Congratulations! You have the right team for your organization and you’re all set to achieve major milestones.
All you need to do now is assign them the right tasks and motivate them to achieve them.
However, these strategies may start falling short after a point of time.
Employees join an organization with a vision of attaining personal goals and growing professionally as they contribute to their team.
As a manager, you’re responsible for leading them and initiate the process of employee development.
As per a report, most employees consider learning and development opportunities a key factor before choosing an employer.
And, the majority of them state that the best learning opportunities come in an on-the-job setup instead of a formal training program.
This puts the onus of employee development on the managers.
Your direct reports expect you to help them hone their skills, find latent talent and progress in their career.
Hence, you must prioritize employee development in your plans if you would like to lead a team which is motivated, engaged and ready to give their best.
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Why is employee development essential for organizational growth?
Your employees are your strength, your force and your biggest asset. Their development leads to better execution of their duties and builds up your organization.
Employee development is a micro-strategy to achieve the bigger goals of organizational betterment. Here’s how it helps in organizational growth:
1 Helps employees perform better
Employee development helps in upgrading the skills and knowledge of employees. It makes them better at their current task and prepares them for the future.
2Helps employees in giving their best
When an employee invests in learning and development, she unlocks her full potential. This realization of their full talent leads them to give their best to the organizations.
3Helps them feel motivated and empowered
Developing their skills and gaining new knowledge help employees in feeling motivated and confident. They become more engaged and contribute better to the organization.
4Influences employee retention
Finding the right talent is only the first step. Nurturing them and helping them grow is what makes them stay back. A loyal employee always puts organizational goals above all.
5Helps in saving money
Yes, you read that right. Investing in employee development helps you in preparing a future-ready workforce. You can depend on them to take up bigger responsibilities and be assured of good execution.
Why are one on one meetings most appropriate for employee development?
Every employee comes with her experiences, unique skill sets, and distinct strengths..
What you need is a psychologically safe place to understand them and help them carve a place for themselves.
A one on one meeting is a recurring calendar event, where you meet each of your direct reports, to discuss the challenges faced by them, provide solutions to help them excel, exchange feedback, build rapport and great relationships by letting them know you care personally for them..
Employee development requires you to assess and understand every employee individually.
In a one on one meeting, you can go beyond organizational expectations and know what an employee aspires for.
You can take this opportunity to find a roadmap to success where they can use their skills and talent to their maximum potential.
Right now, we have been forced into a situation we hadn’t anticipated at the beginning of the year due to Covid-19.
It has led us to work with remote teams operating out of different places and working from their homes.
As a result, employee development might seem like a far-fetched idea but it should never go out of your sight.
At this juncture, one on one meetings can help you reach out to your employees virtually and support them in developing themselves .
You can encourage them to engage in various online learning modules and motivate them to be prepared for better times.
At present, one on one meetings are our support system in communicating, motivating and developing our employees.
In this article, we explore various ways with which you can stimulate employee development in a one on one meeting.
9 ways to use one on one meetings for employee development
1 Help them in goal-setting
Goal-setting plays an important role in the process of employee development.
Having clear goals translate into clarity, right direction and a distinct map for development.
It helps in finding the focus, identifying the key areas for development and setting a plan to achieve growth in a stipulated period.
While goal-setting is an important part of the development process, it is equally essential to quantify performance standards for your employees.
As Andy Grove puts it,
Measurement against a standard makes you think through WHY the results were what they were.
When an employee has tangible standards to meet, they have clarity on what steps to take for a better development process.
Clear expectations and goals aligned with the bigger goals help direct reports in shaping their performance and learning curve.
Moreover, when an employee knows how her goals align with the organizational purpose, she is motivated to contribute better.
The purpose of goal-setting is to involve the employees in the process of their development.
It is an ongoing process which helps in acknowledging small wins of your employees which eventually lead to big victories.
Hence, your direct reports must be included in the process.
A one on one meeting is a perfect opportunity to discuss and set goals for your direct report.
During a one on one meeting, you can inquire about their vision for their development and if they have any personal goals set for them.
Now that most of us are working from home, it becomes even more essential that you discuss employee goals with them in a one on one meeting.
It will make them feel valued and cared for which is what we need in these times of isolation and social distancing.
Pro tip: Keep goal-setting as an important part of your agenda. Ask your direct report to specify their expectations from their goals and how they would like to incorporate it in their periodic goals.
2Provide them feedback
Feedback is an important tool to stimulate and support employee development in an organization.
It helps the direct reports in understanding what is favorable behavior and what should be avoided.
When you provide feedback to your direct reports, they realize that their performance is important and contributes towards the attainment of team goals.
The awareness about their worth leads them to invest in their skills, knowledge-base and thereby, to their development.
Not only does it help in employee development, but it is also a major factor for employee retention.
As per a report by Gallup, those who receive feedback had attrition rates 14.9% lower than those who didn’t receive feedback regularly.
One of the best ways to provide personalized feedback is in a one on one meeting where you can ponder over it in detail with your direct report.
In a one on one meeting, you can indulge in an honest exchange of feedback to monitor performance and develop skills.
You can also encourage your direct report to give you feedback, to encourage a culture of feedback in your team.
Providing feedback in a one on one meeting is even more necessary working remotely, as it leaves no space for ambiguity and delivers the message across with clarity.
3Be their mentor
Often, an employee knows her capabilities but is unsure of how to utilize them productively.
This is where mentoring comes in.
In the words of Bill Campbell –
An essential component of high-performing teams is a leader, who is both a savvy manager and a caring coach
The guidance given by a manager as a mentor can help an employee in making informed decisions and using their strengths judiciously.
