What is 1-on-1?
A 1-on-1 is a meeting between an employee and their direct manager. It functions as a dedicated spot in the calendar when both sides can engage in an undisrupted conversation, and the leader can offer their guidance.
What is the purpose of a 1on1 meeting?
1:1 meetings are the foundation of your team's health. They give your employees individualized attention from the leader and act as a safe space for coaching, mentorship, and collecting/offering feedback. Employees can use their leader’s undisrupted attention to explain their point of view, or even display their vulnerability. That being said, it’s a perfect time for managers to show compassion and take steps to resolve any tensions.
1-on-1s are especially important in turbulent times. They’re the only mechanism for giving and taking constructive feedback and discussing long-term development plans. They give team members the feeling of care and empathy needed to thrive in a demanding, dynamic environment.
How often should you have 1-on-1 meetings?
1-on-1s should take place once a week for each employee. Each meeting should last a minimum of 30 minutes. The key is to hold 1-on-1s regularly, as team meetings (either status or boing ones) can’t replace them.
If you don't have time as a leader and you have to give something up, then give up some team meetings, but never compromise on 1-on-1s.
Can 1-on-1s replace status updates?
While 1-on-1s are crucial for your team’s health, you should also check in with your entire team regularly. Status updates and knowledge-sharing routines help reduce ad hoc support requests and prevent you from being drawn away from other work.
How do you conduct a 1:1 meeting?
Here is a list of best practices worth following:
1. Make sure you have an equitable approach
Your team members should feel that you acknowledge their need for guidance. Remember that employee seniority isn’t the same as employee awareness. All new team members (not only juniors!) need more attention before they reach their optimal productivity levels. In most cases, they’ll need extra guidance during the first six months of working at your company.
2. Allow for vulnerability
1-on-1s should be based around transparency, which also means that your employees might use them to vent and share their d dilemmas. This is particularly common during turbulent times (for example, when you introduce new ways of working, reshuffle your team setup, onboard multiple new members, or revisit your entire strategy). Use 1-on-1s to mitigate any tensions and show compassion.
3. Don’t drop team bonding & knowledge exchange meetings
Rather, treat 1-on-1s and team meetings as separate beings. Make sure that you don’t compromise longer weekly or bi-weekly team rituals in favor of 1-on-1s and daily status check-ins. Team bonding & knowledge exchange maintain your team’s sense of belonging and safety, and promote peer-to-peer learning. All of these factors are essential for keeping your team’s intrinsic motivation high.
Topics worth covering in a 1-on-1
Below is a list of areas worth discussing during your 1-on-1s with employees. Most often, they pertain to the following: performance, engagement, goals, professional development objectives, team leader feedback, and team cooperation.
Let’s look at some common questions for each:
Professional development objectives
Team leader feedback
Practical insights about work habits for a leader and a team
How do regular 1-on-1s impact business?
According to a study conducted by Gallup, employees who have regular 1-on-1s with their leaders note higher engagement and performance rates. A higher sense of belonging also translates to lower employee dropout rates – these decline by almost a third.
To reap the benefits, make sure you’ve got the right 1-on-1 practices in place. Here’s where our ONA platform can give you a helping hand!
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