Nothing can cause an employee’s blood pressure to go through the roof than the thought of a looming evaluation. If you want to create a culture of transparency and collaboration, you need to get away from conducting “employee evaluations” and start moving toward more frequent one-on-one meetings. There a number of benefits to holding regular one-on-one meetings which include; not having to wait six months or even a year to talk about issues that have come about since your last meeting, giving the employee the floor to voice concerns and ideas, and having more opportunity to motivate your employee to be fully engaged in their jobs. When you see employees once or twice a year during an evaluation period, it can be difficult to gauge their thinking, and you are less likely to be able to connect with them in a meaningful way that will improve their performance. Here’s how you can conduct motivational one-on-one meetings to maximum employee engagement.
Perhaps weekly meetings are not feasible for your type of business; if this is the case, work toward monthly meetings. Knowing they will have a chance to speak with you during a dedicated period of time each month will motivate employees to bring ideas, questions, and concerns to the meeting. If they never know when the meeting is going to be, they cannot be prepared to make the most out of their face-time with you or their manager.
Have an Agenda
In preparation for your one-on-one meeting, ask your employee to bring some items they would like to discuss, as mentioned above, but also prepare an agenda of what you would like to discuss with them as their manager.
Make sure you start the meeting on time. This shows that you value your employee’s time, as well as your own. Plus, if you have back-to-back meetings, this strategy ensures that no one is left waiting.
Another strategy is to hold one-on-one meetings outside of your office. Holding meetings in your office might be intimidating for employees, and the point of a regular one-on-one is to level the playing field and the opportunity to learn something from your employee, not just provide critical feedback.
Always — ALWAYS — have examples of things you have seen them accomplish or work on. This shows your employees that you are paying attention to their work and that it matters to you. It is advisable to lead with praise and then take a few moments to raise any concerns you might have about their performance. One way of doing this is to ask the employee to evaluate their performance during the meeting. You can pose the question like this, “how do you think you have been doing over the last few weeks?” Rather than saying, “I noticed you are struggled to show up to work on time,” or even worse, using an accusatory statement, “you keep showing up late for work.” The approach is everything when it comes to creating a motivating one-on-one. Putting the ball in the court of your employee is a great way to get them to own up to their shortcomings, and then you can swoop in and be the motivational leader you were meant to be by offering them some support to solve the problem.
At the end of the meeting, take a minute to review what you talked about and ask if there are any other questions, concerns, or thoughts that have not been covered. Schedule the next one-on-one at this time so that your employee knows you are dedicated to continuing the conversation, and you value their input.
Candor Without Malice
One of the most critical aspects of regular one-on-one meetings is the opportunity to be candid with your employees and vice versa. Remember to encourage your employees to be frank about issues they are having – you can’t help them if you don’t know what is wrong. It might be a good idea to explain that everyone is just as responsible for the success of the company as you are and you value their opinion. Candor does not mean employees can say whatever they want whenever they want; candor means saying what needs to be said without the intention of hurting another person. When people say hurtful things, no one wins. You can criticize someone’s work without criticizing them. It’s an excellent technique to adopt if you want to be able to talk to people about their shortcomings without having them take it personally and vice versa.
Do What You Say You’ll Do
If you told an employee you would get them some extra help for a project that they are finding overwhelming, make sure you follow up on that promise. If you don’t do the things you said you would do, employees will start to think you aren’t trustworthy, or that these one-on-one meetings are just for show. When you deliver on your promises, you can expect your employees to do the same. Give and take is what makes a business work, and if you want to see your business continuing to succeed, you need to be as accountable to your employees as they are to you.