Are 1:1 Meetings a Waste of Time?

3 min read
Aug 15, 2022 3:11:00 PM

We can all agree that weekly 1:1 meetings with each of your direct reports sounds nice, but we find many teams skipping or simply not implementing frequent 1:1’s. why? The number one reason we hear is: there’s just not enough time. 

We’d argue that successful 1:1 meetings will actually eliminate some of the busy work and save everyone time. Here’s why:

1:1 Meetings Create Clarity

When there is ambiguity, efficiency is impacted. Team members who are unsure of their role experience task duplication and poor prioritization, both of which waste precious hours.

By meeting one-on-one with your team, you can ensure that they understand exactly what their role is on the team. Research by Effectory found that employees who have clarity about their role are 53% more efficient and 27% more effective at work than those who experience ambiguity.

Tip: Have a consistent 1:1 topic each week focused on aligning vision, goals, and priorities for the week ahead.

1:1 Meetings Help Anticipate Issues

By frequently meeting with your team members, you are able to be proactive rather than reactive. Weekly meetings will help you to understand the areas that team members excel and where they need extra coaching or motivation. Rather than waiting for an issue to arise, you can be there to support them through the process.

This also means that you can address complications before they become problems. Small mistakes, if addressed quickly, can usually be taken care of more quickly than larger issues that were left unchecked.

Tip: Each week, ask your direct reports, “where are you experiencing roadblocks? Is there anything you're stuck on that I can help with?”

1:1 Meetings Build Rapport

One of the top factors influencing employee engagement is the relationship that employees have with their managers. When you take time to meet with your direct reports each week, you begin building trust and open communication. You demonstrate that you care about them as people as well as employees. This rapport leads to engagement. Engaged employees are 4.6 times more likely to be empowered to do their best work and companies with high employee engagement were 21% more profitable than those with lower engagement.

Tip: Start each of your 1:1 meetings with a “care question.” Here are some ideas:

  1. Where do you feel like you’re winning this week?
  2. How are you ensuring you recharge and prioritize rest this week?
  3. Do you have a professional or personal goal or big project you're working toward that I can support you in?
  4. What’s one thing you’re proud of since we last spoke?

eBook: effective one-to-one meetings

1:1 Meetings Consolidate Progress

When you have frequent check-ins with the members of your team, you are able to move projects forward at one point in the week. Your agenda is created based on all the questions, approvals, and big-picture priorities that each person needs to be clarified. This enables everyone to be empowered and focused in the right direction during the week and saves you time from answering questions one by one, going back and forth over email for days.

Tip: Always have your project management tool up in your 1:1 meetings to discuss progress and next steps. Even better, keep your goals and meetings in one platform.

Getting Started With More Effective 1:1 Meetings

You can start by assessing what you’re currently spending time on. A survey by Asana found that people spend 58% of their day doing “work about work.” This includes communication about work, time spent searching for information, utilizing multiple apps, switching between priorities, and seeking updates and approvals. Some of this work is unavoidable, but employees say they waste more than five hours a week because of busy work.

There are a number of ways to measure the worth of weekly 1:1 meetings. You can look at the increases in efficiency, effectiveness, productivity, or profitability. By all measures, holding regular meetings with your direct reports reaps benefits that make the investment of time worthwhile and even saves you time in the long run.

Request a demo to see how Leadr can help you increase engagement and save you time with our people development software designed to simplify 1:1 meetings.

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