It’s 2019 so most managers understand that having dedicated 1 on 1 meetings with their employees is important, but what often falls flat is the frequency at which these meetings should happen.
The meeting frequency for 1 on 1’s will not be the same for every employee. There are some people who require a more “high touch” management style, and others who are happy to only talk once per month. The frequency may change over time as well, so be prepared to be flexible.
Fix Problems Before They Become Big
The most important reason to have frequent 1 on 1 meetings with your employees is so that you can fix problems before they become big. If you have 1 on 1 meetings at a regular cadence, you can figure out whats bothering your employee, how you can help, and then follow up with them at the next meeting. Using a tool like Candid can help track all of this information and action items for you.
As an example, Joe is having some issues with his co-worker Steve. In your 1 on 1 with Joe you find out about this, discuss why he feels that way, and suggest some ways that they can work together to improve things. Without your help these issues would have simmered, exploded, or resulted in a lot of lost productivity for both Joe and Steve. By identifying the issue early, you were able to help get things back to normal faster.
If you didn’t have a regular 1 on 1 meeting with Joe you might not have ever know about this.
Form Strong Bonds
As a manager it can be difficult to form strong bonds with your direct reports, so making sure you have face time with them is of paramount importance. Regular 1 on 1 meetings will help with this. It’s not magic bullet and still requires work and being deliberate about what questions you ask, but the time together will help get your relationship started.
What is the Right Frequency for 1 on 1 Meetings?
This varies wildly depending on the employee that you are working with, but the best thing to do here is ask. If they don’t have a preference, a good structure to work with is
- “High Touch Employee” – Once per week
- “Independent, but in-touch” – Every other week
- “Low touch” – Once per month (or ad-hoc as needed)
A “high touch” employee is one that needs your attention. It could be for any reason (not necessarily bad), but in general you’ll want to be meeting with these employees often. Either to catch problems before they come big or to get information you need from them. The “independent” and “low touch” employees are generally self sufficient and don’t require a lot of hand-holding. You still want to meet with them at a regular cadence, it just may not be as frequently as others. The can be especially true with remote employees.
Make Your Meetings Count
If you aren’t sure how to run 1 on 1 meetings, make sure to check out Candid. Candid has a simple goal: Help you become a better manager. Candid has built in question templates, action item tracking, and daily digest emails to help keep you on track.