Impactful 1:1 Meetings Boost Employee Engagement

By: Linda John, Fired Up! Culture

When considering the premise that if destinations are to succeed in creating, sustaining, and retaining a viable workforce that can support the current and future needs of the travel industry and their local community, they will need to approach workforce development holistically. According to the Dictionary of Definitions from Oxford Languages, a holistic approach is “characterized by the belief that the parts of something are interconnected and can be explained only by reference to the whole”.

Based on this definition, it can be ascertained that a vibrant and healthy workplace culture relies on a series of important “parts” that are valued, embraced, and practiced consistently to ensure the achievement of the broader goal—a dynamic team culture.

Something that is consistently highlighted as an opportunity for improvement in the 2022 Culture & Workplace Engagement Report is the practice of quality 1:1 meetings between leaders and direct reports throughout all levels of an organization.

At a minimum, managers should meet one on one at least once per month with each direct report they have. Ideally, the 1:1 meetings would be weekly or bi-weekly. Yet collectively, destination organizations more often tend to conduct one on one meetings only quarterly, bi-annually, or annually.  According to the 2022 Culture and Workplace Engagement Report, 35% of surveyed respondents either never have a meaningful 1:1 meeting with their manager or meet just once per year to discuss their job performance. Leaders in the destinations world are missing a big opportunity to further engage their team by not meeting 1:1 more regularly.  

In addition to the frequency of the 1:1 meeting, the quality of these conversations is critical. 

Here are some tips for holding engaging 1:1 meetings with your team members as a means of creating a strong culture of engagement:

1. Make meeting 1:1 with team members a top priority.

One issue is honoring these regularly scheduled meetings as a top priority—ensuring they don’t get “back-burnered” as seemingly more pressing issues arise.

Creating space for your team members shows you care. It shows your commitment to investing in them and supporting them. There are few things leaders can do to be more supportive than dedicating time to each individual on their team. 

2. Ask the right questions.

Each 1:1 meeting should be a 50/50 conversation. Fifty percent of the conversation involves the leader sharing what they want and need from the team member and the other fifty percent is the reverse.

Try this simple 3-question exercise in future 1:1 meetings:

  • What do you want more of from me?

  • What do you want less of from me?

  • What barriers are in your way and how can I help to remove them?

Answers to these questions tend to get right to the root of many issues your team members are working to solve. 

3.  Be vulnerable.

The goal of these conversations is to get candid feedback on how to improve as leaders, so ensuring this is a safe space to share is of top importance. As you listen to the team members respond to the three questions, remember the following:

  • Listen, don’t defend

  • Thank them for their input

  • Take notes

  • Take action to address their needs, as appropriate

  • Follow up in a timely manner, explaining to the team member any action taken or not taken and next steps

Fostering a healthy and thriving workplace culture is hard. There is so much that builds or erodes culture in a work environment. Successful team engagement is a long-term commitment, comprised of many important individual parts all contributing to the overarching achievement of a dynamic culture.

By honoring the 1:1 meeting with each member of the team in an intentional way, not only will a foundational piece of overall culture be strengthened and sustained, but the personal human connectedness with the members of the team will drive a deeper dimension of understanding and loyalty that permeates the entire organization.

About the Author

Linda JohnVP, Destination & Travel PracticeFired Up! Culture

About the Author

Linda is a Certified Destination Marketing Executive (CDME) and a Certified Executive Coach (ACC) specializing in the use of the Birkman Assessments to help both individuals and teams. She holds memberships with  Destinations International and the International Coaching Federation and serves on the Board of Trustees for the Destinations International Foundation. Linda served as Executive Director for Visit Eau Claire from 1993-2020. During her tenure at Visit Eau Claire, Linda served as Chair of the WI Association of Convention & Visitors Bureaus along with numerous leadership roles within the association. Additionally, she served four governors over the course of twelve years as a member of the Wisconsin Governor's Council on Tourism. Linda has a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from Minnesota State University in Mankato, and a Master of Science degree in Training and Human Resource Development from the University of Wisconsin Stout.

More From This Author