Entrepreneur and business magnate Richard Branson famously said that ‘If you look after your staff, they’ll look after your customers. It’s that simple.’

Whether it is that easy is debatable, but he makes the valid point – employers can reap the rewards of looking after their employees. This doesn’t just mean giving them a good salary or excellent benefits but also enabling open and honest communication in the workplace. A good way to do this is by carrying out regular and structured one to one meetings with employees.

What is the point of one to one meetings?

Even if you have one or two annual reviews during the year, you should have less formal meetings with your employees. These can be each week, month or during each six week period – whatever suits your organisation best.

One to one meetings offer a great opportunity to sit down with an employee in a quiet and private spot to see how they are. You can discuss whether how they are managing their role’s responsibilities; what is working well and what isn’t; whether they are encountering any issues; if they are any training needs and how they are meeting objectives set in previous meetings.

What are the benefits of regular one to one meetings?

Regular dialogue and feedback allow managers to be more responsive. It gives them the opportunity to provide feedback to employees for projects as they go along, address any concerns when they happen and settle grievances and disputes quickly and effectively.

It gives managers vital insight that they simply cannot get from observing their direct reports in day to day work. In group meetings, an employee may not be able to speak freely, but in one to one meetings, they may feel more compelled to discuss workplace problems and be honest about how they are coping with work demands.

Having dedicated time with their manager helps employees feel that their voices are heard and their work is valued. This enables managers to build a stronger working relationship with employees.

This can all have a positive effect on boosting engagement and productivity. It can also be a useful tool to retaining your organisation’s top talent.

So why are some managers dragging their feet?

Managers may say they don’t have enough time to carry out one to one meetings with all their direct reports, or that these informal meetings don’t add any real value. But employers shouldn’t be accepting these excuses.

Performance management is part and parcel of a manager’s role and is instrumental to ensuring that your employees are performing to the required standards. Often managers erroneously believe that conducting a formal annual review is enough. The truth is that there are a number of key ingredients to successfully managing employees’ performance, including using probationary periods wisely, setting objectives, monitoring performance frequently and taking action when necessary to correct underperformance.  Only when all those things work in harmony do employees really succeed.

To find out more about performance management, read our other articles:

If you are facing performance management issues in your organisation, contact your Employment Law expert who can guide you.

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