The manager-employee relationship is fundamental to how we all work. All divisions, departments and teams are built on these relationships. 1-on-1 meetings are for the team member’s benefit.
When employees are informed, the feeling of involvement increases, along with the sense of ownership that results from a great employee experience. The employee’s role is to take responsibility for what they need from you as their manager. Your responsibility is to provide support and add value to help your team member perform at their best.
How often should 1-on-1s be held?
Research tells us the optimum is weekly but practical experience tells us fortnightly or at least monthly is more the ‘corporate norm’ as businesses become comfortable with a more continuous approach. This allows for frequent, individualized communication. If a 1-on-1 needs to be cancelled due to an overriding commitment by either party, try reschedule and demonstrate your commitment to your people.
What is the best length for 1-on-1s?
Most meetings should typically last about 30 minutes. Longer or more frequent meetings can be scheduled as needed. A good rule of thumb is at least 80% of the time is all about your team member and no more that 20% on messages you need to share – as a manager it can become too easy to hijack the meeting and it’s not about that.
How should employees prepare for 1-on-1s?
These catch-ups should require very little preparation – they are meant to be informal and conversational. However, do encourage team members to log any talking points they’d like to cover in the lead up to the 1-on-1 so they can maximize their time with you and not forget in the moment. Let employees know they can discuss anything that’s on their mind, whether it’s roadblocks, current goals, career questions, values, culture, learning….
If team members don’t have any talking points, it’s your role as a manager to ask forward-looking, coaching style questions that will open up a productive conversation and demonstrate your interest in their progression. Eg. What tasks do you really enjoy, or happily volunteer for?
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