1-2-1 Meetings: Connectivity = Productivity!

Written by Paul Marchildon, on January 6, 2015.

meetings In her popular new book, Quiet: the Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking, non-fiction author Susan Cain has brought a lot of attention to the idea of one-on-one meetings with employees. She suggests it’s a great way for managers to unlock the best ideas, thoughts, skills and talents of their “quiet people,” the Introverts.

One-on-one meetings are markedly more effective for these employees, she says, because they build trust. But it’s important to remember, amidst all the buzz, that all employees benefit greatly from one-on-one time with leaders, enjoying the same nurturing of trust and enhanced results that follow.

Solo sessions with the upper brass are so important – for everyone! Here’s why.

1-1: The Ratio For Success!

One-on-one meetings give managers a chance to gauge where their employees are: what are they struggling with? Where do they need support? And, as importantly, where are they excelling? At what point can their manager say, “Kudos! Job well done! Keep it up.”?

According to the Harvard Management Update, “Engaging with employees this way builds strong relationships, which engenders trust. The more employees trust you, the more willing they will be to follow where you lead.”

Conversely you’ll find you’re more able to trust them, and be willing to follow where they lead. This is critical for leveraging their talents, and developing incentive initiatives that hit the sweet spot of their personal and professional motivation.

Oh, but wait. There’s more. You have an opportunity to drill down into individuals’ development in a way not possible during group meetings or the “Manage as You Walk” style conversations that happen when you – and your mind – are on your way somewhere else.

Targeted Conversations. You have focused time to address this person’s needs, strengths, and weaknesses. This allows you to skip the generalities and get right to the good stuff. And none of those people who can’t shut up will butt in with their opinion! (For the record, Susan, I can shut up. I just have so many great things to share!). No, it’s their time – and yours – to leverage for better results.
Making Time To Save Time. Yes, you do have to make time to meet with everyone. On the other hand, dealing with individual issues in one-on-one meetings means you free up time in regular staff and team meetings–to the delight ( and increased productivity) of everyone! You don’t have to address the entire group when the message really needs to be heard in private sessions.
Working On What’s Next. While you’ll have to tackle specific issues, projects, and assignments, there is also time to delve into development. How about creating a list of goals and objectives that will help this employee integrate work and life more seamlessly? Which steps would he or she have to take to accomplish them? What support would she require to make it work? It would also give you the opportunity to do regular check-ins against progress.

If this sounds like “soft” science, here’s some hard science to back up the importance of strong manager/direct-report relationships:

• A good relationship with a manager or direct boss is a bigger factor in employee retention than pay or other job perks.
• Employee satisfaction and productivity is correlated to the employees’ belief that their boss cares about them and is trustworthy.
• Retention rates rise when employees believe their managers respect their work/life “balance” and are willing to work with them on these issues.
• One survey asked if employees would leave a job in which they were receiving personal and professional development coaching in exchange for a $10,000 salary increase. An amazing 92% said no. So, how do you conduct these one-on-one meetings to get the most impact for your 30, 40, 60 minutes?

I’d love to tell you, but I can take a hint: I’m going to shut up and embrace some quiet. Make the commitment to create time in your schedule to meet with your people. It won’t take long for you to see results—and for the new meeting style to become a productive staple in the work week.

Paul Marchildon

Paul Marchildon

A self-proclaimed Leisureologist and Motivational Speaker, Paul Marchildon applies his vast expertise in human engagement to help leaders create more productive, effective organizations. Building on an influential career as a pioneer in employee incentive and loyalty programs, strategic creative communications, social media and mobile marketing, Paul provides insight into the advantages of incorporating a leisure culture in the "work" place. He is past president of Society of Incentive and Travel Executives’ (Site) Canadian Chapter and founder of Atlantis Creative Group (now part of Maritz Canada). He is one of a select group of Canadians who have received the Certified Incentive Travel Executive (CITE) designation.