5 Ways To Take Your 1:1 Meetings To Next Level

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Over the course of 2016, we traversed the USA and Europe to moderate our “Helping Managers” panel discussions in five different cities. One commonality we noticed among our panelists was how strongly they advocated for regular check-ins, or 1:1s, with their employees. These open, honest conversations have proven to be beneficial for both parties, but for managers they’re particularly advantageous because they help identify problems early within a team.

There’s a clear difference, however, between simply scheduling regular 1:1s and building a culture of successful 1:1s within your team or organization. So how can you revamp individual meetings within your own company? Below are the five key approaches that top HR leaders recommend.

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What makes a great boss? Successful UK managers reveal their secrets

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Great managers are crucial to business success; they help employees maximize their potential, engage their teams and create workplaces that are productive and profitable. That’s why we’ve traveled the globe to learn more about how to help managers go from good to great. From San Francisco to New York, Berlin to London, we had the pleasure of speaking with some of the most forward-thinking HR and management professionals to get their insights.

At our London panel discussion in December, we sat down with:

  • Neil Morrison, Director of Strategy, Culture and Innovation at Penguin Random House UK
  • Jess Critchlow, Learning & Development Manager at Salmon
  • John Catterfeld, Head of Software Engineering at OpenTable UK

We’ve attached a video of the event below, but here’s a quick recap of the highlights:

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6 Expert Tips On How To Help Your Managers Succeed

Choosing the right managers is one of the most critical decisions an organization makes. But what makes someone a great manager? While a lot of research have identified qualitative traits of great managers and the different ways they contribute to business success – there is still a lack in understanding of what great managers actually do on a daily basis.

Our most recent panel in the Helping Managers Become Better Managers series was held in Berlin. We welcomed expert speakers from TAM Trainer Akademie (Lorenz Illing, MD), Marley Spoon (Cindy Rubbens, Head of Culture & People Operations) and SoundCloud (Jennifer Beecher, Learning & Development) to discuss the importance of managers in organizations. Below we’ve summarized a few key takeaways:

What behaviors do great managers exhibit?

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Getting the most out of 360 feedback

Guest blog post by Beth Steinberg. Beth has over 18 years of experience in organization development, talent strategy and leadership development. Her focus has been to help leaders and companies with complex organizational and growth issues. Beth focuses on driving useful employee programs, leadership coaching, executive development and organizational development.


 

Few concepts in psychology have been written about more uncritically and incorrectly than that of feedback.. . . Actually, feedback is only information, that is, data, and as such has no necessary consequences at all. – Latham & Locke

360 feedback has continued to gain popularity over the years.  Once a process used only for senior executives, new technologies, and transparent company cultures have propelled the process to include many levels of the organization.  While much of this change is positive, there are many things to think about when you embark upon a 360 feedback process for your team.

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Traditionally 360’s have been done for the following reasons:

  • To understand how the employee is viewed across an organization, including peers, key stakeholders and direct reports as part of a company feedback process.  It can also be used as “upward” feedback on a manager.
  • As an intervention designed to look at an employee’s performance when the manager has a concern that the employee is not performing well, does not align with the values and behaviors of the company, or to gather data on specific issue.  
  • To gather feedback to help the person succeed and develop in their career for development purposes.

During my career, I’ve observed many different reactions to the 360 process. Many times, I’ve seen 360’s go well, and watched the employee benefits from the process.  I’ve also seen the opposite.  Occasionally, I’ve seen total denial and a lack of trust in the feedback and the process, especially if it was used as an intervention, when the manager was looking for negative feedback.  The reaction has depended on why the 360 was being done, how it was delivered, and what happened after the feedback was given.   Continue reading

The Importance of Early Feedback for New Employees

To ensure that your processes in recruiting, onboarding and accelerating new team members into the organization is having the desired effect, it’s critical to get candid and data-driven feedback.

Giving and soliciting this type of feedback is the best way to ensure your investment in the employee experience is paying off and driving company ROI.

Recruitment and onboarding are key processes: get them right the first time and you save yourself the expense of repeating them a few months down the line. A study by the Aberdeen Group found that 86 percent of employees decide whether to stay or go within their first six months.

Read on to learn why early feedback supports new hire success and how to best implement an efficient and scalable process. Continue reading

5 Unique Ways Teams Benefit from Peer Recognition

Peer recognition is an extraordinarily powerful tool organizations of any size can benefit from. Whether you’re operating within a team of five or five thousand, each member deserves to be recognized for the contributions they’re making.

Although managerial recognition and feedback are crucial elements of a working relationship, there are some unique advantages to inviting the team to participate in building a culture of appreciation and recognition across the organization.

