Regardless of how often they happen, one-on-one meetings between managers and their employees are essential for both participants.
Managers, this is your chance to find out whether your employees are thriving or falling behind, whether there’s a problem that needs to be addressed, or they have a great idea to help solve a nagging issue.
But are you asking the right questions in these meetings to make the most of your time with your employee?
Here are six questions you should ask in every one-on-one meeting:
1. How’s everything going here and outside of work?
Set the tone early: you want to make sure your employee feels steady and stable both at home and at work. Work stress can be carried home and, if there’s any trouble in the off-hours, stress from the office can make things more complicated. It’s also just a good general idea to show consideration and concern for your team: Your employees are directly responsible for your company’s success, and if they’re distracted by something going on, either at work or home, it can hurt the whole team. Sometimes just listening can be a big help.
2. What’s on your plate right now?
Get a sense of how much work each employee is tasked with at the moment. Over time, you’ll know who can take on extra projects and who needs a little more time to focus on one project at a time to excel. It’s also really easy to overload the more competent (or quiet) employees, to keep giving them work to do without realizing just how much they’re juggling. The last thing your team needs right now is for one of the leaders to feel burned out.
3. Do you have any highlights from the past week?
Big or small, victories deserve to be acknowledged and celebrated. If your employee has been diligently working on a project for a long time, advancing it from one stage to the next can feel like a massive win, even if it might not seem that way to someone who prefers to acknowledge only the full completion of a task. Asking what makes each employee proud and happy is a good way to understand what motivates them. Plus, employees who feel seen, noticed, appreciated, and recognized for their hard work are less likely to feel unhappy at work and start looking for a new place to hang their hat.
4. Is there any new skill you’d like to learn, or anyone you’d like to learn from?
Employees who feel like there’s room for them to grow and add new skills to shake off the dust and continue to learn where they are are less likely to be tempted to change jobs. Offering a mentorship program, or on-the-job training for those who want to take ownership of a new kind of work, tells your employee you see their potential and want to support their aspirations. Not all managers and workplaces offer this kind of support and training; it’s another way to show your team you value them as people, not just employees.
5. Do you feel the team is working well together, or are there issues to be corrected?
The bottom line here is you want to know whether everyone’s on the same page. Teams pulling toward a common goal and understanding their role in the bigger picture are more likely to put aside small differences and misunderstandings for the greater good. But beware: small tensions and stressful episodes can grow and fester and cause much larger problems if left unaddressed and swept under the rug. When asking this question, remind your employee that you’re slightly removed from the team, and you want to understand their daily experiences. This isn’t a matter of judgment but rather an opportunity to address a problem before it grows.
6. Do you feel like you receive enough feedback and have enough opportunity to provide it?
Put more simply: Do you feel heard? Do you feel seen? Is your work being acknowledged? Are you angry and feeling invisible? Some people don’t know how to speak up unless they’re directly asked for a comment and, if no one asks, they’ll swallow their frustrations and start looking for another job. Some employees want to know if they’re meeting their manager’s expectations and, if not, how they can improve. Others want to know their hard work is appreciated. And some people want to come in, do their job, and go home. Asking this question will help you understand each employee’s needs and respond accordingly.
The most important thing you can do, as a manager, in these meetings is to listen. Take notes as needed so you can gauge progress over time. You’ll get to know your employees better, and they’ll be able to develop a better rapport with you while feeling supported and valued.
Reach Out to Davis
If the time comes where you need to add new employees to your team, call Davis Staffing. We have fantastic clients looking for great new opportunities with a company like yours. Call Davis today and let’s get to work!