5 Tips to Make One-on-Ones Successful

Having a regular one-on-one with your employee or manager is very underrated. On the one hand - why have regular one-on-ones when

August 19, 2021
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Having a regular one-on-one with your manager or employee is very underrated. On the one hand - why have regular one-on-ones when you probably talk to them throughout the day/week anyway? On the other hand - it's a consistent check-in point that helps more than it seems. 

There are ways to maximize the effectiveness of one-on-ones and make that valuable time for both parties. Here are 5 ways to get the most out of the 1:1s: 

1. Remember: it's a two-way street 

Managers often feel like one-on-ones are employee time to ask questions. Employees treat it as a check-in with the boss and their time to provide feedback on the job so far. As a result, both parties tend to focus on a question/answer format that stays high-level. Dig deeper. The Manager-employee relationship is just like any other relationship in your life, as in, it works both ways. Take this time to share, connect, and create the trust to help the employee grow and the manager inspire. 

2. Make it regular 

Things come up, and we get it. However, make it a habit to have one-on-ones with direct reports, regardless of how often you talk to them throughout the workweek. Did you know that some of the most successful managers prioritize one-on-ones over everything else they have to do? The reasoning behind it is pretty simple - regular check-ins that unblock employees lead to better productivity and overall success. 

3. Document and analyze over time 

Consistency is vital, but so is documentation. Having a place where all the notes from one-on-ones are stored and are together allows for reflection opportunities later on. Take a look back at one-on-ones when you are getting ready for the yearly review, performance evaluation, or even the following week. Take notes of what worked, what didn't, possible solutions, and next steps. It will create a sense of accountability and can be used as a plan of action. 

4. Utilize tools 

Of course, you can keep using Google Docs or Notes for your one-on-ones, but there are much better options that promote effective 1:1s, store the information long term, and are only visible to the responsible parties. Check out Assembly's One-on-One Workflow. It allows you to document essential goals, KPIs, and outcomes, create and edit talking points, collect feedback from the meeting, and have a place for all one-on-one notes. Employees who are actively involved by management in their professional development are 4x more likely to be engaged, and this One on One workflow will ensure engagement and show the commitment to growth.

5. Create a safe space 

We are all human beings with emotions, bad days, and life events, regardless of the company rank. As much as office work often prioritizes creating a work-only environment, make sure there is space for employees to be human and themselves. Whether it's sharing about your day beyond work, asking follow-up questions about their life, or letting an employee vent, make sure you are not only helping them grow as a worker but as a person too. Trust me, your employees will thank you. 

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