In this section, we'll be covering the steps you should take when launching your 1:1 program. Each of the other chapters are broken down into separate articles, which are linked in the table of contents below.
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Reflektive's Key Principles To a Successful 1:1 Launch
Selecting technology that is accessible to managers enables them to keep the feedback to reports flowing. Equally important is selecting technology that meets employees where they work, and can be easily integrated into their existing workflow.
While Reflektive’s web application offers the most robust performance management experience, we also offer a variety of integrations with other solutions that your employees might already be leveraging in their day to day work. Consider learning more about our integrations with Gmail and Outlook, in addition to Slack and Microsoft Teams.
In many cases, employee-manager 1:1s are already taking place across your company. However, employees might not be taking full advantage:
- Without any guidance, managers and employees often confuse 1:1s with status reports.
- Without visibility into frequency and adoption of 1:1s across your organization, teams are unlikely to see the correlation between 1:1s and employee engagement.
- With new managers and leadership rising through the ranks, coaching tools that can be implement at scale become increasingly relevant.
Insights and reporting on how often these conversations are taking place, what are the common topics around career or coaching conversations, and other insights can be key to your employee performance and engagement program. To help you navigate the crowded field of HR vendors, here’s a vendor evaluation checklist you can use to pick the right 1:1 tool for your organization.
Understand your True North
There’s not a one-size-fits-all approach to designing and launching an effective 1:1s program. Your company is unique, and your 1:1s program should be too. Later on in this guide we’ll share some suggestions on the steps you can take to tackle this project, and we’ll give some examples that will help you pick from a variety of models based on your organization’s needs.
There are some questions you can ask yourself to help give shape to your program and set the goals you want to achieve. For example, one goal can be to improve the quality of employee-manager conversations that are already taking place. If these conversations are not already happening naturally across your organization, the program’s goal could be to empower managers and employees to have frequent, structured, and productive career and development conversations.
Consistency is the Key
When employees benefit from 1:1s, the company benefits. To effectively launch 1:1s, identify how consistent 1:1s fit into the mission and objectives of the company. If the company is hiring rapidly and needs to maintain culture as it grows, discuss how 1:1s help achieve that goal. If the industry is thinning and the company needs to double down on innovation, 1:1s will support the spread of ideas.
Communicate the Value
Secondly, communicate the value to the individual. 1:1s are not just an extra task to complete. They serve to help employees take more control of their career development. They give employees the feedback and coaching they need to succeed.
Build a process around it
Lastly, ensure employees know that the process is for them. Managers and employees should collaborate to set the schedule and frequency, and employees have a right to speak up if their needs regarding the schedule or agenda of the 1:1 conversation are not being met. Be clear that taking the lead is an option and continuous feedback is a priority for the organization.
Similarly, managers need to know the value of 1:1s and how they fit into the overall objectives of the company. Engagement and employee motivation drive retention, and consequently productivity and profitability.
Depending on the experience and skill set of your managers, provide a structure for 1:1s. This might be a recommended set of tools for scheduling, preparing for, and tracking these meetings. You can supply a template with conversation topics if managers are leading 1:1s for the first time. If some managers have more experience, pair them with less-experienced managers so they can act as mentors.
Like most company initiatives, change should start at the top in order for its impact to trickle down. Set up a promotional period led by your leadership team to increase awareness and to bring it up in their respective meetings.
Leading by Example
Set goals for department heads and managers that will set an example for the rest of the company. Encourage all the leaders within your company to initially set up weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly meetings within the 1:1 Conversations tool. Or, if such a format already exists outside of the tool, have leaders port existing content within the tool to avoid disturbances with existing meetings. Also, if meetings outside direct reporting lines happen, encourage people to track those as well, especially if there is cross-department synergy at play.
Design a Comprehensive Communication Plan
Communication is key when announcing the ‘why’ behind any organizational change. As such, try employing a variety of communication channels to introduce 1:1 Conversations leading up to the launch, such as emails, company newsletters, and announcements at all-hands meetings. Maintain your launch momentum with reminders on posters and TV monitors around the office.
Internal Education Resources
If having an ongoing 1:1s is an unfamiliar practice to your managers and employees, make sure they feel supported as they learn this new skill set. Leverage your company intranet, an employee resource Wiki, or other learning repositories to house educational materials on providing effective feedback.
Step 1 - Set the goals you want to achieve with this 1:1 program and how you will measure success
Set the goals for your program and identify what are the Key Performance Indicators you’ll use to measure success.
Step 2 – Pick a cadence and format that work for your team
- Company Size
In smaller teams, employees and managers should have more frequent 1:1s. It allows to streamline communication and make everyone feel connected. If many of the managers at your organization have over 10 direct reports, you can recommend bi-weekly or monthly 1:1s.
- Make everyone feel connected
Managers can also have weekly or bi-weekly 1:1s with their teams, and also 1:1s with secondary reports on a monthly or quarterly basis.
Step 3 - Identify who your key partners will be to launch this program
Having other business leaders be champions for this program will help motivate managers and employees to follow. Find those leaders across your organization that can become ambassadors on this initiative.
Step 4 - Pick a launch day and work on your timeline
A good practice is to pick a date and walk your way backwards to identify key milestones you’ll need to hit to make that deadline achievable.
Here are some milestones you’ll need to think of:
Schedule Managers and Team Leads training sessions. Managers will be in charge of making these conversations happen. Make sure they are fully trained and know how to use Reflektive’s 1:1s tool and how to frame conversations strategically.
STEP 5 -Track progress!
Make sure you are leveraging a people analytics platform, such as Reflektive’s People Intelligence, and tapping into dashboards to keep track of the percent of conversations happening across your organization.
STEP 6 - Iterate, Iterate, Iterate
One of the most important things to remember is to make sure you are continuously improving your processes to evolve and adapt to your ever changing workforce.