Right mentoring can help direct reports in exploring their potential and find better-suited opportunities to excel in.
It helps in encouraging them and stimulates the employee development process.
You may not get enough time and opportunity to personally mentor each employee unless you interact with them in an individual capacity.
A one on one meeting is a tool that is designed to serve the aforementioned purpose.
In a one on one meeting, you can understand the unique competencies and aspirations of every employee and show the direction for development.
A personalized approach and dedicated attention of their mentor can do wonders for the employee’s motivation level and lead them to the path of development.
Pro tip: In a work from home situation, make mentoring your priority.
Your direct reports may be feeling disengaged as many of their goals seem to have become stagnant at this point.
Through mentoring, you can help them realign their growth plan. Here’s how you can start this conversation using icebreakers–
- “I see that you had a growth plan set for yourself at the beginning of the quarter. Shall we have a look at it and see how it works now..”
- “Are you facing any difficulties? Would you like to change something so that your job becomes easier?”
- “Have you looked at some of the virtual courses? I think some of them could really be useful for you?”
Let’s imagine that you have a direct report called Cynthia.
She has been a consistent performer and has a clear set of goals for her growth and development.
However, she recently was unable to perform as per her record. She felt dejected and her morale has plummeted since then.
She’s unable to let go of one bad day at work. And, this has eventually become a blocker in her performance and development plan.
With one on one meetings, you can address her issues and help her get back on the track.
Especially in a situation such as this pandemic, your employees are bound to be facing new challenges and unexpected problems.
Helping employees pass over their performance blocker is a sure-shot way of ensuring your success at employee development.
5 Recognize their wins
A little nod of approval, a small recognition of your employees’ efforts can go a long way in motivating them and helping them develop themselves even more.
According to a report, 50% of the employees admit that being thanked by their employers helps in building trust and improving their relationship with them.
When an employee believes that her manager values her contribution, she becomes determined to perform better and develop herself.
At present, we’re living under uncertain times where we have more doubts than assurances.
Thus, appreciation and recognition can help set a positive tone for the entire day.
However, employee recognition is more effective when it is personalized and detailed.
A one on one meeting creates this opportunity for you and your direct report.
You can discuss your direct reports’ positive actions and encourage them to amplify it.
Recognizing your employees’ win and identifying the actions that resulted in them helps in developing your employees towards a better future.
6 Boost morale
An employee looks up to their manager as a support system, guide and a mentor.
As a manager, you are their source of motivation and encouragement.
As a result, they are highly keen on growing their skill sets and develop themselves for future roles.
The best way to encourage them is to boost morale during a one on one meeting.
When you bring about positive aspects of their performances in your discussion, they realize that their development matters to you.
It helps them in taking ownership of their growth and maintaining the streak of good performance.
Employee development is incomplete without a manager acting as a positive influence on her direct reports.
7 Discuss learning opportunities
Employee development is an end-result of a process that involves constructive feedback, consistent encouragement and suitable learning opportunities.
As a manager, you’re responsible for understanding the skill gap your direct reports may be facing.
In a one on one meeting, you can discuss your direct report’s goals, their current performance and introduce them to appropriate courses.
You can also assess their interest and encourage them to train themselves at tasks that bring the best out of them.
As we’re all working from home right now, you can encourage your direct reports to take up various online courses.
They can utilize this time to gain skills and certification that can help their career.
Pro tip: There are plenty of courses available online which you may like to suggest to our direct report.
But, there’s a high chance that you may not recall all of them during your one on one meeting.
You can always make a note of them as and when you come across them.
You could also mention them in your agenda using a one on one meeting software so that you can circle back to them in the meeting.
Effective One on One Meetings
We built a software that automatically schedules, lets you set agenda, take notes, exchange feedback and track actions – all in one place.
8 Help them focus on their strength
If an employee keeps harping on their weak points, they will plunge themselves in a cycle of low morale, underwhelming performance and no growth.
Identifying and capitalizing one’s strength is the right formula for the development and growth of one’s career.
As a manager, you need to help your direct report focus on their strengths and eliminate their weaknesses.
You can discuss their comfort zone and delegate them tasks which utilizes their strength fully.
In a one on one meeting, they have your complete attention and are more comfortable and discussing their skill set with you.
Pro tip: Nowadays, we’re in the midst of an unpredictable situation. And, it has become a challenge to focus on the good and positivity around us.
Thus, starting a one on one meeting with a discussion on one’s strength is a great idea!
9 Don’t miss the career conversation
Employee development is incomplete without a detailed discussion about one’s career and its progression.
In fact, career conversations are known for increasing employee engagement and driving business success.
In simple words, a career conversation is a productive discussion between a manager and her direct reports regarding their career goals and strategies to achieve them.
A career conversation helps your direct report in determining their future course of action and achieve their goals of development.
A one on one meeting is the right place for you to discuss your direct reports’ career plans and motivate them to develop themselves to attain them.
You can help them recognize behaviours that can help them achieve their goals and guide them personally.
When you take interest in their career, they are motivated to grow themselves for the betterment of the team as well.
Employee development is an ongoing process that takes up a manager’s involvement in her direct report’s success.
During a one on one meeting, you can keep track of what’s working out for them and what can be further added to help them progress.
One on one meetings help you focus on one employee at a time and become your aid in preparing a personalized plan for each of them.
A one on one meeting can be your most effective tool for employee development if channelized in the right direction
All you need to do is direct the conversation towards growth, developmental plans and learning opportunities.
Employee development needs you to be fully dedicated to each of your direct reports.