Increased demand, pressure on time and remote working, all have an impact on being able to meet regularly for one-to-ones with employees.  But what’s the impact of this?  Can’t you just rely on being friendly and having an open door policy?  I would argue not.

Getting to know your staff

One-to-ones are crucial in getting to know your staff member.  This is where the individual’s work can be discussed as well as how they are coping with the work.  Stress at work is to be expected at times, but when there can be such a stigma to acknowledging this or fears about what this will mean for career progression, it is vital that it is normalized.  Whilst it is really important for an organizational approach to employee wellbeing, it is only really through one-to-ones that these issues can be discussed on a personal level.

The impact of poor mental health in the workplace

Stress and common mental health problems affect 1 in 6 workers at any one time and mental health is the most common reason for absence.  So it is imperative that we take note of this in business.  We need to be able to identify early those people who may be experiencing some kind of emotional distress and offer support and interventions to help minimize this.

Understand individual staff members’ vulnerability to stress

Of course, work is not the only source of stress, and individuals may be experiencing life events which are also impacting on their emotional wellbeing.  However, research suggests that those employees struggling most with their mental health most commonly report stress both in and outside of work.  Individual meetings with employees offer a unique opportunity to learn more about them as people; about what are the potential sources of stress in their lives as well as what support they have.

Invest to save

So, through one to ones, line managers are in an exclusive position to be able to connect with their staff, to learn more about them as individuals and to understand what might make them vulnerable to stress.  By knowing your staff, you will be better able to identify the signs of emotional distress and have already established a trusting relationship in which the individual feels able to open up about the issues.  You will then be able to tackle it together.  This will save you time, energy and resource.  Regular one-to-ones are essential for the individual to feel connected to the organisation and for problems to be resolved.  A line manager who is supportive around mental health can help the individual stay at work and perform effectively, thereby reducing the impact of absenteeism and presenteeism.