How to Have Effective One on One Meetings with Employees

Blog Posts / 30 September 2020

(Time Read | 2 min)

How are you at handling one on one meetings with employees?

Many managers and HR professionals can be uncomfortable with such personal meetings, but they’re necessary from time to time.  Being able to carry on effective one on one meetings will help improve employee performance and morale, as well as establishing you as someone that employees can talk to when they need.

As HR professionals, we’ve got plenty of tips to help your one on one meetings go more smoothly.

Six Tips for Better One on One Meetings with Staff

  1. Have clearly defined standards of comparison

If the meeting involves performance – and they usually do – you should have a clear idea of what good performance looks like, for each job role.  If possible, base these standards on data, rather than subjective evaluations.  It’s fairer.

  1. Have a clear agenda 

Don’t summon an employee for a one on one meeting without knowing exactly what you want to talk about beforehand.  Depending on the circumstance, you may or may not want to share that agenda with the employee, but you should always know what you want to say.

  1. Build trust at the start

Don’t immediately launch into business.  Check up with the employee and have a little small talk.  If they’re nervous, look for a way to relax them.  This will help the one on one meeting go more smoothly for the rest of the conversation.

  1. Ask about challenges or problems they’re facing

A one on one meeting shouldn’t be too one-sided.  Even if there are major important issues that you need to get across, allow time for the employee to express themselves as well.  Ask if there are any problems they’re having, and genuinely listen to their response.  This helps build rapport and can also maintain morale in an otherwise negative meeting.

  1. Provide notes

If you’re doing a performance evaluation, don’t strictly convey information verbally.  Have some notes written up that you can give to the worker, so they have materials they can later refer back to.

  1. Have positive meetings too!

For best long-term results, don’t reserve your one on one meetings with employees for negative things such as performance or behavior violations.  Use these meetings to highlight successes as well.

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