Communication between leaders and their workforce is a hallmark of a successful organization. Poorly executed communication strategies can lead to lost productivity, distrust, and a disengaged workforce. But a commitment to strong and consistent communication can help employees perform to their highest potential; feel more connected to the company, and assist managers to identify talented individuals. Regular meetings also allow leadership to track the overall performance of the workforce, and can contribute to long-term strategic planning efforts.
Is Your Current Meeting Plan Enough?
One of the most critical functions of a leader is to cultivate workforce talent. This can only be achieved through personalized interaction. Leaders are often committed to weekly group meetings where the team discusses broad goals, achievements, and roadblocks. But many managers don’t spend one-on-one time with their reports until there is a problem. Monthly meetings can provide employees with consistent, actionable feedback to help keep them on track and feel engaged and appreciated in their jobs.
All leaders should spend time with each of their reports at least once per month. These meetings should offer time to give (and receive) feedback, and help employees become more successful in their positions. All leaders and managers, from the top down, need to make this time a priority. When implemented properly, everyone in the organization will have a monthly meeting with his own supervisor once per month – nobody is left out of the process.
Equal Time For All Employees
There may not seem as though there is enough time in a month to meet with each employee, but scheduling a consistent block of time each month shows that leadership is committed to the professional growth of their employees. It also ensures an equitable environment, where all employees receive the same amount of attention from managers. Often times, highly productive workers get lost in the shuffle because managers focus their attention on less productive or problematic employees. This process helps put everyone on equal footing.
Meeting times should be pre-scheduled and should not be fluid. Commit to the meetings and show they are a priority by not shifting them around at the last minute. Start the first month by blocking off one hour per employee. As you move through the process and create a rhythm for monthly meetings, subsequent interactions will take less time.
Getting Into a Rhythm
Monthly meetings should be about the employee, not you, the manager. Start the meeting off by discussing the successes the employee has enjoyed since your last one-on-one time. Find out whether or not that employee has the tools he or she needs in order to accomplish her goals. If tools and resources are needed, commit to putting them in place before the next meeting.
Share observations that you’ve made over the last month. Discuss what the employee is doing well, and where you see opportunities for improvement and growth. Ask what you can do, as a manager, to help make those things happen. From there, set a specific goal for the next meeting based upon everything you’ve discussed. And finally, ask the employee for feedback. What can you improve upon as a leader to help that employee, and the rest of the team, achieve their goals?
Quarterly Workforce Management Plans
Not only will monthly meetings help employees stay focused on their individual goals and development, but they contribute to the future planning efforts of the organization. During quarterly strategic sessions, department heads should devote time to workforce reviews. These reviews should track overall employee performance and engagement, identify and track the progress of key individuals, and should include succession planning. This will help the company align its future plans with the needs of the workforce. Leaders will be able to see how strategic changes may impact their employees, and how to head off potential challenges.
Regular meetings increase engagement and have a positive effect on productivity. When open and consistent communication exists between leadership and the workforce, positive outcomes will follow.
(About the Author: Beth Armknecht Miller is CEO of Executive Velocity, a talent and leadership development advisory firm. Beth is also a Vistage Chair. She is a graduate of Babson College and Harvard Business School’s OPM program. Beth is certified in Myers Briggs, Hogan, and Business DNA and is a Certified Managerial Coach. Her expertise has made her a sought-after speaker, and she has been featured in numerous industry blogs and publications. Beth’s latest book on executive leadership, “Are You Talent Obsessed? Unlocking the secrets to a workplace team of raving high performers” was released in 2014. Read Beth’s blog at Executive-Velocity.com.)
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