1-1 meetings are not exactly a new concept to many of us. Managers have been using meetings with their employees for years to gauge workloads, discuss any concerns and agree goals for the upcoming months. What managers may need to work on, however, is the way that 1-1 meetings are structured, how to get more out of 1-1 meetings, and crucially, how to truly actively listen to your employees during these personal meetings.
360 assessment tools are one way of evaluating your own performance as a manager to gain understanding into your own strengths and weaknesses that may have been transcending into your 1-1 meetings with your employees. 360 degree assessment tools allow you to receive feedback from multiple touchpoints in the organisation to get a clear picture of where you are now as a manager so you know where to improve for the future. After all, our number one mission is to ensure that everyone has a manager that takes responsibility and works on their management skills so employees can receive the best support possible.
What is the purpose of a 1-1 meeting or management touch point?
When first joining a company, many managers are told that they must carry out regular 1-1 meetings with their employees as it’s “just the way we do things here”. But just like you would explain the purpose of a project, shouldn’t managers know exactly what’s expected of them in 1-1 meetings and how to have 1-1 meetings that are impactful for the employee? With more employees now working from home it’s more important than ever to schedule regular 1-1 meetings with your staff and ensure your managers have the necessary levels of emotional intelligence to manage remotely. Even if it’s just to check-in and see if your employees are on track for their targets, since ultimately, the purpose of 1-1 meetings is to build on the following:
- Support in the development of your employees
This can be personally or professionally. These meetings allow time for employees to ask the questions they may not feel comfortable asking on group calls or in the work corridor, this is their chance to address any concerns and find ways over obstacles they may have.
- Building manager/ employee relationships
The number one way to build relationships with people is through regular interactions and talking with people. This translates into the workplace, with strong relationships being built through regular 1-1 meetings and touchpoints, especially if the employee is working from home.
- Endorsing self-reflection
1-1 meetings allow both employees and managers to reflect on their time at work. It allows them to gather their thoughts and articulate them in a way that managers and employees can understand. 1-1 meetings also allow time to talk through 360 degree assessment tools to understand how to build on the highlighted strengths and ways to overcome the weaknesses, while being open and honest with your employees.
- Checking on mental health
Reports are coming in of staff feeling guilty about the encroachment of life on their working from home...a complete blurring of the boundaries. Maybe managers can do more to allay fears and anxieties about the inevitable distractions of remote working: children, animals and even the Amazon delivery guy ringing on the doorbell. Many workers are feeling less productive working from home and are ending up doing emails late into the night or even in the very early morning hours. See if you can just be there for your staff and reassure them that goal achievement is what matters, not the hours worked. That written, ensuring that they are not heading for burnout is a new and vital management skill.
Block out time for team planning
One concern that a lot of managers share is a lack of time. A lack of time to complete their admin tasks, a lack of time to sit down and carry out deliverables, and a lack of time for the planning and scheduling they’d like. In order to champion 1-1 meetings with your employees and schedule impactful management touchpoints, it’s important to block out some time as if it were as important as a meeting to focus on team planning. These meetings can cover anything from employee wellbeing, personal and professional development touchpoints, and even time for reflection on what your team members are going through and addressing these concerns head on. And remember also that a lack of social interaction, as was customary in the office environment, may mean that you need to plan some fun virtual team events. Quizzes, games, Birthday celebrations...all have to take on a new form right now.
These planning sessions will only need to take an hour of your week, so there is no excuse for not finding the time if you schedule it into your week ahead of time.
Management meetings are too often seen as a to-do list tick. You show up to the meeting, listen to what the employee has to say, and then get on with the rest of your day until your next 1-1 meeting pops up in your diary. This is the kind of behaviour we’re trying to change at click-360, with our 360 assessment feedback tools being developed to help you truly support your employees, to instil active listening and valuable feedback during 1-1 meetings, rather than the former.
Active listening is a concept we feel every manager should adopt, especially team leaders. And this doesn’t involve just listening to what your employees are saying, but also hearing what they’re not saying, and taking note of their body language in person or on calls, that’s what makes an impactful manager during 1-1 meetings and touchpoints. That’s why we’d always recommend having cameras on during zoom or skype calls so you are able to pick up on the body language being displayed from the other end of the call.
We should also note that employees should not be made to feel like they’re complaining for raising any issues or concerns they have, as if the manager was actively listening, they’d actively realise this themself. Actively listening will also give managers the chance to pick up on any mental health strains the employee may be having, so they can help with any issues relating to work, or even suggest workplace coaching for the employees to learn mechanisms to cope with their worries and concerns.
Communicate team progress on a regular basis
One key topic that comes up more frequently than you’d think in 360 assessment tools and feedback surveys is wanting to hear team progress on a more regular basis. If managers and team leads are effectively delivering team progress reports and goal tracking on a regular basis it allows remote teams to get a better understanding of how (and what) the business is doing, and how it is performing against its KPI’s. This doesn’t just include the big wins, but the challenges and the failures too, because not only will employees be able to learn from these mistakes, but they may even be able to come up with great solutions too if given the opportunity to have their say.
Establishing clear goals for each 1-1 meeting
Both managers and employees should enter into 1-1 meetings with a clear goal of what is going to be achieved, like most other meetings. This should not be set to a rigid schedule, as employees may have topics they wish to bring up, or things that come up during the meeting even, but a general guideline as to what should be achieved in the meeting is a great first step. It’s also important to establish that these meetings won’t always be 100% productive or effective, like most working days during this uncertain time in many people's lives, and this should also be clearly communicated to your workforce.
Try this technique when setting up a meeting..”Our purpose is to….in a way that...so that…” By way of example: our purpose in meeting 1:1 va Zoom next week is to check in with each other on how this month’s targets are looking in a way that acknowledges the difficulties of the current market conditions and ensures that you are coping ok so that you, I and the organisation all gets what we want.
1-1 meetings led by 360 assessment tools are an invaluable instrument needed to grow your workforce personally and professionally, especially in times of adversity. Make sure to use both 360 feedback tools and systems to guide your performance as a manager during 1-1 meetings, as well as the guidance we have given today for how to have more meaningful 1-1 meetings with direct reports. For more information of 360 feedback tools, visit our 360 degree feedback pages or call us directly on 0845 313 3357.