Often when a client discusses a staffing crisis, my first question is – ‘How often do you have one to ones with your team? Usually, the answer is ‘not very often’.
Most appreciate the benefits of regular one to ones but cite daily operational pressures as the reason they have slipped or even stopped.
Too much work, not enough staff or impending deadlines have us looking around for ways to save time. Deferring or even ditching one to ones can seem like an obvious first measure but in my experience, having regular one to ones can really keep your team and your business on track.
So what problems are we creating if we DON’T have regular one to ones and how can we prevent them from slipping?
BENEFITS OF REGULAR ONE TO ONES
- Team members feel valued and heard. This is THEIR time and you value them enough to dedicate a specific period just for them.
- Expectations managed on both sides. You have an opportunity to talk about what’s coming up and what part you would like them to play in that. They have an opportunity to tell you what’s coming up for them, either career aspirations or things in their personal lives which might impact their time or commitment.
- An early warning system for brewing problems. Something which may seem not quite right but not worth mentioning – either from a people or business side – can blow up in our faces when we least expect it and usually at the most inconvenient time. Dealing with them during one to ones can often nip things in the bud.
- Fewer interruptions to day to day working. Issues and topics which need discussing will crop up during normal working time and if not urgent, can be kept for your one to ones.
KEEPING TO A REGULAR SCHEDULE OF ONE TO ONES
- Give plenty of notice and set regular times which don’t clash with busy periods. Fridays at 4pm when things are winding down for the weekend or early mornings before the office gets busy.
- Combine with other activities so that no core time is taken away from day to day work. Do you have a regular meeting you drive to together which could be used for your one to ones? Or could you take them out to lunch?
- No surprises. Adopt a ‘no surprises’ approach to running your business/team by having tried and tested processes and procedures in place. The smoother your operation is running, the fewer crises you will have to deal with that get in the way of one to ones.
- Standard agenda. Have a core agenda so that everyone knows what to expect. This might include such things as:-
- What’s on your mind at the moment?
- What’s on my mind?
- What’s really bugging you and what would you like to do about it?
- What are you enjoying and how can we do more of it?
Regular one to ones are little drivers of positivity which can help keep us on the right track, maximise satisfaction and ultimately, productivity in our teams.
If you have experience of the benefits of one to ones and how you keep on track with them, we’d love to hear from you. Of if you would like help in getting the most out of your one to ones, contact us for an informal chat on 07551303835 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.