No one likes reviews. They’re stressful for both the manager and the employee. Yet, taking time to connect one-on-one is important. When you create a culture of genuine care, showing you’re FOR THEM and believe in them, it not only lowers stress but encourages positive growth and loyalty. It’s this growth mindset that empowers people to work through challenges and reach big goals.
Here are 6 tips for creating positive One-On-One time with your team.
1. Take the pressure off: Go to a favorite coffee shop or restaurant in town to check-in with your staff. Make sure they know this is a time just to touch base and focus on what’s going well and new ideas, not a formal review.
· A public place away from the office takes the pressure off of and the concern of others possibly listening in.
· It also helps protects you from closed door accusations.
2. What makes them tick: Invest a few minutes discussing what makes them tick. Do you know what their passionate about outside of work? Is it a hobby, sports goal, or family? Find out. And ask how it’s going. When your employees consistently notice you take time to care about them, you will dramatically increase your retention rates.
3. Listen to their Goals: This positive one-on-one time is a great opportunity to help your team set, track and review work goals. It may start with completing your training program, but find out what they want and create an action plan to help them achieve it. Goals might include:
· Learning a specific care strategy, such as how to re-direct a patient with dementia
· Working toward a new position within your organization
· Pursuing outside education to increase opportunity
Create a simple outline to the goal. Have a game plan with specific actions and behaviors they can work towards between now and your next one-on-one meeting.
For internal goals, this might include specific training time you schedule in, or job shadowing another employee. Even one hour a month dedicated to their goals demonstrates your care for them is real and not just hot air.
For outside goals, such as personal education, it may mean you offer an incentive for completed classes or help flex their schedule to fit in a needed course. Either way, listen, encourage, and help with tangible actions you can review at your next meeting.
4. Positive Feedback: Provide no more than 2-3 specific points of feedback on how they are doing within their role. If there’s something they can work on, keep your feedback constructive and work on just one thing at a time. Give them the opportunity to help create growth solutions. If they honestly feel they need more training, listen. And help make it happen. Always start and end your feedback with a positive.
5. Listen: Finally, give them the floor and the opportunity to share feedback and ideas.
· Do they have an idea to improve your company? Folks in the trenches often have ideas for solutions. Ask for them. All you have to do is listen and take them back to the office. You may find inspiration that helps you fix an on-going problem. You may just listen. Just remember not to shoot down ideas at this point. This is their turn.
· Is there a way you could do something different to help them and your team succeed? Avoid being defensive. Be open and humble. The tone you set by listening will build genuine respect and rapport; it will build their trust in you and allow your feedback for them to be heard and received.
6. Keep it Positive: Keep it positive. One-on-one time can easily turn into tearing down or blaming other co-workers. Hear complaints, even writing them down so they know they are heard, but re-direct if they get overly negative. Don’t’ sweep conflict under the rug, but keep this a positive time about their work, not others on the team. We have the power to make our own choices, not those of others. Help them see what they can do to reach their goals.
If meeting one-on-one is a new addition to your organization, or one that has gotten off-track and into a negative spin, you’ll need to work extra hard to establish a positive and open experience. Start small and build it. Let them know this is a time to talk about what they’re doing well, and what ideas they have to help the company thrive.
If you can, connect quarterly with each person, but at least semi-annually. Lead by example and show your team not only how much you care, but how far they can grow.