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How to Use 1-on-1s during the COVID-19 Pandemic

Our recommendations for adapting your 1-on-1s strategy to better support your employees during the COVID-19 pandemic

1-on-1s are More Important than Ever

In recent years, 1-on-1 conversations have become the preferred way for managers and employees to discuss employee performance throughout the year, rather than relying on one annual performance review. Regular 1-on-1s allow a manager and employee to discuss goal progress and
align on performance expectations, which allows for real-time performance coaching. They are key opportunities for a manager to listen, build trust, strengthen alignment, and coach an employee toward success.

Given the COVID-19 pandemic, ensuring that managers and employees are having effective 1-on-1 conversations has become even more critical.  Many employees are working from home, eliminating the line of sight into productivity and performance that managers usually have. Both individuals and businesses are also navigating uncertainty, anxiety, and change, which makes conversations about alignment and personal well-being critical. 


Adapting your 1-on-1s Strategy during COVID-19

Whether your organization is just getting started with 1-on-1s or has been using 1-on-1s for years, we recommend adapting your approach to 1-on-1s in three key ways during COVID-19. 

1. Increase the frequency of 1-on-1s. 

Whether your employees are working from home or in essential roles, we recommend that managers and employees meet at least weekly. Even 5-10 minutes of time together is valuable. 

2. Use video calls. 

While social distancing or working from home may prevent in-person meetings, a face-to-face connection allows you to see facial expressions, body language, head nods that indicate understanding, or other physical cues that you can’t detect over a phone call.

3. Shift the topics of discussion. 

Beyond discussing performance, now is a critical time to have managers simply check in on their employees' engagement and general well-being. 


1-on-1 Templates and Launch Plans

Below are two 1-on-1 templates we recommend organizations utilize now. Both of these templates have been added to Quantum Workplace and are available for all customers to use. If you have launched 1-on-1s before, you can find these templates within your 1-on-1s Administration under Templates. If your organization has not launched 1-on-1s before, reach out to your Customer Success Manager to access to these templates, even if your subscription doesn't include access to 1-on-1s.
1-on-1 covid templates where to find

Weekly Alignment Template 

  • How are you feeling today? Has anything changed for you in the past week? Asked to employee
    While this is always a relevant question for managers to ask their direct reports, checking in with employees on a personal level is especially important now!
    • What is the most important thing(s) for me to focus on this week?/What is the most important thing(s) for [employee name] to focus on this week? Asked to both employee and manager
      Employees are likely feeling disrupted due to the pandemic. Aligning on what goals and objectives are the most important provides clarity and focus.
      • Is there anything I can help with this week? Asked to employee
        Managers have a birds eye view into their employees’ situations and challenges. This question allows them to better gauge how they can help their team members flex when they work, how they work, or how they can best work together at this time. 

        This question also allows managers to identify greater needs or challenges that may need to be escalated to leaders in order to be effectively solved, such as increased communication on certain topics or new resources that can be made available to employees.


        Launch Plan for the Weekly Alignment Template:

        Launch this template as part of an automated cycle occurring at the beginning of the second, third, and fourth weeks of each month. On the first week of the month, we recommend utilizing the Performance Check-In template below. 


        Performance Check-In Template (excluding week that Weekly template is used)

        • What do I see as my biggest achievements this past month?/ What do you see as [employee name’s] biggest achievements from this past month?
        • Please rate your overall performance for the last month. Is there anything you would like to add?./Please rate [employee name’s] performance for the last month. Is there anything you would like to add?
          Suggested Scale: Off Month, Solid Month, Exceptional Month with open answer text box.
          • What is my key focus area in the next month? (might include goals, priorities, deliverables, or behaviors)/What are [employee name’s] key focus areas in the next month? (might include goals, priorities, deliverables, or behaviors)
          • How can [manager’s name] provide better coaching in the next month?


          Launch Plan for the Performance Check-In Template:

          Launch this template as part of an automated cycle that re-occurs the first week of every month. Or, ask your managers to set up recurring 1-on-1s with each of their team members the first week of every month using this template. 

          We're here to help!  Contact your Customer Success Manager for assistance if you're interested in using these 1-on-1s and want help setting them up for your employees.