Human Resources

Leading Skills Focused 1:1 - A Guide for Managers

August 1, 2023
3 minutes

As a manager leading a team, nurturing your employees' growth and development should be a top priority. It can be the most rewarding aspect of being a leader. It not only fosters motivation and engagement, but it makes people more productive and the organization more successful. It also feels good to see people thrive! 

An incredibly effective way to help your employees grow is to focus on their skills development. Making skills the focus of regular 1:1’s ensures that all the elements of how skills can help your employees develop are tracked. Let’s dive into how to use skills in your 1:1’s to support your people.

What is a 1:1?

One on one's are important regular private conversations between a manager and an individual employee. It is a valuable time to connect on the things that matter most and help them focus their time and attention. These meetings typically occur regularly, such as weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly, depending on the organization's culture and needs.

The primary goals of one-on-one meetings are to:

  • Build a Strong Manager-Employee Relationship by connecting on a personal level so employees feel open to share concerns, seek guidance, and feel supported.

  • Raise Concerns and Challenges that employees may be facing in their roles.

  • Improve Team Alignment and Communication to align their team members' efforts and ensure everyone is on the same page.

  • Set Goals and Priorities so that Managers can work with their employees to achieve them.

  • Discuss Employee Development like employee's career aspirations, skill development, and training needs.

  • Provide Feedback and Performance Updates to discuss the employee's performance, progress on goals, and any areas that need improvement. 

These last 3 points are precisely where skills can fit into a 1:1.

How to use Skills in your 1:1’s

Because supporting employees and opening lines of communication is the key purpose of a 1:1, integrating skills can help with:

  • Goal setting
  • Supporting low performers
  • Nurturing high performers

Here’s how:

Goal setting

When it comes to setting goals and priorities, skills is a natural place to focus attention because it breaks things down to a granular level of skills that can be tackled and tracked. 

Step 1 - Know your employees career goals and break that down into aspire skills - the skills they need to develop to get there. 

Step 2 - Help your employees develop their aspire skills. Some places to look are:

  • Courses: Find a course from the LMS that will help them develop at least one of their Aspire Skills.
  • Mentorship: Find a mentor for them in the organization who has the skills they want to develop.
  • Work: As new projects and other work opportunities arise, keep your employees Aspire Skills in mind and assign them to that work.

Step 3 - Track your employee's Aspire Skills development. Once a month, review the activities related to developing their Aspire Skills.

Supporting low performers

For your low performers, these 1:1’s can be a critical tool for helping up their performance and change their trajectory within the organization and for their career. 

If you have a low performer that is open to feedback, motivated to put in the effort, and inclined to improve, then the sky's the limit. 

Here’s what you can do together in your 1:1’s

Step 1 - identify the skills that the low performer ought to have to do their role but is missing. These are their skills gaps. This might be completely missing a skill or they have the skill but not at the proficiency level that the role requires. Once you both know what those skills are then you can put a plan in place to address it. 

Step 2 - Make a plan to address the skills gaps

  • Courses: Find a course from the LMS that will help them develop at least one of their Aspire Skills. If you use tilr, you can go to the Learning Hub and filter the course catalogs by ‘Skills Gap’
  • Mentorship: Find a mentor for them in the organization who has the skills they want to develop.
  • Work: As new projects and other work opportunities arise, keep your employees' skills gaps in mind. If work comes up, assign them to it with a more skilled colleague who can coach the skills development. 

Step 3 - Track your employee's skills gaps during your 1:1s. Over time, the skills should be increasing in proficiency.

Nurturing high performers

Your high performers have a rich career ahead of them. And it might feel like they are rocketing there by themselves. But the reality is, a strong Manager can play a critical role in their development. While those high performers are on your team, take the opportunity to help them create the vision for their next step and guide them to it. Here’s how:

Step 1 - Identify role(s) that would be a suitable next step

Step 2 - Identify the skills that are should have, nice to have and bonus for those roles

Step 3 - Connect the employees to resources to develop those skills

  • Courses
  • Mentors
  • Work

Step 4 - Track your employee's skills development during your 1:1s. Help your high performers connect to relevant internal mobility opportunities as they become available.

Putting it in action

In the realm of leadership, prioritizing skills-focused one-on-one meetings isn't just a strategy; it's a commitment to the growth and well-being of our most valuable asset—our people. As managers, we hold the power to shape the trajectory of our teams' growth and success. By prioritizing employee development and embracing skills-focused one-on-one meetings, unleash a world of opportunities for your team members. These private and meaningful conversations provide a platform to connect on a personal level, fostering trust, open communication, and a strong manager-employee relationship. By integrating skills into the heart of these meetings, you empower our employees to set clear and achievable goals, bridge skill gaps, and nurture their high-performance potential. For low performers, skills-focused one-on-one meetings can be the catalyst for transformation and a brighter future within the organization. 

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