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Four Must Haves for One on Ones with Employees

It is still surprising to hear about a company that does annual performance reviews -  annually. I worked for such a company a little while back. We had a small dedicated HR department and a CEO that stressed the annual performance review each year. The problem was they were only once a year. I have worked with other companies in which they were
Employee1 only twice a year. Performance reviews should be all year. They should be a regular part of every one on one with employees. Here are four "must haves" for your one on ones that will help improve performance all year. They are simple, but very effective.

1) Schedule regular one on ones. Duh, right? But are you doing them? Nothing is learned until you are doing it. My best advice here is to go into your calendar application and set up 30 minute+ blocks of time for one on ones every two weeks or at least once a month. Make sure a calendar invite goes out to each employee as well so it is on their calendar.

2) Create folders. Create a folder for each employee with your first one on one agenda that both you and the employee agree to. At the top of every agenda should be the goals of the employee. (see "The Three Questions Leaders Should Ask Themselves about Employee Goals" by clicking here). Make notes on the agenda as you have your one on one. When done with the one on one, insert the new agenda with its notes into the folder and file it away. This is what some would call being organized (wink and a smile).

3) Review measurable goals and improve performance. Each one on one review the progress of each goal the employee has set. If he or she has fallen short, then simply ask them to send you in the next one or two days the two or three things they will do differently to ensure adequate performance of the goal. When you receive the things the employee will do differently, then pull out the folder and make a note of it inside. Another tip on how to be organized (another wink and a smile).

4) Follow up. At the next one on one pull out the employee's folder. Ask him or her what they did to improve the performance and what difference it made. Then listen and then make suggestions.

Once a manager starts holding regular one on ones with employees, creates plans to improve performance and follow up – most employees will begin to expect it and do something about it. And one of the best things is their jaw won't hit the floor when you talk to them about their performance at the end of the year.


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Mike Rogers