How to use a specially designed document to guide your regular employee catch-ups

It is increasingly accepted that regular feedback sessions yield positive results for employees, managers and the company as a whole. The Corporate Executive Board (CEB) and Deloitte have both found frequent feedback given in the form of regular employee check-ins has a significant impact on both employee engagement and performance.

So for any performance management system to be truly effective, it needs to incorporate regular one-to-ones. This is especially important given that a 2015 public survey found 58% of executives believe their performance management processes don’t drive productivity. With this in mind, we have created a best-practice one-to-one meeting template that can be utilised alongside relevant performance management software to guide employee check-ins and ensure they are as effective as possible.

Below is our top advice regarding one-to-one feedback, how to get the most out of a check-in session and how to best use our one-to-one meeting template.

How often should you hold regular catch-ups?

Evidence suggests feedback is more effective when it is given regularly — but how frequent do these meetings need to be? Forbes is in favour of one-to-ones that are either weekly or fortnightly. Similarly, Deloitte also recommends a once-a-week approach to feedback. Another source suggests a fortnightly catch-up, noting that these sessions can be strongly linked to improved performance.

Engaging in frequent one-to-ones with your entire workforce might sound intimidating and time-consuming at first, but they can actually prove to be a serious time saver. The feedback sessions might only last five to ten minutes, which is very little time at all when compared to the lengthy annual review sessions that are falling out of favour due to their inefficient nature. When it comes to tracking your feedback sessions, remember to make use of your performance management software package. Keep your scheduled one-to-one meetings whenever possible; if a meeting needs to be postponed for an important reason, reschedule it to take place as soon as possible.

Who should arrange and run the one-on-one meeting?

One-to-ones are far more likely to occur when they are initiated by the employee. This is an approach utilised by Deloitte and with good reason. It forces the employee to put thought and consideration into their own performance and puts them in the driving seat, which is a great motivator.

Allow the employee to run the meeting to a certain extent. They should read the prompt questions listed on the one-to-one meeting template and prepare points for discussion in advance of the meeting. In this way, the employee is doing the majority of the talking. The manager should be actively listening and answering questions when needed. This will give the manager in question a great overall image of how the employee is performing in their role and give an indication as to their confidence level.

It should be noted that some meetings will be fairly quick. Not all prompt questions need to be discussed in each and every meeting. Only discuss issues and topics relevant to that point in time.

Cover actions from your last check-in

Make sure you review action points from your previous one-to-one. Were all the previously agreed upon actions completed? If so, recognise the employee for their efforts. If not, establish the reasons behind why the actions were not completed. Discuss any issues that might be impeding progress. Talk about whether the aims outlined in the last session were as achievable as they first appeared. Agree what can be done to ensure the goals are met as soon as possible and ask if you, as the manager, can do anything to help the process.

Analyse employee strengths

This is the best possible time to discuss an employee’s existing strengths, how the employee’s strengths can be leveraged and what weaknesses they believe they can work on. You might find your employee has certain strengths that can really stand to benefit the company, or the employee might express a desire to develop a certain skillset that would benefit everyone.

Cover individual and team priorities

The one-to-one meeting template will prompt employees to discuss individual and team priorities. Cover the priorities for the next few weeks and, if organisational priorities have changed recently, use this time to adapt accordingly.

Don’t forget to cover any pressing issues and concerns

An integral part of regular one-to-ones is the discussion of concerns that either party may have. Does the employee have any current issues that are impeding his or her progress? Address any and all potential options for resolving the problem at hand, as well as any immediate actions that can be undertaken.

Capture action points to be completed before the next meeting

Finally, use the one-to-one meeting template to record agreed action points that should be followed up as soon as possible after the meeting. Both the employee and the manager may have actions arising from the meeting. Agree a specific date for when each action should be completed – this will help to ensure that the actions are done a timely manner and not left ongoing.

If you find our free one-to-one meeting template helpful, did you know you can boost your employees’ performance even further with our Clear Review performance management software? To find out how, book a personal demo right now via our online booking system.