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6 Benefits of Regular One-to-One Staff Meetings

By: Grant King - IndustrySearch Writer
13 April, 2015

Right now you're probably spinning in your swivel chair at the mere thought of that headline. What? One-on-one meetings with all my staff? Correct.

But I've got 20 staff. If the meetings average out at half an hour each, that's 10 hours I've got to pull out of nowhere! Correct. But I already have weekly staff meetings! Are you saying I have to do these individual meetings as well? Correct. Here are 6 reasons why.

Staff meetings are like bus trips

Even if every passenger wants to go to a different place, the bus can only go in one direction at a time and a lot of people are going to feel short changed at the end of the trip.

Staff meetings are, by nature, general surface scratchers. Their role is to discuss issues affecting the company as a whole, not the issues confronting a few individuals. In a one-on-one encounter everyone in your company can have their say on issues directly affecting them.

As their performance directly impacts on the company, every issue is an important one and this is the only way to bring them into sharp, personal focus. If staff meetings are team highlights reels, one-on-one meetings cover each employee's whole game.

No sour grapes among peers

If one staff member has a contrary opinion to everyone else, do you think they're going to stand up and voice it in a staff meeting? Likewise, if they have a legitimate gripe with someone, will they spill the beans in public?

One-on-one 'off the record' meetings are vents through which your entire operation can let off steam. They are a chance to be completely honest and open and improve work and relations from the ground up.

Less time with the whole company out of action

In a staff meeting everything grinds to a halt. Phones don't get answered and orders don't get taken or despatched. It makes sense then to keep staff meetings as short as possible. One-on-one meetings will do that.

Matters that may have been raised at the expense of everybody's time can be saved for discussion between just two. Staff meetings are also intrinsically boring things where staff switch on and off depending on the subject matter. If such gatherings suddenly go from epics to short films, your staff will only thank you for it.

More time to foster growth

If a one-on-one meeting begins with 'Anything to talk about?' 'Nothing,' don't say 'Right, back to work then'. Grab the chance to work on developing new skills or new ways to do the same thing slightly better.

Treat it as a brainstorming session. If all else fails, ask about their family. You never know, an issue simmering beneath the surface can be tackled around the ankles before it even gets up and runs.

A more touchy feely environment

Even if you have an open door policy, your door can sit open for weeks before someone walks through it with intent. We're all human and the scariest part in confronting any burning issue can be just that – walking through that door. Make it a weekly diary entry and they'll always be a few steps closer to that full disclosure.

Make one-on-ones a weekly work in progress

Yes, weekly. Find the time and the time will tell on every performance. Obviously if you have 300 staff you'll struggle to find 150 spare hours each week. But you will find a bunch of departmental managers who can do weekly one-on-ones with all staff under their management. Then all you have to do is weekly one-on-ones with the departmental managers.

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