Small businesses are at a distinct disadvantage when it comes to resources like time and money. As a small business owner, you are wearing many hats throughout the day and time can often slip away from you. In an effort to be more productive, you might consider reducing the one-on-one meetings you have with employees, in favor of more group meetings, emails or impromptu hallway chats. But research shows that any time savings you gain will be negatively offset by decreased productivity. A recent article in the Harvard Business Review addresses why this is the case.
When you eliminate one-on-one meetings, it does not eliminate the need for employees to communicate with you. This means that employees will find less efficient ways such as email (which requires waiting for a response), hovering round your office waiting for you to have a few moment between your appointments. Not only is this a poor use of your employee’s time, it also makes it difficult to control your schedule so that you can be as productive as possible. Any time spent in an impromptu, on the fly, hallway meeting is going to be distracted at best and counterproductive at worst.
Having predictable, time-bound, one-on-one meetings with employees is actually the most productive use of time, especially when you have a specific agenda and both come to the meeting prepared. You can decide if these need to be weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly and it may depend on each employee’s role and needs. These meetings also make the employee feel more satisfaction and engagement because they have predictable times to meet with management and you are able to focus your attention solely on them for that time. If this is different than what you are currently doing, it may take some time to get used to, but over time you will begin creating a company culture where your time and the employee’s time are respected and efficiency and productivity are valued.