The power of 1:1 Meetings

Jul 19, 2021

1:1 meetings (one-on-one meetings) are a powerful tool for managers to connect with their direct reports. These meetings happen on a regular basis and their purpose is to keep employees engaged, informed, and motivated. These meetings were not created for a status update but instead, for developing a strong relationship, ensuring that direct reports feel like they’re working toward their goals.

“On average, only 15% of employees who work for a manager who does not meet with them regularly are engaged; managers who regularly meet with their employees almost tripled that level of engagement.– Gallup, 2014

For these meetings to be as effective as possible, they should adhere to three key things:

  • Scheduled
  • Recurring
  • Structured 

Also, they must be in private to create a safe place for outbursts, coaching, mentorship, feedback, or any other topic that make sense for both. If you’re a manager, use these meetings to ask about your direct report’s well-being or how they’re experiencing current work. By having a transparent relationship with your direct reports, you’ll be able to understand how they’re feeling. If you’re an employee, this is your chance to make suggestions, flag roadblocks, and be honest about your workload. Could you imagine if these 30-minutes meetings were implemented in places such as restaurants, shops, grocery stores, or call centers? Unfortunately, it’s still a reality in most companies, managers leading people they aren’t regularly checking in with.

“Perhaps unsurprisingly, employees who got little to no one-on-one time with their manager were more likely to be disengaged. On the flip side, those who get twice the number of one-on-ones with their manager relative to their peers are 67% less likely to be disengaged.” - Harvard Business Review

Managers will know how successful these meetings are if their direct reports actively participate in them and comfortably discuss the issues and concerns on their minds. Remember this should be the “safe place” where individuals feel heard, safe, and empowered. One way for managers to break the ice and create a safe environment is by sharing their own thoughts and feelings or fragilities (e.g when they are tired, sad, or struggling with an issue).

You can well imagine how much money could organizations win in productivity and staff retention if they had managers asking regularly to their direct reports “How are you feeling?”, “What is on your mind?”, “What are you most excited about?”, “What are you most worried about?”.

The benefits of applying 1:1 meeting in companies are endless. This brings out the best in people, eliminating unnecessary tension, improving workflow, and contribute to everyone feel valued and safe in their workplace. 1:1 meetings are the starting point for organizations to build a happier and consequently productive environment for everyone.

Ana Carolina Barros
Product Owner