Your EPA-1s have been discussed and set. Everything is ready for the new performance year to begin and you might think this is it until the Mid-Year Check-In. Of course, you are planning on talking to your employees if something goes wrong and needs to be corrected. But have you considered implementing regular one-on-one meetings with them even when nothing is broken? If you haven’t, you should, because they can provide many benefits. For example, they are an excellent opportunity to check motivation, performance, commitment, self-reflection, and action planning. You may also detect any issues before they even break the surface.
In anticipation of the primary performance period (from the EPA-1 through the end of June), we want to talk about what you should be doing to document performance after the EPA-1.
Here is how to approach such a meeting:
1. Meet with your direct reports only: Let’s say you are the supervisor of other supervisors. You only have to meet with these supervisors--your direct reports. They, in return, will meet with their direct reports. This should cut down the time you will spend in such meetings.
2. These meetings should be short: Generally, these meetings should not be longer than 15 minutes. Of course, you may find that some employees are more talkative than others, which is a great opportunity for relationship building.
3. These meetings should be regularly scheduled: Unless your direct report(s) is/are new to the job and your unit, meeting on a bi-weekly basis should suffice. While there is no set rule, you should meet with new staff or staff that is new to their job on a weekly basis for at least until their probationary period has passed.
4. Choose the setting: The setting of the meeting matters as well. You want the meeting to be in a neutral or even casual environment to make your employee feel comfortable. You may even want to consider a walking meeting if weather and environment permit. Before choosing, ask your employee if they have a preference.
5. Set an agenda: You may be slightly at a loss as to what to discuss during these meetings, especially when nothing is broken. Using the 3P outline can bridge that gap. The three Ps stand for: Progress, Plans, and Pleas. What has the employee accomplished since the last time you met? What are their plans until the next meeting? Where do they need help (from you and/or others)? It’s a great practice to ask them to submit the 3Ps to you before the meeting.
6. Document: Instead of you trying to recreate what you discussed in the meeting, why don’t you send your employee(s) a template of the agenda ahead of the meeting? They would then fill it out and share/bring it to the meeting. You can take notes on it and place it in the employee’s administrative file. Alternatively, you can also upload it to NEOGOV Perform and save it in the Journal Hub. This will help you tremendously when conducting EPA-2s and 3s because all your journal entries for an employee will be available in the evaluation phase (EPA-3).
If you follow the tips above, you should be able to have productive and efficient one-on-one meetings. If you would like to find out more ideas, check out these links:
One-on-one meetings: A comprehensive guide for managers and employees
How to conduct and effective 1-on-1 meeting
Introduction to one-on-one meetings with employees