Yes, it’s true: one-on-ones can be a great time to catch up with your employees. But they’re not just for catching up. They’re also an opportunity to get down to business, talk about challenges that are holding you back from reaching your goals and work together on solutions for them.
If you want to do this well — and reap the rewards of having honest conversations about what’s going right in your team and what needs improvement—it helps if you know how employees think and feel about their jobs and workplaces. That way, you can tailor your one-on-one questions accordingly so that they’ll actually help move the needle toward building a better organization overall.
First thing’s first: Focus on individual strengths
One-on-ones are a great opportunity to focus on each individual employee’s strengths. By doing this, you can not only better understand what they’re good at, but also help them feel appreciated for their contributions. In turn, this can motivate them to continue doing their best work.
Some questions you can ask to get the conversation started include:
- What are you working on that you’re really proud of?
- What do you feel like you’re excelling at lately?
- What type of work do you enjoy the most? Why?
- Get feedback on your management style.
Here are some ways to use one-on-ones to get a better understanding of your employees:
Listen to what they have to say. Take time during the one-on-one to listen attentively, ask questions and be empathetic. The more you listen, the more likely you’ll be able to identify specific areas of interest or concern. A good rule of thumb is if they’re sharing something with you that’s important enough for them to bring it up, it’s worth taking seriously; if not, it probably doesn’t matter too much anyway.
Ask for their input on things that affect them and their productivity at work—this will give you insight into their thoughts on how things could be improved within your team or organization as a whole. What do they think makes a good workplace environment? How do they feel about recent changes in policies? Do they have any ideas related specifically to improving employee wellbeing?
It’s also helpful here if possible for managers not just because this helps build rapport but also allows them another opportunity later on down the road when there may need addressing issues raised during previous meetings so as then not have missed anything out from other times before (which can happen).
Addressing The Employees’ Wellbeing
An important part of any manager’s job is to ensure that their employees are happy and healthy. After all, a stressed-out employee is not going to be one that is productive and helpful. Here are the different types of questions to ask, in order to peak into your employees’ current state of mind:
- How are you feeling today?
- Do you have any concerns that you would like to discuss?
- Is there anything on your mind that’s causing you stress?
- What do you think is the biggest contributing factor to your current level of happiness at work?
- What can I do to help make your job easier?
These questions will give you a good idea of how your employees are currently feeling. From there, you can work with them to come up with solutions to address any problems they’re having. For example, if they’re feeling stressed, see if there’s anything you can do to lighten their workload. If they’re unhappy with something at work, see if there’s a way to change it.
Use their top motivators to create a challenge.
If you want to really get your employees engaged, tap into their top motivators. What gets them excited to come to work in the morning? Is it a sense of accomplishment? Recognition from their peers? A feeling of being valued? Use this information to create a challenge for them that will help them feel motivated and engaged.
For example, if they’re motivated by a sense of accomplishment, set a goal for them to achieve within a certain timeframe. If they’re motivated by recognition, see if there’s a way to give them public praise for a job well done. And if they’re motivated by feeling valued, see if there’s something you can do to show them how much you appreciate their work.
How does this help with an employee’s well-being?
By understanding what motivates your employees, you can better challenge them to do their best work. And when they’re doing their best work, they’re likely to be happier and healthier. This, in turn, will lead to a more productive and engaged workforce.
Ask them why something is important.
Asking “what” someone wants to do is a great way to gain insights into their personal goals and aspirations. When you ask this question, be sure you’re actually listening and paying attention to what they say—meaning, don’t get too excited about something that sounds cool or interesting so much that you miss their answer!
It’s important for managers to be clear about what we expect from our employees in terms of performance and results, but it’s also important for us to provide them with feedback on how well they’re meeting those expectations.
Set up a development plan based on core needs.
Personal development plans are essential for employees to feel like they’re growing in their roles and career. Without a plan, it can be easy for employees to get stuck in a rut and become unhappy with their work.
When you’re creating a personal development plan for your employees, be sure to base it on their core needs. What skills do they need to improve? What knowledge are they lacking? What qualities do they need to develop? By addressing these needs, you’ll help ensure that your employees are able to grow and develop in their roles.
Ask about their work-life balance.
What does this mean for you, the manager? This is a great opportunity to gain insight into your employee’s work-life balance by asking about how they prioritize their time and manage their energy. You can also ask them about how they manage their stress levels, especially if you notice that your employees seem stressed out or frazzled. You might be surprised by what you learn!
Go ahead and ask them: “How do you balance work and life?” Most people have a difficult time answering this question because they don’t realize that there is an imbalance until it’s too late and they’ve lost sight of what really matters in both areas. If your employees have trouble answering this question, it could be because they haven’t slowed down enough yet to realize the importance of having a healthy work-life balance (or maybe they’re just trying not to get fired). So let’s take advantage of this opportunity!
It will help us understand whether our employees are satisfied with their current situation at work; whether there are any gaps between where we are now compared with where we want to be in terms of wellness; whether anyone should consider making changes; etc.
Identify and prioritize their interests.
If you want to know what someone is passionate about, ask them what they’re interested in. This question can be a great conversation starter because it allows you to get to know your employees on a more personal level. It also gives you an opportunity to identify their interests so that you can better match them with projects or tasks that they’ll enjoy working on.
Make sure you’re taking the time to understand what your employees are interested in and why.
Offer Constructive Feedback
Feedback is one of the most important tools a manager has at their disposal. It allows you to help your employees grow and improve, so they can do their job better. Giving feedback well can be challenging, but the more you practice it, the better you’ll get at doing it effectively. Here are some tips on giving constructive feedback:
Be Specific: Feedback should be specific and objective. Avoid making general comments or complaints.
Be Timely: Feedback should be given as soon after the event as possible. This will help ensure that your employees remember the event and can use the feedback to improve their performance moving forward.
Be Positive: Try to focus on the positive aspects of their performance while still providing constructive feedback. For example, “You did a great job on that project, and I think you would have done even better if you had taken more time to proofread your work.”
Be Constructive: Avoid giving criticism that is vague or could be interpreted in a negative way. For example, instead of saying “you’re lazy,” try “I noticed that you didn’t take a break during your last shift. I suggest taking a five-minute break every hour to stay refreshed and focused.”
Follow Up: After you’ve given feedback, follow up with your employee to see how they are doing and whether they have any questions. Giving feedback can be difficult, but it’s important to do it regularly if you want to help your employees grow and improve. If you’re not sure how to give constructive feedback, consider talking to a supervisor or HR representative for guidance.
Timely Feedback Is Best
It’s tempting for managers to want to wait until later on in their relationship with an employee before offering any criticism or suggestions for improvement—but that can lead them to come off as harsh or unhelpful when they finally do say something! If there’s something negative happening around work right now (no matter how small), let them know so they know where improvements need to be made right away!
Employee wellbeing should be at the heart of every 1:1
In conclusion, if managers can focus on the strengths and motivators of each employee, they can use these to create a challenge for them. This will keep their work-life balance in check and show them how important it is to prioritize their needs over those of others. Managers should also be able to identify what areas need improvement so they can set up development plans that help employees reach their goals. Lastly but most importantly, it’s important for managers to give constructive feedback so that employees know exactly what they need to work on next time around!