Improving the quality of conversations between managers and their teams with effective 1-to-1s

It’s a balance many successful businesses face; how do you deliver excellent customer service and ensure your people get the support they need to develop, too? The team at PowerON chose Weekly10 to make their 1:1s more effective, and are now reaping the rewards.

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Performance conversations at PowerON used to be sporadic and far too focused on the past. Now they're happening frequently, are more strategic, and really improving outcomes for the business and its people. Here's how Weekly10 helped them build more effective 1-to-1s.

IT might not float everyone's boat, but for the team over at PowerON it's a passion. They're a mix of IT, tech and business experts who work hard to deliver innovative solutions that help customers simplify IT operations.

With a laser focus on delivering excellent service to customers, it felt that their people were playing second fiddle. PowerON's Chief People Officer, Anna Edmondson wanted to right that and put employees on an equal footing. Here's her story:

PowerON's people challenge

With a limited formal process, PowerON's people were getting vastly different line manager experiences.

1-to-1s were happening sporadically and to varying degrees of detail. And often hijacked by day-to-day tasks. When working at pace, it’s easy for weeks to pass without having a proper conversation with your manager. This is even more true for remote teams.

That meant potentially easy-fix concerns escalated because they weren’t being raised and addressed in time. And performance feedback was left far too late to make an impact.

I wish we’d found Weekly10 sooner! Our people feel heard and valued in a way they didn’t before. Conversations between our managers and their teams happen regularly and are more forward looking.

Anna Edmondson, Chief People Officer

The search for a solution

Anna knew that having a regular check-in for the PowerON team would solve many of the immediate and underlying challenges.

The Weekly10 check-in carves out a regular time and process for employees to reflect on their successes and raise issues in a way that their manager can easily feedback on. Getting into the habit of doing that regularly builds a sense of trust. It's therefore easier to raise concerns and have more meaningful conversations.

Anna also set up templates and workflows for effective 1-to-1s. The process is structured for consistency, but flexible enough that it can be personalised. It also automated much of the admin around the process, including auto-generating 1-to-1 forms to fit the monthly routine of each team. Employees and managers can pull their Weekly10 check-in history into the performance conversation agenda too, making prep time much shorter. The agendas practically write themselves!

Once the 1:1 conversation templates were set up, the appraisal process was moved to Weekly10. The team were delighted to move away from an unwieldy Word-based process. Engagement with 1-to-1s has been positive. That's because preparation is lighter-touch, and notifications remind employees to complete their conversations.

How Weekly10 helps with effective 1-to-1s

Firstly, meaningful 1-to-1s are happening. And that’s important to acknowledge because it’s so easy for business-as-usual to get in the way. What’s more, they’re happening at a regular cadence, which is vital for making sure conversations are timelier.

We’ve seen a subtle but valuable shift in the types of conversations happening during 1:1s too. The conversations are more strategic, more reflective and forward-looking which is what effective 1-to-1s should look like. They’re less task-focused because that’s happening through our Weekly10 check-ins.

We introduced Weekly10 about 6 months into lockdown and the regular check-in changed the way we communicate. It massively reduced the impact of not being able to meet in person. Through lockdown and beyond, Weekly10 has been key in helping us keep a better eye on wellbeing with increased scope for intervention when needed. It's also given us an always-current engagement metric through the 10Pulse scores, which is now a core HR KPI.

Going beyond 1-on-1s

Being able to link a check-in question to a Microsoft Teams channel has helped us increase employee engagement. Our 'Kudos' initiative means that when employees give recognition through the employee check-in in line with our values, or for going above and beyond, others can recognise and celebrate that behaviour. This creates a really positive Microsoft Teams channel where we publicly celebrate success.

Weekly10 clearly met several real needs within the business and participation from the team has been really high. Our people engage with it really well and we now have a well-established rhythm of check-ins, effective 1-to-1s, and performance appraisals. This creates a far higher quality of conversation and relationship between team members and their line managers.

Sound good?
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