Remote working: the new trend in the corporate world! From the comfort of their homes and in completely different time zones, remote workers have revolutionised the way many teams function. And if you’re managing a remote tech team of your own, conducting 1-on-1 reviews with your team is part and parcel of the process.
So if you’re looking to sharpen and streamline the way you conduct your reviews, we’ve got just the tools for you. From common mistakes to questions to ask, it’s time to get clued-up and keep your team’s morale going strong!
What are the benefits of 1-on-1 reviews?
It’s pretty clear: 1-on-1 reviews increase employee loyalty, efficiency and productivity, and help get the team back on track when things get a little chaotic. Your staff will certainly feel valued that you are going the extra mile to check in on them – to update them on the company and give them feedback on their performance.
1-on-1 reviews also allow you to get your team on the same page with upcoming projects and deadlines, making sure that your team is working at a productive pace and assuring them that you are there to assist them at every step of the way.
What are some common mistakes?
To some managers, 1-on-1 reviews may seem like a huge waste of time. But that’s only because they aren’t doing it right!
And one of the biggest mistakes that managers make is to schedule a 1-on-1 review, only to end up cancelling or rescheduling it. If you want to make your team feel valued, start by valuing their time!
When it comes down to the nitty gritty details of the review, many managers end up turning it into a critique session, or constantly compare their team members to each other or teams from other companies. These are all huge missteps that must be avoided, as they do no good to your team at all.
Some also see the number rating system as an easy option when it comes to giving feedback. But doing so is only condescending at best, and such scales are certainly subjective. Moreover, the efforts of your team certainly go above and beyond a mere number!
Instead, make your 1-on-1 reviews more qualitative, asking questions that allow your team to evaluate their performance.
What questions to ask for your 1-on-1 reviews
The questions that you ask in your 1-on-1 reviews should be just as beneficial for your team as they are for you. Rather than stick to generic questions about work, take the time to better understand your team as well!
Here are some work-related questions you can consider asking:
- Are you facing any difficulties with your tasks at work?
- What do you think is one thing that worked and one thing that didn’t?
- Do you feel like you are making progress at the company?
- Are there any other skills you would like to develop at work?
- Do you feel that the company is doing enough to help you be productive?
- Is there any area of the company you would like to know more about?
- Do you have any feedback for me?
As managers, you would want to support your team as much as possible. Asking them for feedback about your management style helps you to better cater to them, and allows you to improve as well.
Here are some non-work questions that you shouldn’t miss out:
- How is life outside of work?
- How do you feel your work/life balance is right now?
- What are some upcoming plans you have?
- If they have children: How is/are your child/children doing?
Get started with the more professional questions first, then move on to the more personal questions. Make sure that you let your team know that they only have to share as much as they are comfortable with – privacy is something that should be respected!
How to run 1-on-1 reviews
Depending on the structure of your team, you could conduct your 1-on-1 reviews in real life or over conferencing platforms such as Skype and Zoom.
Make sure you have your questions and discussion points all planned out before you hop onboard a call or meeting with your team. The last thing they want to sit through in their busy schedule is an ill-prepared review session!
Start with a little inquiry about their life, like “how was your recent holiday?” to ease the mood. It might also be good to start with sharing a win, like “good job on that recent project!” to start things on a positive note.
As you go into the more formal and serious part of the review, be sure to take minutes or notes. This helps both you and your team be accountable and keep track of what was shared during the session. Evernote is a good tool for this!
1-on-1 reviews should typically last for 15 to 30 minutes. If you’re using Google Calendar, send an invite so that the scheduled date and time doesn’t get lost in the barrage of upcoming deadlines.
This little gesture also shows that you care about your team’s development, even if the session only takes up less than half an hour of your time.
How often should 1-on-1 reviews be conducted?
Depending on how often you work with your remote tech team, you could schedule 1-on-1 meetings either once a week or once a month. Of course, adhering to the former is great, but if you know that it is not something that you can keep up for an extended period of time, then making it bi-weekly or monthly is certainly more feasible.
The key to a good 1-on-1 review is consistency. Make it a routine event that your team will remember.
If such reviews still don’t feel organic to you, give it some time. After a few sessions as you chart your team’s progress, you’ll also start to see why 1-on-1 reviews are such an important opportunity for you to better get to know your team and boost their spirits.
Make your 1-on-1 reviews a stellar affair to keep your tech team working with flair!