How to go deeper and focus on performance during one-on-ones
Before Officevibe, 1-on-1s on my team were focused on whatever people could remember coming into the meeting, or notes they’d written on a piece of paper. Ultimately, it felt like we’d sit down for a 1-on-1 and talk through some of those items – but we knew we weren’t getting to everything.
A desire to go further and to make sure all concerns were addressed prompted Tony Ticknor, Director of Technology at Minnesota-based ecommerce agency Irish Titan, to adopt Officevibe for 1-on-1s with his team.
Keeping up performance while remote
When companies started going remote in the spring of 2020, there was a rush to target initiatives around connection and communication. Irish Titan, like the rest of us, launched Zoom happy hours, social Slack meetings, and even started a D&D group that meets (remotely) every Tuesday night. But Tony felt they were about to discover an even bigger challenge: keeping up performance at a distance, and he wanted to get ahead of it.
“[Communication initiatives] are really good for team building and bringing people together, but you still have to drive that day-to-day performance. You still have to help people with goal-setting. You still have to build a productive team – there has to be a focus on that. With Officevibe [1-on-1s and goals], we’ve been able to stay focused on those items.”
Making 1-on-1s about goal-setting
That goal-oriented performance angle is exactly why Tony has stuck to doing his 1-on-1s with Officevibe. He says that face time is the perfect moment to look at how he can help his people progress in their roles and talk about what they want to accomplish. With Officevibe’s individual and team goal-setting features, he has an easier time focusing the conversation and keeping it productive when conversations get tough.
“[Goal-setting] been a great feature for us. I think with most teams, people goal-set, and then get around the corner a year later and pull out those goals and are like ‘Did you get there?’ Being mindful of having those goals and being able to check in on them and say, ‘How are we progressing towards them?’ makes goal-setting and goal-achieving not something we just do annually, and that has been really powerful.”
Finding the right one-on-one questions to ask & planning how to respond
To keep that continuous focus on goals – and to get important issues out into the open – it’s been vital for Tony to make 1-on-1-planning a shared task. “The collaborative agenda in particular has really worked well for us,” he says of the shared 1-on-1 agendas that exist between a manager and each of their team members within Officevibe.
Right now, we’ve set up recurring meetings, and both my team members and myself add to the agenda items – it’s usually split about 50/50.
Prior to the collaborative agenda, Tony’s team was using everything from Google Docs to Trello to post-its, trying to find a place where they could write things down. There wasn’t a consistent system across the team: everybody was using – or trying to use – something different.
“We even tried to keep a record of what we wanted to discuss next time through Slack, and then we’d end up having to scroll through our Slack history to see what the topics were.”
The fact that Tony’s team can now plan ahead with Officevibe has opened them up to deeper discussions during one-on-ones.
“When you have a plan in advance, you have some time to invest in thinking about what you might say or what roads you might go down. That’s definitely produced better and deeper discussions when we’ve actually been talking. “
Conversations that flow naturally
Collaborative planning ahead of their meetings is exactly what makes Tony’s 1-on-1 discussions less labor-intensive – while adding quality to the chat itself.
I do take some notes, but I’m doing less of that now that we’re using Officevibe’s 1-on-1 features, because the information is already in there. There’s always a history to go back to and look at if I’m wondering what we talked about.
It’s the act of planning out an agenda that he says works almost as well as keeping notes during the actual meeting – conversations feel more continuations; they pick up where they left off, instead of feeling like they’re starting fresh every time. And that’s not all: the agenda actually drives more involvement from his people.
“Since we started using Officevibe for 1-on-1s, I’ve seen more engagement in people planning what we’re going to talk about. I’ve seen people putting in items, coming prepared, ready to talk about their goals and ready to talk about whatever they’ve listed in the agenda. I think that speaks volumes to their thoughts about it.”