Manager - Employee Communication: An Important Driver for Engagement in 2014

by Saba Software | Posted | Communication

Manager - Employee Communication: An Important Driver for Engagement in 2014

In a recent blog post, RIMA Design, a UK-based corporate communications group, writes how internal communications are becoming more important in driving employee engagement: “it is the employee’s direct relationship with their manager that greatly affects their engagement levels.” 

Moreover, RIMA shares that: “recognition is a huge driver of employee engagement. And often recognition simply comes down to effective communication.”

Simply put, managers play an integral role in ensuring lines of communication between themselves and their employees remain open and healthy. 

In Bersin by Deloitte’s Predictions for 2014: Building a Strong Talent Pipeline for the Global Economic Recovery, Josh Bersin predicts that 2014 will be about empowering people and focusing on the employee during what looks to be a year of global economic transition and recovery. He asserts that during times of growth, we should focus on “sourcing, recruiting, and competing for talent”, and “reengaging the workforce we have”. 

Let’s focus on that last bit about reengaging our people.

How can managers work more efficiently to increase employee engagement while at the same time convey just how very important employees are to the organization?

One way is by ensuring managers and employees participate in regular, meaningful one-on-one meetings with their employees.

So why aren’t we giving managers the tools and resources to do just that?

Improving manager-employee communication through one-on-one meetings

While many managers are well-intentioned when it comes to conducting regular one-on-one meetings with their employees, most don’t have a way to tightly link these discussions back to the company’s talent management objectives in a succinct or meaningful way. What they need is a bit of structure for guiding these conversations.

There are four steps to improving one-on-one meetings between managers and employees, and a tool like Halogen 1:1 Exchange can automate — and thereby simplify — these steps for all involved. 

1. Provide conversation starters. One of the challenges managers face is knowing exactly what to discuss during one-on-one meetings with employees. The Halogen 1:1 Exchange meeting management tool offers built-in conversation starters to help guide the discussion.

For example, these conversation starters can be configured by HR to ensure important questions and communication points relating to the organization’s mission, vision and values are reinforced in every meeting. 

In this screen shot you can see that managers can select from a series of questions to get the conversation rolling with employees:

Meetings conversation starters

While not every conversation starter will be used at every meeting, it does help both the manager and the employee to prioritize the topics for discussion during a given one-on-one meeting.

2. Set an agenda. No matter who you’re meeting with, having an agenda is a best practice. 1:1 Exchange makes this step easier by automatically generating a meeting agenda based on recent employee activity in the Halogen TalentSpace™ suite.

For example, goal or development plan updates, feedback received and new learning activities are automatically included:

Meetings always have a great agenda

This turns regular meetings into vehicles for clear, open communication between manager and employee where goals can be updated and employee performance feedback shared and documented — all in real time. Managers and employees don’t have to rely on memory, or spend valuable time deciding on priorities and choosing which topics to discuss.

3. Take notes. Capturing discussion points and action items are important in terms of setting expectations and accountability. 1:1 Exchange makes this step super easy. Notes can be entered into the system and automatically saved and stored as meeting minutes:

Meetings make a note of that

The minutes are stored in the employee record, so they’re available on demand, for quick reference and can even be viewed in a split-screen while completing employee performance reviews.

4. Track progress. The only way to ensure effective one-on-one meetings between managers and employees is to track progress. Not easy to do if you’re relying on anecdotal information. To see if improved communication via regular meetings is having an impact on engagement scores, performance ratings, and turnover, you can consult the reports in Halogen 1:1 Exchange.

These reports provide HR administrators and upper-level managers insight into how frequently managers are meeting with direct reports. For example, in this screenshot you can see the percentage of employees who are participating in regular on-on-one meetings:

Meetings monitor meeting effectiveness

Want to learn more about using Halogen 1:1 Exchange to improve communication in your organization?

Circling back to the Bersin by Deloitte predictions, 2014 is the year to build a strong talent pipeline. If developing strong working relationships between managers and employees is crucial to organizational performance and results, then one-on-one meetings should form the backbone of those relationships. So help your managers do them well.

If you would like to learn more about the Halogen 1:1 Exchange module and how it can help you to improve communication in your organization, join me on Thursday, February 6 from  1:00 – 1:30 p.m. ET for a live webinar demo of the module.

In this session titled Developing strong manager - employee relationships with Halogen’s new 1:1 Exchange™ meeting module, I’ll share how you can use 1:1 Exchange to improve engagement and foster a culture of ongoing feedback and performance in your organization.

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