The Importance of 1-on-1 Meetings

21 November 2022

8 min read

Lynette Teo
Lynette Teo

1-on-1 meetings allow you to establish a relationship built on trust with your peers and allow you to give positive or constructive feedback in a much better way. According to a survey, 75% of managers said that they discussed development and growth in 1-on-1 meetings. 

The primary reason is that employees are more likely to discuss their expectations and communicate their hopes without fear of judgment. Therefore, 1-on-1 meetings provide a much safer environment where employees can have a conversation with their managers. 

It is extremely important for HR managers since finding and bringing new employees on board isn’t easy. HR managers or decision-makers would like to discuss and set clear expectations from day one to avoid high labor turnover. 

So, how can you structure an effective face-to-face setting meeting? And what are the benefits that you can get from it? We will discuss all those things in this article to give you a clear idea about them. Let’s start by understanding the purpose of having 1-on-1 meetings. 

The Purpose of Scheduling 1-on-1 meetings with Your Team

The main purpose of having a 1-on-1 meeting is to connect with every team member, allowing managers to discuss and understand the issues their teams are facing. Most importantly, 1-on-1 meetings help you form human-to-human relationships, which can motivate your team members to deliver their best performance. 

Managers can also understand the status of the projects by having 1-on-1 meetings with the people directly reporting to them. They can also discuss the potential roadblocks that the team is facing and how they can resolve them. Moreover, it allows them to provide constructive and positive feedback, which won’t be suitable for a team meeting. 

Tech-savvy companies invest in tools and technologies that make it easier for individuals in each team to schedule meetings with their managers. Leveraging technology helps teams can make it easy for teams to: 

  • Have engaging conversations during meetings
  • Exchange feedback
  • Direct reports to collaborate on talking points

How Can Managers Hold An Effective 1-on-1 Meeting?

A survey by Gallup shows that 59% of employees don’t know what their organization stands for. It shows a wide communication gap between the management and the employees since they do not have effective and meaningful conversations. 

Therefore, it is necessary for managers to hold meetings with their subordinates that yield fruitful results. Here are some tips that managers can use when holding 1-on-1 meetings. 

1. Create A Meeting Agenda

1-on-1 meetings can be about something other than work. Managers can cover various topics, from personal development to professional growth, and have in-depth conversations about them with their employees. But if they don’t have anything to discuss, it is best to create a meeting agenda. 

This way, they will know what points or topics they need to cover in this meeting. You can also discuss with the person you are having the 1-on-1 meeting the points they want to discuss. In a nutshell, you need to know the things to discuss during the 1-on-1 meeting. Here are some topics that you can discuss in a 1-on-1 meeting: 

  • Discussion about team collaboration
  • Feedback for the manager about their methods
  • Goals that the other person wants to achieve in the short and long-term 
  • Levels of employee engagement
  • Professional development goals and plan
  • Work habits and employee performance
  • Listen more 

There is no point in having a 1-on-1 meeting if you don’t plan to listen to what your subordinates say. Listening is an important skill that managers need to develop. They should show that they are actively listening and engaging with the person. 

It is particularly important when the people working under you give you feedback about your leadership style. Managers should politely listen to them and show that they understand their point of view. Doing so will allow them to create a more positive and trusting relationship with the team members. 

2. Be Open-minded

An important element when it comes to building relationships is being open-minded and embracing the points your employees are raising. Managers should welcome positive and constructive feedback to show that they value the other person’s opinion. It will pave the path for having more in-depth conversations in the future.

Reasons Why You Should Have 1-on-1 Meetings

1-on-1 meetings allow you to reap a wide range of benefits. Here are a few reasons that should encourage HR managers, CEOs, and decision-makers to start hosting 1-on-1 meetings with the people directly under them. 

  1. Give Coaching to Employees to Drive Development
  2. Provide Feedback to the Individual both (Positive and Constructive)
  3. Create a Trusting Relationship between You and the People Working Under You
  4. Improve Performance and the Overall Productivity
  5. Discuss the Team Dynamics 

Let’s explore them in more detail so you can better understand these reasons.

1. Give Coaching to Employees to Drive Development

One of the things about the modern workforce is that they value and show interest in jobs that offer them the chance to grow. According to a survey by Gallup, more than 85% of millennials value growth and professional development in the organization they are currently working in.  

And the best way to ask to discuss their professional growth is during a 1-on-1 meeting. The reporting authority can sit down and discuss with each individual on their team the following things:

  • Professional development opportunities
  • Passion projects
  • Interests and passion 
  • Career aspirations

It would motivate and encourage your employees to deliver the best performance. Also, discussing career growth and professional development increases their chances of staying in the company for longer. It can help a company keep its labor turnover rate low.

2. Provide Feedback to the Individual both (Positive and Constructive)

Another reason HR managers, reporting authorities, and managers should have 1-on-1 meetings is because it gives them the perfect opportunity to share valuable feedback. You can discuss the positive things about a particular individual’s work or give them constructive feedback that will allow them to perform better. 

1-on-1 meetings aren’t only about providing feedback but also about getting reviews about leadership style. Most people working directly under you wouldn’t be comfortable providing feedback in a team meeting. They’re more likely to give you feedback in a face-to-face setting.

3. Create A Trusting Relationship Between You and the People Working Under You

Work-related relationships require time and effort to be comfortable sharing views or opinions. You would need to build a relationship on the basis of trust so your team members can open up with you about different aspects of the job. 

And that seems like a difficult task if you only meet with your team once in a quarter or year. That is where hosting 1-on-1 meetings with your team members will give them the confidence to communicate and discuss issues with you. 

It will foster a safe environment where team members can have an in-depth and personalized conversation with their reporting authority. Frequently conducting these meetings will give a feeling of consistency which will help build trust.

4. Improve Performance and the Overall Productivity

1-on-1 meetings help managers to stay on top of employee productivity. They can discuss the progress of the tasks that are assigned to individuals. Bi-annual or annual performance reviews don’t have the same impact as 1-on-1 meetings. 

Consistent feedback and reviews will help managers to know if the team can meet their goals on time. They can also understand each team member’s problems and try to resolve them so they can work at their full capacity.

5. Discuss the Team Dynamics

Understanding and collecting information about team dynamics can be sensitive, and choosing one-on-one meetings for these conversations is a more optimal choice. Comprehending the team dynamics within a workplace plays a crucial role because it impacts:

  • Creativity
  • Cross-functional collaboration
  • Productivity

It plays an essential role in any workplace, especially while managing a creative team that grows and develops according to the collaboration of users. The team dynamics can boost productivity and effectiveness, and one-on-one meetings provide an optimal environment for such discussions.

The Bottom Line — Hosting Effective One-on-one Meetings

The outcome of the 1-on-1 meeting depends on your input. So, if you put effort and time into the 1-on-1 meetings, your employees will develop skills, increase their performance, and resolve other issues. On the other hand, rushing through the meetings will likely make employees feel undervalued. 

They’ll feel frustrated and won’t put in their 100 percent, or if they have any plans on leaving the company, rushing through meetings instead of letting them speak can make things worse. It brings us to an important point, which is high labor turnover. Replacing a leaving employee can be costly and would impact the entire company’s morale. 

Therefore, HR managers need to conduct 1-on-1 meetings with their team to understand and resolve their issues. One thing to note is that 1-on-1 meetings are vital in driving engagement and better performance. So, you should conduct one with each team member from time to time.

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