It is important that employers and employees have regular and ongoing communication. This should include catch-ups to review progress, and discuss successes and challenges.

Regular contact means managers know what projects or tasks staff are working on and the challenges they face.

There is a balance between regular communication and micro managing. We are all different. Employees and managers have different working styles, successes, and challenges both at work and away from work. This means the way that we work with one person, may not be the best approach when we work with someone else.

If you find your usual style isn’t working, sit down with the other person and have a conversation about it to see if you can find the best way to work with each other. Managers and employees who can build an effective working relationship by accommodating each other’s individual working styles are likely to be much more productive than those who don’t.

Before a conversation, think about how you like to work:

  • Do you respond well to emails or a quick catch-up?
  • Do you like to be told what to do in detail or be given an overview and then take it from there?
  • How skilled is the employee at this work? How good is your understanding about this work? (Sometimes a manager needs to manage work more closely when an employee is learning new or different work. It is important to explain this to the employee so they do not think it is about their performance.)

Good managers make an effort to get to know their staff so that they feel comfortable talking about any work issues with them. A productive workplace is one in which people:

  • feel safe (within agreed boundaries) to experiment and challenge
  • feel valued and value each other
  • share information.

In this type of environment, team members are more prepared to go the extra mile and give their manager and their organisation the benefit of the doubt. Managers should balance creating an open trusting work environment, with being careful not to overshare or cross the line from manager to friend.

Regular catch-ups to review progress

Reviews should recognise and celebrate successes, review objectives and identify areas of concern. This is the opportunity for employers and employees to agree how things are going and what should happen next, exploring opportunities, and options for support needed, e.g., additional training, access to a database.

Regular catch-ups on performance:

  • enables issues to be raised early on
  • promotes an atmosphere of trust and understanding
  • can avoid problems by addressing early.

To get the most value from catch-ups both managers and employees should prepare beforehand. The best and easiest way to do this is to keep a running record between catch-ups of what is going well, what not so well and what needs to be resolved and addressed. Keep together any notes, papers, emails that you need to discuss. The level of formality of catch-ups should reflect the workplace.

At the end of the catch-up write down what has been agreed or send an email to confirm. It only takes a few minutes to recap, agree and follow up with an email and this will reduce issues later.

The more communication there is at the start, the easier it is to have meaningful conversations along the way. The credibility of the process can be undermined if conversations on progress are only held occasionally or are only held to when there is a concern or negative feedback.

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