Research from the likes of the Corporate Executive Board and Deloitte found that having regular one-on-one meetings (also known as “check-ins” or “one-to-ones”) with employees had a much greater impact on their performance than annual appraisals alone. But what should be discussed at these check-in meetings? How should they be structured?
We’ve created a one-to-one meeting template that you can use to help your employees and managers structure their regular discussions.
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What is a one-to-one meeting template?
One-on-one meetings are a key part of effective communication between managers and employees. They allow employees to share their achievements, set goals, and give and receive feedback in a safe and supportive environment. A one-to-one meeting template can help to ensure that these meetings are productive and focused.
The template should outline the meeting format, timing, and objectives and provide space for employees to share their thoughts and ideas. By following a meeting template, managers can ensure that they are conducted effectively, efficiently, and focused on the employee experience.
Dos and don’ts of one-on-one meetings
One-on-one meetings are a crucial opportunity for managers to check in with their team members individually and address any issues or concerns. However, they can also be awkward and stressful, especially if you’re unsure what to do or say. To help you make the most of them, here’s a checklist of dos and don’ts.
Focus on the employee
One of the most important things to remember when conducting a one-on-one meeting is that it is designed to be about the needs and wants of the employee. This is not the time for the manager to do all the talking. Instead, focus on getting to know what the employee is looking for from the company.
How can you help them to achieve their goals? The one-to-one meeting template should be used as a guide to help promote open communication and ensure that both parties are on the same page. By focusing on the employee, you can build a stronger relationship and create a more productive work environment.
Any successful meeting starts with proper preparation. Leading a one-on-one meeting means being familiar with your notes from previous meetings and having a clear plan for what you hope to achieve. The template is a great tool to help you stay organised and on track.
By taking a few minutes to prepare beforehand, you can ensure that it will be time well spent. These catch-up meetings are an opportunity to build relationships, solve problems, and get feedback. By being prepared, you can make the most of this valuable time and come away with tangible results.
Keep them private
To get the most out of one-on-one meetings, it’s essential to ensure they’re private. That means booking a room to use or finding a different area if you don’t have a dedicated meeting space. Both parties need to be able to talk freely without interruption or distractions, so a private room is essential. Once you’ve found the perfect spot, use your template to help structure the meeting and get the most out of it.
One-on-one meetings are regular occurrences in most workplaces, but they can often be ineffective or even counterproductive. One of the best ways to ensure that they are productive is for both parties to take notes. This way, each person has a record of what was discussed and agreed upon and can refer back to it if there are any misunderstandings.
Taking notes can also help to prevent them from devolving into complaint sessions — instead, they can be focused and constructive conversations. So next time you prepare for one, don’t forget to bring a notepad and pen. It will make all the difference. Make sure that your notes are action/outcome-based, and after each meeting, you should take a few minutes to jot down key points and action items.
Those notes will help to ensure that everyone is on the same page and that tasks are completed on time. Additionally, using a one-to-one meeting template alongside your notes can help to structure future meetings more easily and make them more productive. By taking the time to develop a system that works for you, you can build strong relationships with your team and foster a productive work environment.
One-on-one meeting FAQs
What’s the point of one-on-one meetings?
One-on-one meetings are a regular, structured check-in between a manager and an employee. They’re an opportunity for the manager to give positive and corrective feedback and set expectations for the coming period. For the employee, they offer an opportunity to raise any concerns, ask for help or clarity on expectations, and give updates on progress.
When done well, they can help to improve communication, performance, engagement and retention. Of course, they’re also a chance to catch up on a personal level and get to know each other better. Whether you’re using a template or not, investing time in your discussion can pay off in the long run. Well-planned meetings can help to create a strong bond between managers and team members.
As a result, one-on-one meetings are an essential tool for any leader who wants to build a high-performing and collaborative team.
What are the benefits of one-on-one meetings?
