The importance of frequent one-on-one’s with your staff

By Stuart_Selbst
In MSP Coaching
August 9, 2013

Loree Selbst / Stuart Selbst

One-on-OneIn my first staffing blog I talked about hiring and in the second I discussed the importance of setting your staff’s performance expectations.  In this blog I want to talk to you about how critical it is to the success of your organization to have frequently scheduled private discussions with each member of your team.

Many supervisors/managers, etc., that I have known over the years have told me they speak to each member of their staff every day about what they are working on so they don’t see the need for these one-on-one’s.  Besides, who can afford to take a half hour every month to sit down with each of their direct reports for a private talk?  My response to that is, a half hour a month?! Are you crazy? That’s not nearly enough time.

Does my response shock you?  Do you think a 30 or even a 60 minute talk every month is adequate?  My response is an emphatic, NO! It’s not nearly enough.  Let’s break down the numbers.  Say you decide to be generous and give your employee 60 minutes once a month.  The math is easy, 1 hour X 12 months equals a measly 12 hours a year.  If you only give them 30 minutes then they get only 6 hours per year to work with you in private. The average full-time employee works 2,080 hours every year, not counting overtime, and all you want to give them to work on their goals and growth is 6-12 hours a year?  I find that shameful to be honest.

One of the most important things we should do as leaders is to mentor our direct reports in order to help them learn, grow and develop, which in turn helps our company to do the same. Therefore, I believe in weekly one-on-one’s with every single direct report.  I can hear the majority of you protesting this idea already but just bear with me please.  Your employees, and your success as a leader, are worth this investment of your time.  You have no doubt heard the adage that employees don’t leave companies, they leave bosses.  It’s true and, a lack of regular feedback from their bosses is at the top of their list why they leave them.

Another advantage to holding these weekly meetings is to hear from your staff what your clients are saying. They can give you valuable feedback since they are often working more closely each day with the clients than you do.

In my next blog, I will talk about how to conduct an effective one-on-one where you work together to be sure they are staying on track with their performance expectations. In the meantime, I encourage you to set aside 1 hour a week to talk to each one of your employees.  Send out the meeting invites with no end date.  You may not need a full hour each and every time but keep it on your schedules anyway.  Once they get over the shock and possible anxiety of what this is all about, I guarantee their level of engagement will begin to rise just knowing you care enough to spend this time with them.

Mentoring is rewarding.  At Stuart Selbst Consulting we can teach you how to better coach and mentor your employees to success.  Call us at 480-389-5481 if you could use help developing your skills in this area.

All the best in success,


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