Everyone knows that people are the greatest asset of any successful company. But while most companies take excellent care of their office space, cars and other physical assets, many forget to invest time and effort in nurturing those people.
How much time do you actually spend with your staff? Do you know what motivates them? Do you actively help them to achieve their goals?
In today’s world of constant digital communication, sometimes we forget how important it is to spend time with people face-to-face. One of the most valuable tools available to you as a manager is a regular, individual meeting with each employee.
What are the meetings for?
The purpose of the meetings is to give focussed, undivided attention to each of your team members, creating a dedicated space in which you can discuss the projects they are working on, help them to set objectives and ensure they have everything they need in order to meet them.
To be effective, these meetings need to be regular and sacrosanct. If you want your staff to feel valued, you need to show them that spending time with them is important and that you won’t cancel or reschedule them to make way for ‘more important’ meetings. A weekly meeting is ideal, but needs to fit in with your other commitments and priorities. The important thing is to set a schedule which is realistic and sustainable within the structure of your business, and stick to that.
How do we make the meetings worthwhile?
To be worth everyone’s time, these meetings need to be efficient and productive. The key is ensuring both parties come prepared, and setting a clear agenda and time frame for each meeting. The time should be spent briefly discussing the status of each project the employee is working on, and setting clear, realistic action points for the coming period. Reviewing action points from the previous meeting is also essential if you want to build a culture of accountability and achievement.
What’s the benefit?
The meetings are a great way for you to keep track of your team’s activity, but their greatest benefit is the impact on staff morale and performance. This means offering genuine support to your employees by creating space for them to raise any concerns and ask for your help. As a good manager you should be doing everything you can to meet the needs of your team, from helping them to decide where to focus their efforts to ensuring they have access to the right resources.
The meetings are also a great an opportunity for feedback. There’s still a place for the annual performance appraisal, where you discuss their long-term goals and training needs, but you’ll achieve far more by guiding and engaging with your employees on a regular basis throughout the year than you can by saving everything up for a retrospective review.