Ask them for ideas about streamlining workflow, improving communications and boosting morale. Take their ideas and brainstorm ways to make them a reality. Agree to circle back to the ideas at your next one-on-one.
4. End on a Positive Note
You want the one-on-one to end in a constructive way with both parties feeling it was worthwhile. Give the employee any deserving kudos for a job well done on a project. Restate action items agreed upon during the meeting. Confirm the date and place of the next one-on-one with a reminder your door is open should any concern need to be addressed before the next one-on-one.
How Can Smart HR Help?
As you can see, one-on-ones are an excellent way to build strong teams and encourage open communication in the workplace. To put an even finer point on it, according to a recent report by Gallup, employees whose managers hosted regular one-on-ones with them were nearly three times more likely to be engaged compared to employees whose managers did not. For assistance rolling out and promoting one-on-ones or to obtain management coaching on how to make them effective, contact Smart HR. Smart HR consultants have seen first-hand how transformative these meetings can be and are here to help you create your own success story.