As organizations look to develop more effective ways to manage talent, ongoing performance management is becoming the method of choice for progressive employers.
The foundation of this talent management style is regular check-ins and increased face-to-face time between employees and their supervisors. One-on-one meetings are highly beneficial for managers and employees.
These employee meetings help make sure expectations are being met — on both sides — and goals are being accomplished. But they also help build relationships, drive development, increase engagement and boost performance.
Managers need to look at these meetings as coaching sessions. While the meeting should be focused on the employee, their needs, goals and aspirations, it’s also an opportunity for managers to give feedback and help employees raise their game play.
Of course to reap these benefits, 1:1 meetings need to be done right. They should be scheduled and focused, but they don’t need to be rigid. Following up on the last meeting is always a good idea, but make sure these meetings don’t end up being just a re-cap.
The ultimate purpose of these meetings is help employees do their best work by actively managing performance. And as we know, there is so much more that impacts performance than just day-to-day work. Make sure you’re asking a variety of smart questions that will give you the answers you need to help employees hit it out of the park.
Questions you could be asking
While you're likely already asking the person how they feel about their workload and discussing goals, here are 10 questions you might not be asking but should be.
- What motivates you at work?
- What excites you most in your work?
- What skills do you get to use most?
- Do you have any skills that you aren't using often enough?
- Think back to your last three projects, is there one thing you would do differently next time?
- Is there anything preventing you from doing your job as well as you’d like?
- Is there knowledge areas or skills you’d like to develop to help you be more effective?
- What is one thing I could do to better support you?
- Are you happy at work?
- Are you able to do things you enjoy outside of work to manage stress?
You don’t need to ask all of these questions all of the time, but you should be asking at least some of these questions some of the time.
Asking these questions gives the person a chance to think critically about their work, their future goals and reinforces to them that their manager is a resource, not just a delegator or appraiser. It also shows them that you are on their team and care as much about their wellbeing as you do about the work itself.
It's not just about asking
On the flip side, you also have to make sure that you are actively listening to the questions you’re asking. This means you are concentrated on the person in front of you, you are understanding what they are saying and you are responding. Close down apps and email so that you are not distracted by notifications.
One of the best ways to show that you were focused is to summarize the discussion and then work together to form a plan of action.
Managers need to make these 1:1 meetings more than a pep talk. Ask questions that will give you the insight to help employees up their game.