1:1 meetings

For those unfamiliar with 1:1 meetings, let me begin with a brief overview:

A 1:1 meeting (alternatively referred to as a 1-1 or 1-on-1) is one in which management or a reporting boss meets with an employee.

In contrast to a traditional group meeting, which is used to discuss status reports or strategy, a one-on-one meeting is used to establish rapport, coach, and provide and obtain feedback.

It’s a private environment where an employee can discuss concerns that are holding them back and receive assistance from you in developing their professional skills.

You may feel as though your workday is consumed with meetings. Regular one-on-one meetings with members of your teams may be the first step toward freeing up some more time.

However, here is why you should not: it can really help your teams — and your business — succeeds.

Whether you are an individual contributor or a team leader, you have the ability to facilitate effective one-on-one sessions. Your one-on-one (or 1-on-1) sessions can go a long way with a little structure and guidance.

Regular meetings can be beneficial with preparation and a collaborative agenda. Encourage your employees to meet with you one-on-one on a frequent basis. It will leave staff energized, motivated, and better equipped to perform their duties effectively.

However, beyond job responsibilities, regular one-on-one meetings can provide valuable insight into the employee experience. One-on-one meetings can be used to gauge your employees’ well-being and satisfaction with their work. They’re also critical for career and professional development.

The purpose of 1:1 meetings

There are a variety of factors that contribute to the purpose of one-on-one meetings. One-on-one meetings allow for more open and meaningful dialogue between managers and their subordinates and employees.

You can accomplish the following in frequent 1:1 meetings:

  • Set aside specific time to go over the agenda items and important priorities.
  • Communicate and receive feedback (including addressing performance issues)
  • Coach your employees to improve their development and performance.
  • Have a conversation about professional development.
  • Inspire employees to work harder.
  • Continue to get to know your staff on a personal level by asking them questions.
  • Find out how satisfied you are with your job.

Support them in connecting the wider purpose, aims, and mission of their employer to their own work.

  • Decrease obstacles to achievement and assist in overcoming difficulties
  • Develop a list of action items.
  • Receive real-time updates on the status of important initiatives.
  • Recap team meetings, essential talking points, and project schedules for high-priority initiatives.


The benefits of a 1:1 meeting

While it can be time-consuming at times, the payoff is enormous. 1:1 meetings benefit both employees and managers. This is how.

  • For managers, it can assist in the development of coaching and leadership abilities. Individual sessions can provide an excellent opportunity for your managers to hone their coaching skills. Coaching and development abilities are becoming increasingly in demand.
    Managers should develop the ability to actively listen to their team members while also providing guidance and feedback. They are demonstrating and exercising a coaching mentality in this way. Managers can improve employee performance by becoming better coaches.
  • It contributes to the development of trust between employees and their bosses. Managers can build trusted work connections through regular communication.
    A trustworthy relationship in the workplace strengthens teams and fosters a sense of security for employees. You may discover that your relationship acquires a greater level of candor and trust over time.
  • It can assist in establishing links to your organization’s mission and purpose. It’s natural for daily responsibilities to seem divorced from the organization’s purpose and vision. One-on-one meetings are an excellent way to facilitate the connection between daily work and its contributions.
    If you are a manager, inquire about your employees and how their work relates to the company’s objectives. If you are an employee, inquire of your manager about how the work of your team relates to the organization’s mission. Together, you can encourage meaningful conversation and establish critical relationships.

1. The Quantified Benefits of Meeting One-on-One with Your Team

According to a Harvard Business Review survey, executives of major firms believe that soft skills shortcomings cost them more than $144,500 every day. Meanwhile, Gallup discovered that a person’s manager accounts for 70% of the difference in employee engagement.
Meetings between managers and their team members on a one-on-one basis will not resolve all of your issues. They can, however, result in improvements in a variety of common issues:

  • Ineffective communication
  • A dearth of input
  • Stagnant career growth and development
  • Uncertainty on the work’s purpose
  • Lack of faith and trust in their manager
  • Contained annoyances
  • Conflicts between individuals and teams

This is why it is critical to grasp the significance of 1:1 meetings. Getting started with them is frequently the most difficult part. Then, after you get them, you discover how beneficial they are in resolving a wide variety of typical difficulties.

2. Employees whose bosses do not meet one-on-one are four times more likely to be disengaged.

The Microsoft Workplace Analytics team discovered some dramatic discrepancies between teams that meet 1:1 and those that do not.
According to the Harvard Business Review, they discovered: “Perhaps unsurprisingly, employees who received little or no one-on-one time with their manager were more disengaged. On the other hand, people who receive twice as many one-on-one meetings with their manager as their counterparts are 67 per cent less likely to be “disengaged.”
As they went deeper into their data, an even clearer picture emerged.
“And what happens when a manager has no one-on-one meetings with employees?”
Employees in this position are four times more likely to be disengaged than individual contributors as a whole, and twice as likely to have a negative view of leadership as those who meet with their managers on a regular basis.”
Thus, a lack of 1:1 meetings not only contributes to disengagement but also leads employees to believe that all of your company’s leaders are inept.

3. 1:1 meeting can significantly improve retention and productivity.

Adobe and GE have already made headlines for their efforts to eliminate performance reviews. When they did, they shifted to frequent one-on-one meetings with their supervisors (typically meeting every 2 weeks).
Both instances had a huge impact:

  • Adobe “reduced voluntary turnover by 30%.”
  • GE was able to “provide a fivefold boost in productivity over the last 12 months.”

You can continue to conduct performance reviews and still reap the benefits of one-on-one discussions. Indeed, reviews and one-on-one sessions complement one another rather effectively, as we previously discussed on the Lighthouse blog here.

4. Employees who do have regular 1:1 meetings with their managers are 3 times more likely to be engaged.

Gallup, the undisputed king of employee engagement surveys, has strong feelings about the usefulness of 1:1 meetings as well. They discovered a significant difference in engagement between those who had 1:1 meetings and those who did not during their investigation among millions of employees:

“On average, 15% of employees who work for a manager who does not meet with them on a regular basis are engaged; managers who meet with their employees on a regular basis nearly treble that level of engagement.”

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