Speaking of meetings, one meeting that's more critical than ever is the One-on-One.
One-on-ones provide dedicated time for managers and their direct reports to connect, discuss priorities, and address any challenges or concerns. These meetings help avoid some of the pitfalls of hybrid and remote work, including:
- Building trust: One-on-ones allow managers and direct reports to build trust and establish rapport. Building the same level of trust and connection as in-person can be challenging when working remotely, so one-on-ones are a valuable way to strengthen relationships.
- Addressing isolation: Remote work can be isolating, and one-on-ones provide dedicated time to connect and engage in meaningful conversations. Managers can use this time to check their direct reports' well-being, discuss concerns, and provide support and guidance.
- Fostering alignment: One-on-ones allow managers and direct reports to discuss priorities, set goals, and ensure everyone is aligned on the team's objectives. This can be especially important in a hybrid work environment where miscommunication is more likely to happen.
- Providing feedback: One-on-ones are an excellent opportunity for managers to provide feedback on their direct reports' performance, offer guidance and coaching, and recognize their achievements. In a remote work environment, it can be challenging to provide feedback regularly, so one-on-ones can be a valuable tool for performance management.
How to get started with One-on-Ones:
Convinced about the power of one-on-ones? Here is how to get started:
- Schedule and Prioritize the Meetings: As a remote manager, the first step is to schedule one-on-one meetings with each team member. Don't treat these meetings as an afterthought; prioritize them by scheduling them first on your calendar. Consistency is key, so set a regular cadence for these meetings, whether weekly or bi-weekly, depending on your team's size, member experience, and preferences.
- Communicate Expectations in Advance: Before each one-on-one meeting, send a message to your team member outlining the purpose and expectations for the upcoming meeting. Encourage them to come prepared with any topics they'd like to discuss, questions, concerns, or feedback they may have. This ensures you and your team members are ready to make the most of the meeting.
- Active Listening and Constructive Feedback: During the one-on-one meeting, focus on listening actively. Ask open-ended questions to encourage your team member to share their thoughts, challenges, and aspirations. Listen carefully to their responses, avoid interrupting, and let them speak freely. When providing feedback, make sure it is constructive, supportive, and focused on helping them improve and grow in their roles.
- Goal Setting and Personal Development: Use these meetings as an opportunity to set clear expectations and goals with your team members. Discuss their current tasks, responsibilities, and projects, and ensure they understand what is expected of them. Identify areas where they may need additional support or resources to achieve their objectives. Additionally, talk about their personal development and career goals, and collaborate on creating a customized development plan to help them grow professionally.
- Follow-Up and Support: Take detailed notes during the meeting and follow up on action items in subsequent one-on-ones. Show your team member that you value their progress and well-being by providing ongoing support and guidance. Use the meetings to celebrate their achievements, address challenges, and keep communication lines open.
To get the most value out of one-on-ones, invest in training team members to take an active role and get more value from these meetings.
Key stat about one-on-ones:
Software and tools for better one-on-ones:
- Collaborative one-on-one notes: Fellow, CultureAmp, Pingboard, Lattice, OfficeVibe
- Meeting Scheduling and Calendar Management: Google Calendar, Microsoft Outlook, Calendly, Doodle, Clockwise
- Best-in-class meeting platforms: Microsoft Teams, Zoom, BlueJeans, Whereby
- Automated meeting notes: Meetgeek, Fireflies, Otter, Grain
If you're looking to improve your one-on-one meetings, check out these free Office Backgrounds for Zoom (and Teams + Google Meet.
Read more about one-on-ones:
- The FlexOS guide to better one-on-ones and our one-on-one templates and eBook.
- The foundational "How to Make Your One-on-Ones with Employees More Productive," by Rebecca Knight on HBR.
- The one-on-one guide on the Lattice website has a lot of practical tips and sample questions to ask.