It's about Time You Should Implement an Organisation-wide Policy on Weekly 1:1s
Updated: Jul 14, 2022
Good management is the most valuable benefit that a company can provide to its people. People are much more likely to be engaged in the workplace when they regularly interact with their supervisors and constantly share feedback (both ways). What is the most effective manner for supervisors to engage and share feedback with their reports? Begin by getting comfortable with 1:1 meetings.
This guide covers all aspects of approaching 1:1s from both a supervisor and a report's standpoint. It's time to maximise your most important meetings, i.e., 1:1s.
Did you know?
Weekly 1:1 meetings are held by only 48.5 percent of managers (source)
Only 23% managers discuss alignment with the company's mission during 1:1s (source)
On average, 42.4% of one-on-one meetings are rescheduled (source)
A 1:1 meeting (also known as a 1v1 or one-to-one meeting) is a regular check-in among two people in an organisation, usually a manager and their direct report. It is used to provide feedback, keep everyone informed, resolve issues, and help participants develop in their positions.
What distinguishes the 1:1 is its free-form, employee-focused nature that extends beyond status updates.
It is frequently regarded as the most critical gathering you can hold because it establishes the basis for a willingness to trust and constructive professional relationships.
1:1 conferences can also occur between staff and their mentors, their boss's boss (skip-level 1:1), or anywhere else that makes sense. Even so, in this guide, we'll concentrate on the standard manager-employee check-in that's part of an ongoing performance management process.
Top challenges managers have with 1:1s (source)
Significance of 1:1 meetings
1:1 conversations are essential for increasing employee satisfaction. According to Gallup research, staff members who have regular 1:1 meetings with their managers are three times more likely to be involved. This is significant given the high cost of disengagement.
According to this research, 86 per cent of highly engaged organisations use regular manager-to-employee 1:1 gatherings, especially compared to only 50 per cent of disengaged organisations.
1:1 meetings also are essential for a new hire, team, and organisational performance: Adobe saw a 30% decrease in voluntary turnover after switching from annual performance reviews to frequent 1:1s. GE did the same thing and saw a fivefold improvement in productivity.
These meetings are crucial, as evidenced by the data. They have a significant effect on the success of employees, teams, and organisations.
Goal of a 1:1 meeting
Simply put, the primary purpose of regular 1:1 meetings would be to mentor employees – to help people manage their roles & responsibilities as well as they can.
What exactly does that mean, you may wonder? Many organisations talk about the benefits of coaching but don't do it: this could be because supervisors don't know what good coaching looks like!
If you're a manager who is new to 1:1 meetings, keep those 3 magic bullet points in mind the next time you go in, and bring a sense of curiosity and openness with you. Importantly, maintain a collaborative problem-solving outlook rather than expect the team to solve issues on their own.
Be wary of management maxims that obstruct the free communication exchange in your organisation.
Now that we've discussed how 1:1 meetings should be conducted, let's look at what you should discuss.
Gratitude & Appreciation: While public recognition is often sought after, its personalisation is equally important. 1:1s can be a great way to show your coworkers that you notice and appreciate their efforts.
Progress on KPIs or OKRs: While KPIs or OKRs are regularly tracked asynchronously, 1:1s provide a great opportunity to reflect on the progress, clarify on alignment, identify blockers and provide support.
Feedback: 96% of employees believe that feedback should be shared continuously. 1:1s provide that opportunity for both upward and downward feedback. Additionally, peer feedback can also be discussed during these meetings to strengthen the alignment and provide support.
Development: Everyone seeks to upskills themselves and grow professionally. Internally, companies do provide lots of upskilling opportunities via learning programs and projects. 1:1s can serve as a great opportunity for supervisors to understand the report's growth aspirations and coach them through the steps required to get there. With continual discussions, the growth & upskilling can be regularly tracked and course corrected.
Advantages of 1:1 meetings
As an employee, 1:1 meetings enable you to receive the feedback and guidance you require to succeed in your role and advance in your career.
Your manager becomes a partner in your success by listening to you and providing timely guidance.
1:1 meetings provide you with the security of knowing exactly where you stand based on constant feedback from your manager. If you need to change your course, you will be aware of it and, hopefully, will do so in time. 1:1s also provide a space for you to discuss topics that are difficult to take up during busy workdays.
As a manager, 1:1s assist you in guiding the development of your team members, resolving issues early on, and improving employee retention.
You must engage and bond with each individual to unleash the potential of the people you manage.
There is no quick way to make genuine connections. Devoted 1:1 discussions create space and trust needed to ensure that you know what's on your group members' minds – and that you can take action to keep them happy and productive.
