In today’s workplace, it matters to most employees that their direct supervisor cares enough to dedicate time and effort to having regular meaningful conversations – getting to know them, discussing their progress, outlining goals and development, and clarifying their importance to the overall business strategy for success. It’s part of a work culture where employees feel valued, informed, respected and safe. No matter the size of the organization or whether you are among a group of first line supervisors or the CEO talking with a senior leader, this investment of time can contribute greatly to the well-being and success of your employees and ultimately for the organization. These conversations are purposely meant to stretch outside the typical supervisor/employee interaction focused on providing work direction. The intention is to achieve productive two-way dialogue leading to better relationships, understanding and improved performance. A true win-win for both supervisor and employee!
From the supervisor perspective, a helpful formula to follow with any employee check in conversation includes the following 4 key elements:
Demonstrating care and concern
During these discussions, get to know the employee personally – it’s a well-researched fact that this can serve to be motivational and positively impact employee performance. Supervisors should avoid delving into an employee’s personal life, but listening to and understanding who they are as a person yields far more than when employees are treated only as a means to bottom line results. Employees are people first and getting to know them is essential to effectively supporting their overall success.
Very importantly, this two-way dialogue must include the supervisor listening to the employee. Listening not only helps the supervisor get to know the employee better but also contributes to a greater understanding of specific areas such as what motivates the employee, does the employee have a barrier to success, what are their personal goals, what feedback would the employee have for the supervisor and how engaged is the employee overall.
Supervisors would be wise to develop some prompts to guide the conversation in advance of the meeting. These questions will be beneficial to get the employee participating and the conversation flowing. This provides an opening to explore top-of-mind thoughts and feedback from the employee – revealing insight into areas of self-awareness, satisfaction, concerns, relationships, priorities, or course correction. Some helpful prompts for check-in conversations can be found here.
The discussion should also include summary feedback to the employee on their current performance. This may contain constructive commentary on areas the employee should start, stop, or continue as it relates to their work. Additionally, these conversations are valuable opportunities to share with employees any current or future changing business priorities that may affect them and their role. Keeping an employee appropriately in the know facilitates a better connection to overall business direction and increases the likelihood that they may be a useful champion of change in the workplace.
These one on one meetings are a true investment in employee success and offer real impact to engagement and retention as they: