A Beginners Guide To Effective One On One Meetings

by Srikant Chellappa Dec 9,2019

The People Strategy Leaders Podcast

with Srikant Chellappa, CEO

Effective and frequent communication with team members is a problem commonly faced by managers these days. When employees do not see open lines of communication with their manager, or do not understand what is expected of them, they tend to quit.

One-on-one meetings are here to fill that gap; these meetings help managers build a strong team and keep them motivated at work.

Also Read: Why OKRs Are Crucial When Onboarding New Employees

Leading organizations that identify the significance of communication at workplace, have started using one on one meetings software for effective communication between managers and team members.

The Importance Of One On One Meetings

One-on-ones can be simply defined as standard scheduled time for managers to check-in with their direct reports. These meetings are important for both managers and direct reports because they ensure that both of them stay on the same page.

One on ones help managers with the following:

  •         Keep track of team goals
  •         Discuss action plan with their team
  •         Stay aligned with direct reports’ goals
  •         Sharing ideas and concerns

One-on-one meetings are very useful, but they often end up being more disorganized than expected. How can you prevent this and make your one-on-ones more productive?

Here’s a step-by-step guide for you to have effective one on one meetings with your team and help them stay productive!

Step 1: Schedule The Meeting

Setting the right schedule is crucial for every one on one meeting. You cannot use a one-size fits all approach; the frequency of one on ones depends upon the size of the team, size of the organization and on how experienced your team members are.

Inform the meeting details to your direct reports and stick to it. If this is your first one on one, let your team know about one on ones and how they can help them. As a manager, it is hard to stick to a schedule every month or week, but keep experimenting with the frequency of one on ones until you find the right pulse.

Step 2: One on one meeting Agenda

Agenda is very important for every meeting. Communicate the agenda clearly to your direct report. Be sure of what needs to be communicated in the meeting.

Remember not to make the meeting about yourself; always make it about your direct reports. Ask them to come prepared with what they want to discuss in the meeting. This makes employees feel valued and keeps them motivated at work.

Also Read: 5 Best Tips To Reduce Employee Turnover

Step 3: Prepare For The Meeting With Relevant Questions

Productive meetings take preparation, so prepare for the meeting ahead with relevant questions for your team members. Remember that this meeting isn’t about their performance issues, so add questions about their working style, their long- term and short-term goals, etc.

Also, come prepared with a list of questions about the improvement of your organization, manager improvement and their own improvement.

Step 4: Catch-Up Informally

Start the one on one meeting by catching up with your direct report informally. Try to informally ask about their current project and the progress that they are making on it. Before going into the details, make them feel comfortable.

Step 5: Listen To Them And Discuss Agenda

Listen to what your direct reports have to say about the meeting agenda. Ask them questions about their career development, this makes employees feel that you are invested in their career growth. It acts as a motivator at work.

Step 6: Give Suggestions/ Solutions/ Ask Questions & Create An Action Plan

Actively ask questions and listen to the concerns of your direct reports. Give them suggestions wherever necessary and ask for their opinions. Also, discuss and create an action plan for them. This action plan will help as a guide to achieving their work goals for the next quarter.

Step 7: Document It

Document the highlights of the 1 on 1 meeting. As a manager, it is hard to keep track of every one on one meeting you have, so document the highlights of each one on one meeting you have with your direct reports. This will help you get started for the next meeting you have with them and you will not miss anything important from the past meeting.

Also Read: Know How To Make Your Employee Feedback Work

Step 8: Send A Wrap-Up Email

Once you finish a one on one meeting, send a wrap up email to your direct reports with the highlights that you’ve made note. Also include in the email, what is expected of them by the next meeting. Your direct reports can refer to the email if they need to revise the contents of the meeting.

Step 9: Follow Up

Following up on a meeting is vital. Always remember to keep track on the progress your direct reports make after a one on one meeting. Be ready to help them with implementing the action plan discussed in the meeting. This will help them stay motivated and productive at work.

Step 10: Repeat!

One on one meetings give the best results when they are recurring; so, experiment with the frequency of meetings and set a regular schedule for one on one meetings with your direct reports.

Do you want to know more about how Engagedly can help you conduct effective one on one meetings? Request a demo from our experts!

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Srikant Chellappa
CEO & Co-Founder of Engagedly

Srikant Chellappa is the Co-Founder and CEO at Engagedly and is a passionate entrepreneur and people leader. He is an author, producer/director of 6 feature films, a music album with his band Manchester Underground, and is the host of The People Strategy Leaders Podcast. He is currently working on his next book, Ikigai at the Workplace, which is slated for release in the fall of 2024.

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