Tag Archives: employee feedback

Not another meeting!

Do you feel you spend too long in meetings? I think most business owners and managers feel that at times.

Over the past few weeks I have written about the importance of giving feedback and a structure for conduction 1:1 meetings with your team members. But when you feel it’s yet another meeting adding pressure to your already packed schedule it’s one of those things that can slip down the priority list.

And that’s how your team will see them too.

So, here is the third and final instalment to help you get started.


Let’s start by remembering why it’s important to sit down with each of your team members on a regular basis.  The aim is to:

  • To motivate your team members to either continue or sustain good performance
  • For team members to feel confident that they have the ability and support to fill any gaps where they need development
  • To nip in the bud any potential problems which could escalate if left to their own devises
  • It’s an opportunity for them to have their contribution recognised – not just performance, but have their ideas heard
  • It devotes time to set direction and goals for the coming weeks
  • The net result should be an enthused and motivated employee who knows what they should be focusing on, and how this will contribute to the business

We all like to be reassured. And even if we make the assumption that “no news is good news” we can still left with that nagging doubt in case there might be anything wrong.

Finding time

One of the common concerns I hear is that the process is time consuming, particularly when you have 8 – 10 people reporting to you. It’s then easy to let them slip.

Look at it another way – ask yourself how much time potentially will you need to spend rectifying things if you don’t take that time out with them?

So rather than being over ambitious, schedule your meetings on a time frame you think you can reasonably achieve.

Use the 3 questions discussion before and stick to this structure so your team members get used to you asking these same 3 questions. Ask them to come prepared with their answers.

One to ones should be scheduled so both of you can plan for them and around them, and fully prepare. And nothing smacks more of “I’m not valued” than one to one meetings being continually cancelled for the slightest reason.

I’m often asked how often and how long they should be. There is no hard and fast rule, but devoting insufficient time can mean they get rushed, leaving the team member feeling devalued, or meaning you don’t have time to really drill down into any detail when needed – merely skimming the surface and achieving little.

Schedule your meetings so neither of you are distracted by imposing deadlines e.g. during your busiest periods or prior to your critical deadlines in your business. Think also of their state of mind at the end of a hectic day, very busy period or big project.

Getting started

Use your first meeting to establish (jointly) their goals and KPIs if you don’t already have these in place.

Identify what you want to achieve from the meetings.

The agenda doesn’t need to be written in tablets of stone, but it’s good to follow a basic structure so you both know what to expect and can plan accordingly. Linking back to your objectives there are some key elements to include, all of which can be structured around the 3 questions.

It’s far better to home in on one or two areas at each meeting so you can go into some depth, rather than covering everything superficially and covering the same old ground over and over each time.

Building trust

If people’s previous experience of one to one meetings up till now has been bad or at best just a waste of time, it can take time to build trust before these can be totally honest exchanges.

Avoid the fish bowl type of office or public areas. You want a free and open discussion, and you’ll not get this when there’s a fear they’ll be over heard, or others can see their reactions to any sensitive issues raised.

  • Make a connection: show you’re interested in them not just their work; ask about family and well-being.
  • Pay attention: listen, show you are listening, ask questions, avoid office distractions.
  • Keep it light: Yes, professional, but not overly formal if you want them to be open.

Make a note of any actions agreed, and ensure you follow through on any commitments you have made to the team member, so they don’t see the whole thing as yet another meeting or simply a tick box exercise.

In summary

If you aren’t already conducting regular one to ones now might be a good time to start.

Focus on asking the 3 questions on a regular basis and gaining agreement on actions moving forward, with some measurable goals and clear direction.

The accepted norm

The way it is jared-rice

I sometimes see managers getting very frustrated that people in their team aren’t contributing as much as they’d like.

They know, or at least suspect, they are capable of more, but for some reason some people are just not taking responsibility for making decisions or getting things done.

Ask how they see their role?  They may see things differently.  If you (or maybe your predecessor) have always done the thinking for them, maybe that’s accepted as the way it works.

Do they even recognise that you’d like more from them, and if so what?

When we find ourselves getting frustrated that people are not handling things the way we’d like, it’s time to reflect on how well we’ve explained our expectations, and the training and support we’ve given to help them realise these expectations.

Do they know what ‘great’ looks like so they have something against which to benchmark their performance?

Do they have all the tools, resources and enough time to meet your expectations?

Have we given feedback on how they’re doing and comparing it to their understanding or perception of what’s needed?

Are they kept up to date? Quite apart from the fact no one wants to look uninformed, especially in front of colleagues or customers, unless they know ‘what’s happening where’, it will always be difficult for your team members to make considered decisions.

But probably the most important question to ask is: are we giving them the freedom, confidence and autonomy to do what they’re capable of doing and to fully contribute.

Want to know what the next step is….?

How are you doing?

Listen radio12th and final post in my 12 days of Christmas mini blog series

12. How are you doing?

Ask your team for feedback on how you are doing in their eyes. It can feel uncomfortable to give feedback to the boss, so ask in a more conversational way such as “What could I be doing to make your job easier?”

Be brave. We don’t always want to hear about the things that frustrate your team, particularly if you may be contributing to the problem! Be open to the truth and willing to listen.

Create the opportunity for people to give anonymous feedback. People may be afraid to say what they really think if they’re concerned about being labelled a problem or complainer.

Ask for feedback regularly. Things change and problems can fester.

Accept feedback with good grace, and thank them for an honest response. Address concerns. This doesn’t mean that you have to resolve every personal whim, but it means identifying trends, recurring problems or prioritising what needs attention.

Communicate progress. If people have taken the time to let you know how they feel let them know what and how you are addressing any issues or following through on their suggestions.

Action point:

If you consider yourself to be a brave, caring owner of a growth focused business, I think you’ll be fascinated by this FREE assessment.

Get your company’s engagement score on 10 minutes or less.


It only takes 10 minutes (or less) to get your company’s engagement score, and discover where to take action to make an impact right away.

If you don’t measure it how can you manage it?

As a business owner understandably you’re focused on sales and growth.employee engagement

Most business owners I work with are too. But I also see many letting money slip through their fingers unnoticed. Profits they could retain with a few simple steps.

We’ve finally woken up to the benefits of having an engaged team yet evidence still shows that 80% or more of staff are not engaged at work.

That’s shocking and frankly quite sad.

What’s more it’s costing us millions.

It’s crazy that business owners measure their financial and sales performance, yet so few measure how engaged their employees are.

And if you don’t measure it how can you manage it?

Unfortunately disengaged employees aren’t necessarily that easy to spot.

They come to work on time, they do what’s asked of them and they say yes to your requests.


These are also the people who only do the minimum expected and seldom more, they rarely go out of their way to support their colleagues, and are liable to whinge the minute your back is turned.  They’re not consciously unhappy, but nor are they enthused, excited or energised about their job.

But the worst of it is they are like a rotten apple. If we don’t spot them early they bring everyone else along with them.

Look here to see how you can measure your engagement levels right now. And stop those profits sneaking out the back door.

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