The Importance of One-on-One Check-Ins Between Managers and Employees

CoffeePals Team
June 7, 2024

Today’s workplace dynamic calls for more individualized and meaningful connections between managers and employees. The traditional culture where the leadership team stays distant is over now that more employees are quiet-quitting because of their managers.

According to a study by Officevibe, 96% of employees prefer getting regular feedback from their managers. The problem is, 32% of employees experience delays in the feedback they expect. 

This problem can be solved by one-on-one check-ins.

One-on-one check-ins allow managers to connect with team members and build stronger and more trusting relationships. They allow employees to feel seen, heard, and valued—not just as part of a team but as individuals with unique strengths and aspirations.

In this article, we'll explore why these brief but powerful conversations have become a game-changer in modern workplaces. 

What are One-on-One Check-Ins?

One-on-one check-ins are personalized, individual meetings between a manager and an employee within a professional setting. Unlike traditional performance reviews, which are often conducted annually or semi-annually, these check-ins occur more frequently, providing a regular opportunity for open communication and discussion.

During one-on-one check-ins, managers and employees engage in conversations beyond the scope of day-to-day tasks. These meetings address various aspects of the employee's experience, such as work progress, challenges, goals, and personal development.

one-on-one check-ins

Why are One-on-One Check-Ins Important?

One-on-one check-ins contribute to the overall success and well-being of both employees and organizations. Here are some key reasons why these personalized meetings hold significant importance:

1. Improved communication

One-on-one check-ins provide a dedicated space for open and transparent communication between managers and employees. This facilitates the exchange of ideas, concerns, and feedback in a more personal and supportive environment than formal meetings or group settings.

2. Increased employee engagement

Regular one-on-one interactions make employees feel valued and recognized. These check-ins show that their opinions matter, fostering a sense of belonging and engagement. This personalized attention can boost morale and motivation, increasing job satisfaction.

3. Building trust and relationships

One-on-one check-ins contribute to the development of strong, trusting relationships between managers and their team members. This trust is essential for effective collaboration, problem-solving, and navigating challenges within the workplace.

4. Recognition and feedback

Employees crave recognition for their efforts and achievements. One-on-one check-ins offer a platform for managers to provide constructive feedback, acknowledge accomplishments, and address areas for improvement, creating a positive and motivating work environment.

5. Individualized attention

Each employee has unique strengths, challenges, and career goals. One-on-one check-ins allow managers to understand and address these individual characteristics, fostering a more personalized and tailored approach to leadership.

one-on-one check-ins

Tips for Successful One-on-One Check-Ins

For one-on-one check-ins to be successful, there must be two-way communication and collaboration, where managers and employees actively contribute to a constructive and open dialogue.

Here are some tips that could make one-on-one check-ins more productive for both managers and employees.

Tips for Managers

  • Be prepared: Review the employee's recent work, achievements, and challenges before the meeting. Come with an agenda but also allow flexibility for the employee to share their concerns or ideas.
  • Listen actively: Practice active listening to understand the employee's perspective fully. Avoid interrupting and allow space for the employee to express their thoughts and feelings.
  • Provide constructive feedback: Offer specific and actionable feedback, focusing on strengths and areas for improvement. Positively frame your feedback, emphasizing growth and development.
  • Ask open-ended questions: Encourage meaningful discussions by asking open-ended questions. Use questions that delve into the employee's goals, challenges, and career aspirations.
  • Be flexible and adaptive. Be open to adjusting the format or frequency of check-ins based on the employees' needs. Adapt your communication style to suit each employee's preferences.

Tips for Employees

  • Prepare for the meeting: Reflect on your recent work, achievements, and challenges, and use these as a basis for questions or topics you'd like to discuss with your manager.
  • Express your needs: Communicate your career goals and development needs to your manager. Share any challenges or obstacles you're facing in your role.
  • Show initiative: Demonstrate your commitment to professional development. Propose ideas for skill-building opportunities or training programs.
  • Provide updates on progress: Share updates on any action items or goals discussed in previous check-ins. Communicate any challenges you've faced and seek guidance if needed.
  • Be open to feedback: Embrace feedback as a tool for improvement. Act on constructive suggestions to enhance your performance and skills.

Traditionally, formal meetings are seen as more productive. But a team's true strength lies in the genuine connections fostered during one-on-one check-ins. Remember, it's not just a manager providing guidance; it's a collaborative effort where employees actively contribute to the conversation, creating a more dynamic and responsive work environment.

This is why creating a more relaxed and communicative atmosphere could also be effective for some one-on-one check-ins. These laid-back interactions can play a pivotal role in breaking down barriers and nurturing authentic connections between managers and employees.

Virtual coffee chat platforms like CoffeePals can create a safe space for managers and employees to build stronger relationships. Add CoffeePals to Microsoft Teams now and start having meaningful conversations with your team.

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