Top Tips for People Leaders holding One to Ones

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It doesn’t matter whether your company is big or small, whether you are new to the role or a seasoned leader of teams, one of the things you’re expected to do is hold regular, consistent One to Ones with your people. More than ever, frequency of conversation with your people matters. Recent research from Gallup highlights the importance of these regular conversations and how it contributes to greater employee engagement in remote teams. Regular One to Ones are imperative for the employee, giving them space to express and learn and for you to gain insight into how best to support the individual. This kind of knowledge share and ongoing conversation is invaluable to overall company progress. However, amidst the hectic working day, it’s easy to overlook certain aspects of this vital part of company communication. Here are our tips for holding consistent One to Ones and doing them well.

Prior to the One to One

Our tips for holding consistent One to Ones always starts with great planning.

  • Make sure a time to meet is agreed and understood. When meeting via video, ensure good audio and encourage cameras on. With time, be respectful of it. On the day, check-in to see that the time still suits. Be aware of what else might be on your colleague’s plate especially as we continue working remotely and a lot of times juggling home priorities. Where you can meet safely in person, pick a venue that is suitable for a good conversation and respect privacy.
  • Have a rolling agenda and stick to  a consistent schedule and focus around talking points.
  • Ensure there’s an opportunity for you and your employee to share, collaborate and comment on talking points in advance of the meeting. This ensures the time you have is focused on what’s important to you both. Such an approach will make your people engage more in the discussion itself rather than wasting time trying to navigate an impromptu agenda at the time.
  • Once the items to discuss are agreed, take the time to prepare for the One to One. There’s nothing worse than showing up unprepared. Your people will pick up on this immediately.
  • Never cancel or re-schedule at the last minute. It is a big no-no. It’s critical to demonstrate that this time is important. When jumping between video calls, ensure you block time either side of your one-to-one’s to both be prepared & to document notes post meeting.

During the One to One

  • Once underway, always take a few minutes to get a sense of how things are going for your colleague before diving into the agenda. Ask about their general day to day experience in work and also don’t be afraid to ask about how things are outside of work. Such an approach helps build a deeper connection and a more meaningful relationship with your peers.
  • Allow your colleague to take the lead on what priorities get discussed. Remember, the talking points are there as a guide. If something urgent needs to be discussed, take the time to do so. Other points of discussion can always get deferred to the next time you meet.
  • If a discussion is centred around a concern or difficulty your colleague is having, ask for context. Ask them to give an example, to outline the impact and encourage them to look for possible solutions to the problem at hand. Show your support and where action and follow-up are needed from you, take note.
  • When discussing progress on goals, always link the contribution back to the wider company mission & recognise wins. Show how their progress is directly impacting the companies. This will give them a greater sense of contribution.
  • When setting goals during a 1:1 always try to frame it again around the companies goals and don’t be afraid to set a stretch goal for your people.
  • Regardless of how the tone of a particular 1:1 goes, always look to finish on a positive. Look for good feedback, recognition or a company update that links directly to them.
  • Always summarise items discussed, take private notes and create action items that need follow-up.
  • Ask for feedback on venue choice (where appropriate) and time for meeting in terms of suitability. Such an approach allows you to iterate and improve before the next time you both meet.

Post the One to One

A big part of good meetings is how your document and follow-up. Our tips for holding consistent One to Ones also involve events post meeting.

  • Always document a summary of the points discussed and share with your team member. Do so promptly and not weeks after the discussion.
  • Where there are items for you to action, clearly outline what your colleague can expect from you and by when.
  • Bring forward items that were not discussed in the previous 1:1, while allowing the opportunity to collaborate a new share agenda once again.
  • Remember that the work you do post 1:1 is equally, if not more important.

Holding consistent One to Ones with people ensures items that need your attention and support get picked up and actioned regularly. It makes for richer conversations focused around ongoing performance and career growth. One to Ones are more than just meetings, they’re one of your most important productivity tools. It may feel like extra work initially upfront, but we encourage you to give it a go. Your people will thank you for it and hang around longer!

We hope you found our tips for holding consistent 1:1s useful. To learn how Frankli can help further and for next steps, contact us today.

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