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Managing Performance through 1-to-1 Meetings

Managing Performance through 1-to-1 Meetings

With workforces still operating remotely—and many companies staying remote throughout 2021—performance management will likely be a key area of improvement for teams to focus on. How can employers use performance management tools like 1-to-1 meetings to strengthen team performance in 2021?


Refresher: What is Performance Management?

Performance management is an ongoing process of communication between an employer and an employee to assess employee performance compared to company goals and set additional goals for the upcoming year. 

Employee performance reviews tend to focus on the employee expectations of merit increase and bonuses, as well as clarifying expectations, setting objectives, identifying goals, providing feedback, and reviewing areas for performance improvement.


Why is Performance Management Important?

Employee performance conversations have a huge impact on how satisfied, motivated, and productive their employees are. If avoided, you are risking the potential for decreased employee morale, the credibility of management, decreased retention, and your organization’s overall effectiveness.

With shifts towards more decentralized workforces and remote operations in 2021, managers and supervisors will look for ways to improve their communication and performance management with direct reports.

By implementing weekly 1-to-1 meetings, managers can offer constructive coaching, stay updated on an employee’s performance, and cover compliance concerns on a regular basis. Weekly 1-to-1 meetings are especially important for connecting with your teams and gaining insight into the wellbeing of your employees if your company is still working remotely.


How Can Employers Implement a Performance Management Strategy?

There are a number of ways to conduct performance reviews and appraisals, but one-to-one meetings are one of the best performance management tools for organizations. Teams that prioritize 1-to-1 meetings between managers and their employees establish a consistent and reliable channel for mission-critical information to get to the right places (both upward and downward on the organizational chart).  

Here’s how to implement one-to-one meetings:

  1. Determine length and frequency of the meeting. The frequency and length of 1-to-1 meetings will depend on your organization. Most range from 30-90 minutes and occur weekly, but managers of larger teams might consider every two weeks or monthly meetings.
  2. Schedule recurring meetings. Scheduling the meetings ahead of time on the same day every week will help maintain consistency and routine. It’s easier for an employee to prepare for the 1-to-1 meeting when they know when to expect it every week.
  3. Document the meetings. It’s important to gather all correspondence and remain compliant by allowing managers to see communication and feel confident employees are receiving coaching.
  4. Set documentation expectations. Agendas before the meeting and recaps after the meeting both help document what an employee and manager want to discuss, as well as provides documentation of what was discussed. Require employees to send 1-to-1 agendas at least 24 hours before the 1-to-1 to allow managers time to respond with additional notes or agenda items to add. Within 24 hours following a 1-to-1 meeting the employee should send a detailed summary of discussions. Managers should respond to the summary clarifying any points requiring summarization from the manager.


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