(Freebie) Introducing the secret sauce to engaging your employees!

(Freebie) Introducing the secret sauce to engaging your employees!

As I have shared in earlier posts, when it comes to managing others, there are a variety of approaches and styles.  The biggest obstacle I continue to see in the manager-employee work relationship is a lack of communication.  I am not talking about managers telling employees what to do. Yes, employees need to do the work accurately, but they are not robots, and different things motivate different people.  So only telling your employees what to do and specifically how to do it is not very engaging over time. 

What I am referring to is a quality dialogue.  The kind of conversation that makes employees want to come to work, give extra effort, and become invested in helping the organization succeed. It shows the employee you actively support their growth and development, plus it is a great way to accomplish other goals in the department and organization.

So what is this secret sauce? 1:1’s, specifically employee-driven 1:1’s, are the secret sauce to engaging employees.  

1:1’s may have different names, but it is something that will never go out of style in the workplace. Have you ever had a 1:1?  If yes and you didn’t find it valuable, then something went wrong.  

Here are my top 5 reasons why 1:1’s don’t happen and 3 keys to successful 1:1’s. 

Top 5 reasons 1:1’s don’t happen:

  1. We have too much work to do and can’t make time to meet.
  2. My employee always cancels the last minute, saying they don’t have anything to update me on.
  3. It seems pointless to meet when all we do is review their current workload, and it feels like micro-management.
  4. Our schedules don’t align, and we work in separate offices.
  5. It’s always an uncomfortable conversation, and neither one of us knows what the purpose is.

Quality employee-driven 1:1’s will benefit both you as the manager and your employee. It keeps employees engaged, which directly impacts your bottom line.  There are fewer errors, fewer headaches, and more collaboration when people enjoy where they work. It is not rocket science, but it can make all the difference in the world to your employees, hence the secret sauce. 

Let’s look at 1:1’s from the employee perspective. I recently had a conversation with a manager over their current 1:1’s with his supervisor.  Here’s a quick list of how his last one played out.

Before their 1:1 meeting:

  • His supervisor asks for him to email a list of topics he wants to discuss.  
  • The employee gets a reply back with opinions on every single bullet point.

During their 1:1 meeting:

  • The supervisor controls the meeting by talking about other topics.
  • 45 minutes later the employee realizes his supervisor doesn’t care what he thinks.
  • Realizing his supervisor has his own agenda, the employee shuts down.

After their 1:1 meeting:

  • The supervisor says, wow, we covered a lot in that meeting, great conversation. 
  • The employee is trying to find ways to get out of this meeting in the future.  

If you found yourself missing the mark on the top 5 reasons why 1:1’s are not happening or can relate to the scenario listed above, no worries, you can still recover.  Below are guidelines to help you get started, stay on track, and keep the focus. 

Top 3 Keys to a successful 1:1:  

  1. Before the 1:1 meeting:
    1. Commit to a time, recommend weekly, do not reschedule unless unforeseen circumstances. It can be in person or over a video call.
    2. Consistent 1:1 ensures progress and continued communication to help with employee engagement.
    3. Tracking progress, the employee completes this form and shares it with their supervisor before the 1:1 meeting.
  2. During the 1:1 meeting:
    1. The employee drives the discussion, giving an update and overall progress. Their supervisor asks questions and provides feedback to the employee.
  3. After the 1:1 meeting:
    1. Never stop, even when communication is going well, and the employee has continued success. You can adjust the frequency if needed, but stopping altogether should not be an option.

The number one reason to have 1:1’s with your employees is to improve communication and employee engagement.  You are providing an opportunity for your employees to show how much or little they are engaged at work.  Are they overwhelmed? Do they have the tools needed to be successful? What goals are they motivated to accomplish?

As an employee, it’s your way to show your supervisor what you are capable of. You can ask for feedback on your performance instead of wondering and waiting for the dreaded annual review time.  It’s your opportunity to focus on your development beyond the day-to-day tasks your job requires you to accomplish.

FREE Employee Driven 1:1 Form

Get started today by using this Employee Driven 1:1 Form! You can modify or use as-is and be successful as a manager in keeping your employees engaged!

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