These meetings are also an excellent way to receive timely upward feedback to help you grow as a manager. By having to ask your team members how you can help assist them, you can learn what is expected of you as a supervisor and enhance your position.
A regular 1:1 meeting culture is not only beneficial to individuals but also has an impact on the company's bottom line.
Aside from the link between managers' success and business success, regular 1:1 meetings are an excellent tool for improving engagement. When each employee has the opportunity to understand from their manager on where the organisation is headed and how their work fits into the larger picture, they become much more invested in the company. And engagement is a well-established predictor of retention and productivity.
1:1 meeting Tips
How frequently should you meet?
Many managers wonder, "How frequently should I have 1:1 meetings with my reports?" Is once a month enough, or should it be weekly?
The answer is straightforward. What makes a difference is that you develop the habit of having 1:1s in the first place. Aside from best practices, you must establish a tone of voice that works for both you and your team members. However, there are some general guidelines to follow.
The sweet spot for 1:1 meeting frequency is once every year or two for 30 to 60 minutes. This range is promoted by Google re: Work, Kim Scott, author of Radical Candor, and many others.
Regular 1:1s should be the standard. However, depending on the depth of collaboration and the number of incidents, you may want to reduce the frequency of 1:1 meetings. Think about having bi-weekly gatherings if you and your reports work closely together and can talk all day.
It's fine to contact your team every week with more than five members.
Monthly 1:1s ought to be the exception since a lot could happen in a month, and you run the risk of losing feel with your folks.
Where and how to meet are the logistics.
Face-to-face conversations are the most rewarding form of communication. As a result, whenever possible, meet in person. If you cannot attend the meeting in person, instead of cancelling it, switch to the next-richest medium: video.
When you and your coworker are in the same office, a small conference room is often the most convenient and quiet space. Go for a walk outside, visit a café, and relax. Once you've established a solid 1:1 routine, consider shaking things up by leaving the office now and then.
But, wherever you meet, choose a location where both members feel at ease speaking openly.
Try to get as near to a face-to-face discussion as possible in a remote setting. According to Zapier's CFO Jenny Bloom, the company's 100 per cent distributed team conducts 1:1s via video chat. Because nonverbal cues are essential for communication, video chat and in-person meetings outperform text and phone calls. Effective remote 1:1s necessitate a solid software system. Invest in reliable internet and high-quality audio and video for every participant – it will be well worth it.
Preparing for the 1:1 meeting
Making preparations for a 1:1 meeting guarantees that nothing essential slips through the cracks and that you make the best use of the time of both participants. Don't rush through a rigid plan; instead, jot down agenda items for the meeting.
Having an agenda ahead of time allows you to be more concise and specific during the discussion. Having a shared agenda also helps the other person to come prepared for the coming session. It allows you to be more concise & specific during the discussion, thus improving the productivity of 1:1s.
Summarising the discussion and communicating it with the other participants – either during or after the meeting – ensures everyone is on the same page. It also makes following up on discussed items easier. You can also keep private notes to maintain a personal best of how the 1:1 went and capture main takeaways for reference in the future.
1:1 meetings are beneficial whether or not notes are taken, so do whatever works best for you to establish a regular meeting schedule. However, keep in mind that just a few minutes of taking notes can go a long way.
Most productive meetings end with identifying a few action items for the participants. But do you know that more than 50% of meeting participants do not keep a track of these action items. Missing on properly recording and following up on the action items is one of the main reasons why meetings may seem less productive.
During 1:1s, both the supervisor and the report should mutually discuss the action items, identify tasks that need to be executed and define clear owners. Ownership ensures accountability leading to better success rate in completing the tasks. It’s even better if you timebox the tasks and define a follow up protocol.
Why your organisation should Adopt a tool for 1:1
Traditionally, 1:1 meetings are left to the managers & employees to conduct at their own discretion. However, this leads to varied adoption and lacks the efficiency of a planned framework.
Below are the top 4 reasons why you should adopt a tool to conduct 1:1 in your organisation.
Continuity - For recurring meetings, it is important to be aware of the context & discussion in past meetings. A 1:1 tool can help you record all previous meeting threads in one screen.
Collaboration - It is important for both manager and their report, to contribute to the agenda of their upcoming meeting. This ensures the meeting is Both participants can work together on the Meeting Agenda, Notes, and so on.
Keeping Track of Action Items - Planned activities can be added as tasks and monitored on the platform to ensure that all stakeholders are aware.
Establishing a cultural practice - Business and hr rulers can track and drive organisational adoption and compliance.
PS: If you are looking to adopt a tool scaling productive 1:1s practice in your organisation, write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We'd love to help you accomplish it.