Employee Engagement

How to Improve Engagement Through Regular 1-on-1 Meetings

Katie Ash

Sep 22, 2023
In today's fast-paced and dynamic work environment, employee engagement has become a critical factor for success. Engaged employees are more productive, innovative, and committed to their work, while disengaged employees are less productive, less likely to be innovative, and more likely to resign.

But how do you cultivate that kind of energized workforce? One powerful strategy is making regular 1-on-1 meetings a core part of your management approach. Let's dive into why these individualized check-ins are so impactful for nurturing engagement.

What Is Employee Engagement?

Before we go further, let's get on the same page about what employee engagement really means. In a nutshell, it's the emotional commitment an employee has to their organization and its goals.

Engaged employees aren't just punching a clock. They're passionate about their work and actively look for ways to maximize their impact. That enthusiasm and drive are invaluable assets for any company.  (Discover More : 12 Ways to Improve Employee Engagement)

Why Employee Engagement Matters

When your people are engaged, it transforms every facet of how your business operates:

  • Higher productivity - Engaged workers are 17% more productive than their disengaged peers.
  • Better retention - Companies with high engagement see 24% lower turnover.
  • Superb customer service - Engaged employees deliver better customer experiences.
  • Increased profits - Highly engaged workplaces see 21% higher profitability.

Clearly, nurturing engagement pays major dividends. But how exactly do 1-on-1s help drive those stellar outcomes?

Why 1-on-1 Meetings Are Engagement Boosters?

Building relationships and trust is an essential part of effective leadership. Regular 1-on-1 meetings allow managers to :

  • Build trust and rapport - Get to know employees as whole people, not just workers.
  • Provide personalized coaching - Understand each person's strengths, goals, and challenges.
  • Gather open feedback - Create a safe space for honest two-way dialogue.
  • Show you value them - Demonstrate their voice, growth, and success matter.

Managers can use the information they gather from these meetings to tailor their management style and communication to each individual employee. This personalised approach can help to build trust, foster open communication, and create a positive work environment.

1-on-1 Meetings Are Engagement Boosters. (Photo by Helena Lopes)

One-on-one meetings are also an excellent source of business insights that can be used to avoid disengagement. Employees often have unique insights into their work, processes, and customer/market needs that managers may not be aware of.

By regularly meeting with employees, managers can tap into this knowledge and identify potential issues before they become major problems.

Best Practices of 1-on-1 Meetings

To make the most of 1-on-1 meetings with employees, managers should follow a few best practices.

Schedule Regular Meetings in Advance

Firstly, managers should schedule regular meetings in advance. Use a tool like Calendly to streamline scheduling. Come prepared with an agenda, but leave ample time for open discussion. This helps to demonstrate the importance of the meetings and shows employees that their time is valued.

Actively Listen to Employees During the Meetings

Secondly, managers should actively listen to their employees during the meetings. They should encourage open communication and be receptive to feedback, ideas, and concerns.

Gather Information and Take Action

Finally, managers should use the information gathered from the meetings to take action. They should address any concerns or issues raised by employees, and follow up on any action items.Over time, these individualized check-ins become vital venues for coaching, feedback, and honest dialogue. Employees feel heard and supported, strengthening their connection to their work and your organization's mission.

Best practices of 1-on-1 meetings. (Photo by fauxels)

10 Questions to Ask During 1-on-1 Meetings‍

Of course, just having the meetings isn't enough. You need to steer the conversations in a direction that fosters openness and insight. Try incorporating some of these thought-provoking questions:

  • Since we last met, what are you most proud of and why?
  • What support do you need from me this week?
  • What’s your top priority for next week?
  • What part of your role right now motivates you the most?
  • Do you feel that your current responsibilities and job align with your future goals?
  • What is the one thing that you feel is holding you back from getting closer to achieving your goals?
  • Do you feel like you’re making a positive contribution to the company with your work?
  • Do you think you have a good work-life balance at the moment?
  • What feedback and suggestions do you have for me and the company?
  • On a scale of 1 to 10, how happy are you with your current job, duties, and position?

Key Takeaways

Regular 1-on-1 meetings with employees are an effective way to improve employee engagement, build relationships, and gain valuable business insights. When managers take the time to listen to their employees, understand their concerns, and act on their feedback, they create a positive work environment that fosters engagement and commitment.

  • Employee engagement leads to higher productivity, retention, customer satisfaction, and profits.
  • Regular 1-on-1 meetings build trust and give you insights to better support each employee.
  • Ask insightful questions that spark constructive discussions about goals, challenges, and growth areas.
  • Actively listen to understand your employees' perspectives and motivations.
  • Consistently prioritizing quality 1-on-1 time pays dividends in a more energized, engaged workforce.

In our fast-paced world, employees crave a human connection to their workplace. Thoughtful 1-on-1s provide exactly that, fostering the engagement that empowers people and businesses to truly thrive.

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