What is a 1-1 meeting?
A 1-1 meeting in the HR context is exactly what it sounds like - It’s a meeting between two individuals at a company. They’re usually set up by a more senior employee acting as a mentor or leader over a junior employee, and are designed to help the latter become better at their particular role.
This type of meeting can significantly boost the productivity and success of your team as they offer an opportunity for insightful feedback. Without other employees in the room, the supervisor can be honest with their subordinates without any potential loss of face. As such, 1-1 meetings are one of the most important tools an HR manager has at their disposal and should form part of the foundation of their working strategy.
Many companies have adopted an open-door policy to managerial feedback that allows employees to voice their concerns to their superiors without having to plan for meetings. While it’s important to provide your staff members with the freedom to express themselves, it's also a good idea to maintain a planned series of meetings to provide regular check-in points. That's where 1-1 meetings come to the fore.
As you would expect the supervising manager tends to ask the most questions during a 1-1 meeting with some of the most common including;
What current tasks are you satisfied with?
What part of your work do you struggle with the most?
How are your relationships with your colleagues?
How would you characterize your feeling of engagement with the company?
How do you think you could develop your core soft skills?
What inspires you to work harder, and what drains your energy?
Are there any concerns you have about working here?
If you’re an employee it’s important to be proactive during 1-1 meetings and some questions you should ask include;
What aspect of my work are you most satisfied with?
Which areas do you think I could most improve?
How do you see my long-term progression at the company?
How can I best develop my education and training?
How do my colleagues view my work at the moment?
What can I do to highlight and further improve my leadership skills?
What soft skills do you think I should work on?
If you set up a 1-1 meeting system it’s absolutely essential that everyone is included otherwise you could damage staff morale by creating a feeling of exclusion among some team members. Make sure you explain the purpose of these meetings and what you hope to gain from them, and reassure your team that they are not disciplinary in nature.
If you enter into 1-1 meetings without proper research you’re going to find out quickly how awkward it can be to share a small space with someone in silence. Come prepared with questions, try to anticipate your interlocutor’s answers, and consider how you might implement the result of the meeting after it has been concluded.
It’s important to note that 1-1 meetings need to be organized consistently otherwise they will lose their efficacy. We recommend that you set up these meetings once every month or once every three months, depending on the size of your HR department.
While most meetings should be able to cover the most crucial aspects of your discussions with colleagues, some issues may need to be discussed on an ongoing basis. To facilitate this you should set up feedback channels where you can share progress on achieving goals as well as any concerns individuals may have about the mentoring they receive.
The ability to run a comprehensive 1-1 meeting system in your HR department is an excellent way to boost your team’s engagement. If this sounds like something you could use for your HR team then get in touch and we’ll be able to help you set up a high-quality 1-1 meeting system at your company. Just send us an email and one of our experts will contact you.