Having a regular one-on-one conversation is often underrated, despite being a simple yet effective way to improve communication with your employees. This is a critical approach to strengthen relationships between leaders and their teams. Early one-on-one encounter during onboarding with employees establishes the tone for the relationship and can determine the direction for long-term success and engagement.
Sometimes, managers shy away from one-on-one meetings simply because they have no idea how to carry it out. In light of this matter, HR in Asia presents 5 strategies to create a better one-on-one experience with employees.
The importance of one-on-one
According to Elizabeth Grace Saunders, the author of How to Invest Your Time Like Money, one of the most essential productivity tools you have as an HR manager is one-on-one meetings. The session is the perfect timing to raise strategic questions like, “Are we focusing on the right things?” Having a candid one-on-one conversation with employees could also be a way to demonstrate that you appreciate and care about them. Here’s how you can do it successfully.
Depending on the size of your team, the frequency with whom you have one-on-ones will vary. This may be affected by how large or small your company is, as well as how high-maintenance or experienced your employees are. This should be done on a regular basis for it to be successful. The frequency does not necessarily matter, but it is essential that this should be scheduled as a regular event. Once you have reached an agreement on this, ensure it goes as scheduled and is added as a recurring meeting into the calendar.
2. Establish clear discussion points
one-on-one sessions should not be something your employees need to face with fear. However, you still need to prepare clear points to discuss in order to prevent the conversation from straying too far from the focus. For example, you can discuss their ongoing progress, feedback, acknowledgment, mid and annual performance assessment, future goals, and so on. Arrange the list based on what is most essential first and identify key areas for improvement. In other words, you need some structure but not too much, so keep your options open.
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3. Create a sense of trust
While office settings generally prioritize developing a work-only environment, make sure there is space for employees to be genuine and humane. Position yourself as a place where employees can confide in, so you will get the best out of one-on-one sessions. Maintain a safe space by truthfully caring for them, such that they will not come to you with fear, but rather with trust. This can be done by sharing about days outside of work, asking follow-up questions about their lives, or allowing them to vent. Make sure you are not only helping them grow as an employee but also as a person.
4. Stay interactive
Employees often perceive one-on-one meetings as a check-in with their manager on professional matters. As a result, they tend to focus on answers that sound desirable, but may not be entirely truthful. One-on-one sessions should involve both parties equally, so maintaining two way interaction is imperative. As a manager, you need to practice active listening in order to stay interactive. Pay close attention to what is said and the reply that is given. Remember, you are not just listening to be polite; you are listening to best support your current employee. You can create a stronger relationship with your team overall if you recognize and respect your employees’ responses and opinions through active listening.
5. Note down and keep the result
One-on-ones should aim to enhance employee experience and individual growth. The result can be used as a guideline for the following session as well as for further employee reports. Thus, you need to make sure that you have all key answers noted or a recap of the conversation summarized. Keep a note of all individuals essential goals, KPIs, and outcomes. Having a database where all of the notes from one-on-ones are stored and accessible allows for later evaluation. Make a list of an improvement plan, issues faced, as well as potential solutions for problems. This demonstrates a sense of accountability and can be used as a strategy.
Regular interactions can help you build trust with individuals and within your team. Trust in the workplace emphasizes a safe atmosphere for employees to cooperate in innovative and collaborative ways. Once you master the art of thoughtful one-on-one conversation, your team members will feel more involved and appreciated. You may increase overall team success by becoming better coaches and better supporting employee performance.
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