There are many proven benefits to holding regular one-on-one meetings with team members. First, it helps to improve engagement by ensuring that each team member feels heard and valued. Second, it can boost productivity and staff satisfaction by allowing employees to share ideas and problems in a safe and confidential setting.
Finally, regular personal meetings have been shown to reduce turnover, as they help build trust and improve communication between managers and employees and are vital for any manager who wants to get the most out of their team.
Using one-on-one meetings to separate good managers from the bad
It’s a common adage that people leave managers, not companies. And there’s a lot of truth to that. A bad manager can make even the best job feel unbearable. But a great manager can make even a tough job feel rewarding. So what separates the good managers from the bad?
One key difference is how they handle one-on-one meetings. A good manager will use them as an opportunity to build trust, give feedback and ensure their team members are on track to hit their goals. They will have identified the discussion points necessary for a performance conversation, ensuring the meeting flows easily.
A bad manager, on the other hand, will see them as a chance to micromanage and nitpick. As a result, their team members will start to dread them instead of seeing them as a valuable opportunity to connect with their manager.
A good manager will use one-on-ones as an opportunity to get to know their team members on a personal level and understand what motivates them. They’ll also use them to give feedback and help their team members troubleshoot any challenges they face.
What value do one-on-one meetings bring to an organisation?
One-on-ones are beneficial because they help to build trust and communication between employees and managers. When everyone is on the same page, it can help to improve productivity and morale. They also provide an opportunity for employees to receive recognition for their work. In short, they are valuable because they help to build solid relationships and promote a positive work environment.
One-on-one meetings are important opportunities for leaders to connect with their team and get to know them better. They are also a chance for leaders to identify emerging leaders in their ranks. In today’s competitive business landscape, it is more important than ever to promote from within the company.
Emerging leaders bring fresh perspectives and new ideas to help the company grow and thrive. Additionally, promoting from within helps to build morale and loyalty among employees. Employees who see that there are opportunities for advancement are more likely to be engaged and motivated in their work.
When one-on-one meetings are used to identify and develop top talent and emerging leaders, it is a win-win for the company and its employees.
What’s the difference between one-on-one meetings and performance reviews?
One-on-one meetings and performance reviews may involve a manager meeting with an employee, but they serve very different purposes. One-on-one meetings are typically held regularly — such as weekly or monthly — and provide an opportunity for the manager to give feedback, offer support, and help the employee set goals. In contrast, performance reviews are usually held annually and are focused on assessing an employee’s past performance.
Those annual performance reviews can often create tension and anxiety, as employees worry about being judged or criticised. Performance reviews may also be less effective, as they can occur too infrequently to provide meaningful feedback. As a result, performance reviews need to change, as one-on-one meetings are generally seen as more beneficial for managers and employees.
Using the one-to-one meeting template
One-on-ones can also be easily derailed if they’re not properly planned. That’s why we’ve created a one-to-one meeting template to help you make the most of them.
The frequency of one-on-one meetings tends to vary by organisation from weekly to quarterly. Monthly meetings are a good starting point.
One-on-ones are most likely to happen when they are initiated by the employee. This is the approach that Deloitte advocates for its own employees.
One-on-one meetings have the most impact when the employee owns the agenda and runs the meeting.
The meeting will be more effective if the employee reads the prompt questions and prepares some points for discussion in advance of the meeting.
The employee should do the bulk of the talking with the manager asking questions and actively listening.
Not all questions in our one-to-one meeting template need to be discussed every single time. Ideally both parties should read through the prompt questions, but only discuss the most relevant items. This keeps the meetings from getting too long.
Meeting appointments should always be kept whenever possible. If a meeting must be postponed, it should ideally be rescheduled for the same day or the next day.
Agreed action points should be followed up as soon as possible after the meeting.
One-on-ones will have a greater impact on employee performance and employee engagement if managers are trained in how to give effective feedback and use coaching techniques.
For more information on how one-on-one meetings and performance management systems are evolving, explore our blog.
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