Here are a few of those benefits, and some tips on maximizing them: Continue reading

Start with Caring: HR Experts Share Powerful Manager Tips

Managers account for 70 percent of variance in employee engagement, according to a recent study by Gallup.  With so much riding on the success of our managers, we’ve kicked off conversations around the world to learn how we can help.

Our latest panel session in San Francisco, brought together HR leaders from Bay Area innovators such as Reddit, Pinterest and Disqus to share what they’ve done in their organizations to help managers grow. Read on for some of the key takeaways from this panel session!

What does a great manager look like?

Great managers come in all shapes in sizes. Whether introverted or extroverted, experienced or new to leadership, impactful managers share common traits that all begin with caring.

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They have empathy

Micaela McDonald is a people manager at Pinterest. She stressed that, “having empathy, really caring about people and being able to build trust is one of the most important aspects of being a great manager.”

They follow-through

“Follow-through is the biggest managerial trait that I find myself trying to teach,” said Kim Rohrer, Director of People Operations at Disqus. “You can have all the empathy in the world but if you don’t do anything with that empathy, you’ll lose the trust of your employees.”

Bob Lehto, an HR and Talent Acquisition leader, seconded that notion. He described how important accountability becomes in a managerial role. “You need trust in your team, but you also need a level of accountability and the ability to give feedback to course correct when necessary,” he said.

They match skill with function

Katelin Holloway is the VP of People and Culture at Reddit. She explained, “some of the best managers that I’ve worked with are really incredible matchmakers. Not just in terms of finding the right chemistry but also in being able to match skill sets. They have enough technical depth in the function they’re managing to match the appropriate people with the skills sets necessary to tackle the problems,” she said.

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How can HR support managers?

From training programs to resources, there are tons of ways that HR can help to support managers. While nobody has it perfect, there are places you can start. An initial training program, providing helpful resources and having individual “check-up” meetings with managers are excellent beginnings.

It all starts with listening

“Don’t fall in love with the solution, fall in love with the problem,” said Bob. “It all starts with listening. So often, we come into meetings with a hammer or saw. With experience, we get more tools in the toolbox that we can apply to a solution. But, first you need to truly listen to understand what the problems are.”

Don’t wait for managers to come to you

GA_SI_panel_discussion_May_2016_IMG_9154At Reddit, “HR does monthly one-on-ones with all of our managers. In that session, we cover things that we want to know about,” said Katelin. “We ask them, “who are your rock stars and who is struggling?” The initial manager training isn’t enough. The job of HR is to make the manager’s job easier and you can’t help if they don’t talk to you. The conversation will become healthier and more natural when you’re doing it frequently.” 

What makes a great one-on-one meeting?

There was a joint consensus that the most important aspect of a one-on-one meeting was ensuring that you’re actually having them. Other tips included being emotionally present, allowing the employee to drive the meeting and putting structure around the conversation.

Set dedicated time

“Dedicating thirty minutes to somebody every week and listening to what they say is extremely crucial,” said Micaela. “In those moments you can accomplish so much, identify any budding misalignment, connect with your report and let them know you’re there for them,” she said.

“Make it sacred time,” said Bob. “Anything else could move on my calendar with the exception of one-on-ones. It’s really about being present for them. Sometimes that means being there emotionally, sometimes it can be more tactical. Regardless you’re there to empower that person within a dedicated meeting time,” he said.

Provide structure

“When I started doing one-on-ones, I found that they either became very conversational or very tactical. I found it useful to have employees send me a simple, structured, email before our meeting. The email would answer a few questions such as: here’s where I need your help, here’s what I’ve accomplished this week, here’s what else I’d like to discuss,” said Katelin. It’s beneficial to provide a very basic framework, whatever that looks like within your organization, to make the conversation productive. 

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“I have a google doc of one-on-one feedback hacks. Along with a few basic questions to get the conversation started, it also includes a list of questions to “spice-up”
your meetings,” said Kim.  “It’s important to have an open space to talk about your challenges in a safe way. You’re not necessarily looking for a solution. In fact, sometimes you have to preface the meeting in saying, “I just need to vent now!” But being really clear about what you want to get out of each meeting will help drive the conversation in the right direction.”

If you could offer one tip for new managers, what would it be?

Bring the water

“Everybody dreams about being that person who people follow into the fire. Instead, be the person who has the water and smoke detectors. Start with follow-through and grow from there,” said Micaela.

Be curious

“Be curious. You don’t know what you don’t know. Often, your unconsciously incompetent. Eventually, you’ll reach that nirvana of being a great manager but, at the beginning, just be open and curious,” said Bob.

Manage expectations

“Remember this is not a popularity contest,” said Katelin. “Managing expectations will earn you the most trust in the long run. Don’t promise things you are unable to deliver and don’t feel like you need to have every answer in the moment. By managing expectations both emotionally and tactically, you’ll gain the trust of your employees.”

Want more tips? Check out the full panel session recording below!

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