In a 2013 study, problems with direct supervisors accounted for 49% of disengaged employees. A lack of respect and confidence for senior leadership accounted for another 33%. These numbers indicate that the large majority of workplace problems stem from a lack of communication between management and the labor force.

In order to run a productive and successful business, you have to have positive manager/worker relationships, and one of the most effective ways to achieve this is by taking the time to conduct one-on-one meetings with your employees.

One-on-ones provide a perfect opportunity to assess progress and productivity while setting common goals and resolving internal issues. They also give the employees the chance to speak, gauge their own performance, and raise any concerns they might have.

As the manager, it’s important you take this opportunity to not only to express your expectations, but show your employees that you’re genuinely interested in more than just their contribution to the business. You want to be attentive, positive, and open. It’s a chance for you to praise your employee and offer constructive criticism.

During a one-on-one, you’ll need to ask plenty of questions to open them up to discussion. You may start by asking questions like:

These types of questions allow the employee to speak openly about their role at work and their feelings towards their job. They also allow you to compare and contrast your own expectations for that individual worker, which is something you should have readily available before you step foot into your meeting. During your one-on-one, you need to explain to your employee the specific aspects of their job title and communicate exactly what is expected of them. You should never leave your meeting with any unanswered questions.

An effective way to ensure that all of your expectations and goals are met is to set Key Performance Indicators, or KPIs, for your employee. KPIs are essentially a collection of tasks and responsibilities agreed to beforehand that reflect success and organizational goals. The defining factor of KPIs is that they are quantifiable, and thus allow the manager to measure progress and productivity in a very organic way.

Here’s an example: Say you’re the manager of a website development company, and you’re having a one-on-one with a customer service representative whose job is to send invoices to clients. An effective KPI would be to have the employee send out detailed, edited invoices within 3 days of a completed project. By giving that responsibility a quantifiable aspect, you not only see if the employee is doing their job, but how well they are doing their job. When setting KPIs, it’s important that you provide your employee with the specific details of the task and thoroughly explain why it is important for both them and the company. You’ll also want to schedule a follow up meeting after a certain time period, and assess the employee’s performance.

If you’re not taking advantage of one-on-ones, now is the time to start. You might be surprised at how well this simple practice can improve communication, worker morale, and productivity. If you’re interested to learn more about conducting a one-on-one, contact Success Plus today. Or, if you already applied these invaluable meetings in your business, leave us a comment and tell us about your experience.