by Lindsey Haines
11 Jul 2019
PiiQ Conversation Guide for Managers
To help you kick start Check-ins, we’ve compiled two Conversation Guides, Weekly 1:1 and Employee Development. Use these templates directly or draw from the topics and conversation ideas to inspire meaningful conversations.
GUIDE 1: REGULAR 1:1
Capture your regular weekly or bi-weekly meetings/conversations in PiiQ. Simply create a Check-in with the following title and topics.
Title: Weekly 1:1
Topic 1: Conversation Starters
Topic 2: Core Agenda
Topic 3: Team Health/Communication
Topic 4: Achievements
Example of a Weekly 1:1 in Check-ins:
TOPIC 1: CONVERSATION STARTERS
Don’t be a cold and impersonal manager - get to know your staff! Work isn’t all about goals, strategies, and tasks. Start your conversation with light topics to help build regular rapport. As a manager, establishing, maintaining, or repairing trust should be a major objective during your 1:1 conversations. Bringing up details from previous conversations shows you are listening and care. Building a strong team around trust starts with consideration, thoughtfulness, and regular communication. This may sound like obvious fundamentals to relationship building, but it's worth mentioning this is often looked over in the workplace.
- How are things?
- How was your weekend?
- Do you have any vacation plans coming up?
- Is there anything exciting coming up?
TOPIC 2: CORE AGENDA
Agendas are most valuable if presented before the meeting so that either party can come prepared with data/ solutions, follow ups, etc. Best practice is to have an agenda that is open and editable by both parties. This can be achieved in PiiQ by adding topics and a few notes in your Check-in ahead of time. When the meeting begins, it’s important for the parties to prioritize the agenda topics.
As a manager, you want to make sure you are including topics that are important to your team member and not just the topics that you identify as important. Make clear guidelines for time management. Ask questions like: “If we don’t get to topic 3 today because we are focused on discussion for topics 1 & 2, would that be okay or would it be best to cut off discussions to make room?”
- What's your number one work priority today?
- Have you hit any major milestones or achievements since we last spoke?
- What’s your top priority between now and the next time we meet?
- Is there anything keeping you from hitting your goals for the week, anyway I can help?
- How can I better support you?
- Is there anything in the short term that I can do to help you be successful?
- What things would you change about your role/responsibilities if you could?
- How’s your workload? Can do your best work each day?
TOPIC 3: TEAM HEALTH/COMMUNICATION
1:1s provide an opportunity to get a pulse check on the entire team. Employees may feel uncomfortable raising concerns or observations during team meetings, but with the right approach, they can be addressed in a 1:1. It’s easy for managers to miss systemic issues if they are not intimately involved in their teams’ day to day activities. This can be magnified with global teams and remote employees. It’s important for managers to treat the health of the team as they would the any other relationship; they should look to resolve issues, promote trust, and remove roadblocks.
- How are you feeling at work?
- Do you notice any issues within our team that affect you or someone else?
- Do you notice any team-wide gaps that we should look to address?
- Do you notice any bottlenecks or silos on the team?
- Are there any employees who may need additional training or coaching?
- Have you had any opportunities to train someone on the team since we last spoke?
- Are there any projects you are working on in partnership with another team member? How is that going?
TOPIC 4: ACHIEVEMENTS
Recognizing achievements within your team promotes a positive work environment. Make sure to not only call these out in 1:1s but also create opportunities for employees to achieve.
- Any wins since we last spoke?
- Nice job on X, what are some key takeaways you learned from this?
- Have you noticed anyone going above and beyond on the team, if so how?
GUIDE 2: DEVELOPMENT
Capture your long-term development conversations in PiiQ. Simply create a Check-in with the following title and topics.
Title: Development Plan
Topic 1: Employee Development
Example of Employee Development in Check-ins:
TOPIC 1: EMPLOYEE DEVELOPMENT
Employees today, especially millennials, expect development and learning opportunities from their manager. Organizations that provide these opportunities have a happier workforce and higher employee retention. Employee development is ongoing and should be a primary focus for your employee + manager discussions.
With questions related to employee development, be prepared for the employees to not know all the answers; good managers help fill in the gaps. Employees may know, for example, the type of work they like or do not like doing, but don’t know the job title or training required. Career paths can be vertical as well as horizontal; don’t be afraid if they start describing a role outside of your department. The best managers promote movement when it makes sense and helps create a timeline and development plan to achieve their career goals. From a company perspective, retaining engaged employees is far less expensive than hiring new employees and can add massive amounts of value if they’ve worked in multiple departments.
- Have you come across any training that would help you be more effective in your current role?
- What is your 3-5-year plan?
- Tell me about your ideal career path.
- How do you feel about your career progression to date?
- Are there any questions I can help you answer as it pertains to your growth?
- Do you need help identifying the learning opportunities to get you to the next level?
- What are the key learning opportunities that will get you to the next level?
- Have you learned anything new since we last met?
- Have you come across learning opportunities outside of work?
- Are there any projects, problems, or goals you’d like to work on that would give you experience in this area?
KEEP UP THE MOMENTUM!
Follow up is key after these major discussions. When employees have identified their career trajectory, think about key milestones needed to help them achieve this. Some things to consider: Are their expectations realistic? Does their career growth align with a position available in the company in the medium to long term?
The employee’s career path may not fit one to one with the company’s objectives or future job openings. Successful managers can propose options that overlap, suggest similar roles and help employees research future to help them given or help to create a role from scratch. These situations are always unique and being flexible is key.