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The Why and How of 1-on-1's

How do you increase motivation and engagement of your employeesIn short, by making work meaningful and providing connection, trust, and belonging. 

Employee engagement, development and retention are vital to company success and research shows that employers could prevent three out of four employees from resigning (Work Institute, 2018 Retention Report). Providing continuous performance feedback by implementing 1-on-1s is a key ingredient to engage, grow and retain talent.  

1-on-1s are regularly scheduled meetings between employees and managers which create a dedicated space for consistent conversations around employee development. These meetings also create ties between the employee and the organization, it’s purpose and mission, while fostering additional trust. Data from a recent Reflektive survey proves that employees who have productive 1-on-1s with their managers are 2X more engaged than those who don’t, and 3X more likely to stay at your company over the next 2 years.  

Below are key tips on how your organization can establish successful 1-on-1s:  

  • Implement a format: Create some structure for 1-on-1 meetings by providing a framework for your team to utilize as a starting point, such as the “GOOD Form” which reviews Goals, Obstacles, Opportunities, and Decisions. Another format is the “Stop, Start, Continue” model which asks what the employee should start doing, stop doing and continue doing to be more successful. The format you implement should foster developmental feedback and accountability, while providing flexibility for the manager and employee to adapt for their needs.  
  • Establish a rhythmIn order to be successful, 1-on-1 meetings must be consistent and regular. Bi-weekly 1-on-1s which last around 30-45 minutes are most successful. At minimum, they should be held once per month. While the frequency may differ based upon each employee’s needs, it’s imperative that employees know they can rely upon these meetings. Managers are responsible to ensure 1-on-1s are scheduled on a recurring basis, which shows the managers’ investment in giving the employee dedicated time focused on their development. If something imperative comes up, the 1-on-1 should be rescheduled, rather than cancelled which could send a negative message that the meeting isn’t a priority.  
  • Prepare: To create collaborative 1-on-1s, establish expectations for both parties to come to the meeting prepared. 1-on-1s give managers the opportunity to recognize employees’ recent wins, provide coaching feedback, hold employees accountable, discuss what could be standing in the employee’s way of success and how to overcome challenges. Managers should review notes from previous 1-on-1 meetings and create a list of key items they’d like to discuss with employees during the meeting. Managers should also articulate in advance if the employee should fill out a specific form or agenda the day before the meeting.  
  • Ask questions: The 1-on-1 creates a space for managers to dig deeper into employees’ engagement, morale and their wellbeing. Asking questions such as “How are you feeling these days?”, “What support do you need from me?”, “What are you most proud of since our last 1-on-1?” allow managers to dig deeper into how to help employees be successful and shows commitment to the employee as a whole-person. Managers should also dig into employee’s feedback by using phrases such as “Tell me more…”, “How so?”, “Why’s that?”.   
  • Create action items: Setting clear expectations and timelines will help managers and employees stay accountable and focused. Typically, both the manager and employee should have a call-to action to complete or work on before the next 1-on-1. These objectives should be clearly notated to refer to and hold each other accountable for success.   

 From the outset, 1-on-1 meetings may sound daunting for managers and employees. However, the meetings reap successful benefits and return on investment for employee engagementdevelopment, and leads to better employee and manager relationships. 1-on-1 meetings helpboth the employee and the manager learn, adapt and develop new skills and leads to increased engagement, motivation, retention and productivity 

Looking to re-vamp your performance management conversations, contact a OneDigital HR Consultant.