When was the last time you had one-on-one meetings with your team members?
When Stephanie used to offer business coaching, this was the concept that she received the most push-back on from small business owners. Especially in traditional work environments, where everyone was coming into the office every day. Many small business owners still incorrectly assume that their team will bring any problems directly to them. Logically, that makes sense, but it’s rarely how it works out in practical application.
Because of this Stephanie has always encouraged small business owners to take time to meet with their employees one-on-one, not just to talk about their day-to-day projects, but also their overall performance. And Stephanie cautions that this should be a weekly occurrence at the very least. Setting aside this time is not only incredibly helpful to the business owner, but the employee as well. “When I have a scheduled one-on-one with my team members, it allows both of us space to bring up issues before they explode,” Stephanie shares.
And yes, this conversation needs to happen in both directions. It provides space for employees to come to Stephanie with problems before she is blind-sided with a two-week notice, but it also creates space for her to bring up problems right away and avoid any festering..
“Having this regularly scheduled time to sit down has made an enormous difference for transparency within my team. These one-on-one meetings also allow your team to feel cared for and seen,” Stephanie admitted.
The Problem & Solution
Over the last two years, as Grow Disrupt grew rapidly, those weekly one-on-ones began to shift from overall planning for the future of the employee and current situation to more immediate, day-to-day “What’s on your plate?What do you need help with? Okay, great run, go.”
It took a few months, but Stephanie realized that she and the team had entirely gotten away from the long-term strategy and personal growth check-ins that made the one-on-ones so valuable from the get-go. Now that the team members were well established, this wasn’t as critical to review weekly, so Stephanie went through her calendar, and sent over a quarterly meeting to extend the normal half-hour weekly one-on-one to a full hour for each team member with the intent of getting back to the original agenda:
- What’s on your plate currently and long term?
- What do you need support with currently and long term?
- What ways do we see for the employee to improve as a member of the team?
- What ways do we see for Stephanie to improve as a leader?
- What does the employee see for their future? Either with the company…or not!
- Let’s build a path of progression to get the employee there…
Stephanie didn’t make a big announcement, just sent out the calendar invites with notices of what the team was getting back to and the results were surprising. “All I did was send out calendar invites with a note that ‘Hey, I know we’ve gotten away from our meetings to talk about YOU instead of just work, so let’s get back to that.’ And people started coming to me to tell me how much they appreciated that and how much they’d wanted to ask for it, but didn’t want to bother me. It really blew me away.”
When your team feels cared for; they will let you know.
These meetings allow Stephanie to create space to begin a conversation about how I can support them in balancing work and life, because I firmly believe there should be separation between work life, and the rest of my team members lives. However, I also do believe if their personal lives are struggling, their work life will struggle and vice versa. So, if their work life is suffering, their personal life will as well. To help them find balance I must be aware of what's going on, so that I may see what I can do to help get things running smoothly again.
Do yourself a favor and set up a weekly one-on-one with your team members to discuss how they're doing in their roles within the business and where they want to go. You can ensure your team has the tools and resources both personally and professionally to craft a life that they love. When they can achieve this, they'll stick around with you forever.