Ideas for the One-on-One
I'm sort of a middle manager at our company if you will. I am the Help Desk Manager with 2 technicians that report to me directly. I report to our IT Director. My boss has asked that I start having one-on-one meetings maybe once every 2 weeks with the technicians. Though we have tons of interaction daily, we don't often take the time to get out of the help desk for a little while and just talk.
When you have one-on-one meetings with your employees, how does it normally go? When I have had them with managers, it's normally an opportunity for the manager to give the employee feedback on what they are doing well and things on which they could improve. We were recently at Epicor Insights and had the chance to hear Jack Welch speak. One of his main points was on employee engagement and to make sure you are loving people as much on the way in as you are on the way out, providing constant feedback along the way so that the employee knows where he / she stands. No one should be surprised when they get a raise or when they get fired. So we want to get a little better about giving our employees feedback in addition to the day-to-day interaction.
What do your one-on-ones normally consist of?
I find that one-on-ones usually are about 40% business discussion this is what we have been up to, hey can you... type stuff and the other 60% just listening to what is going on for work and personal stuff. But that is also NTG where we operate a bit differently than most businesses.
If you are trying to keep clear I am your manager not your friend lines. Then it should consist of going through closed out and open tickets. Giving proper feedback and using it as a time to pass on head knowledge so that they can grow in their experience and be more efficient at their jobs.
You hopefully will allow for the flow of information in the other direction. What do they see that is or isn't working.. how do they thing processes can be improved. No better way I can think of to engage employees that get them involved in the process.
Of course, just because they suggest something doesn't mean it will happen. I suggest things all the time to my boss, who constantly gives me generally good reasons why something may or may not work.
You are correct. I want to hear from them in regard to ideas for improvement, if there is anything else I could be doing to help them be more effective in their position, etc.
Not just in their own jobs though. Often IT will see things from a completely different perspective than the end user, this perspective is powerful and should be considered and weighted when possible.
Well Nick, I think you just answered it when you said "I want to hear from them in regard to ideas for improvement, if there is anything else I could be doing to help them be more effective in their position, etc." Make that the starting point of the meeting, and see what they have to say. If you're as personable as a manager as you are as a colleague, I'm sure you'll get some useful feedback. Of course, you can follow that up with your own feedback, whether it's responding to their thoughts or mentoring through praising their strengths and offering advice to bolster their weaknesses. At least that's pretty much how I have done my own, which I have gotten a decent response from. And it goes without saying that mine incorporate a fair amount of wit and sarcasm, as well. Never forget that part. Gotta have fun.