Our Approach to One on Ones

A look at how we approach one-on-one meetings at Harled.
Chris Young
Chris Young
May 25, 2022

We've told you about what makes a great candidate for Harled and about our interview process. In this article we'll tell you about one of the first practices you'll be introduced to as you join the company: one-on-ones.

One-on-one meetings vary greatly from company to company. Some are manager-led, some are hr-led and many are ad hoc at best! And many don't exist at all.

Your Effort, Your Benefit

As a small team, our approach places the responsibility on the employee to invest in, and benefit from, one-on-one meetings. The role of the manager is to participate and support the employee from an organizational and mentoring perspective, but the direction and velocity is entirely a function of the objectives of the employee.

The more effort an employee invests, the more they will get out of the process. Just like goal setting, getting the most out of the process is not only a lot of work, it is hard work! Charting a career path, optimizing for trade-offs and being true about one's passion are all required to be successful in one-on-ones.

The Process

Within the company, the first one-on-one is led by a manager, which is also the last one-on-one to be led by a manager! Other HR related meetings will be initiated by a manager, but upside career success is entrusted to employees.

"You'll see that we are happy to learn from you."

During the first meeting the core elements of Harled are covered, including the Goals process, Learn, Create and Teach as well as key resources and documents that describe what Harled believes and why we believe that. This meeting reinforces the fact that these tools are all there to help employees achieve greatness and easily capture and promote their accomplishments!

This meeting ends with an action item for employees to decide what they want from one-on-ones and how often is appropriate given their objectives.

Follow-on meetings are scheduled by employees with an agenda of their choosing. This is great because it allows for a contextually sensitive cadence and the ability to define key topics ahead of the meeting for all parties to consider.

The Tooling

Our one-on-one meetings are all documented in Peachy as it offers a structured agenda ahead of the meeting, a spot to record notes as well as action items tied to each one-on-one.

Peachy automatically provides linkages between meetings so that we can easily reflect on the last agenda, address any outstanding action items and visualize an individual's progress and accomplishments over time. It doesn't automate the hard part of one-on-ones, but it provides a consistent structure so that more time can be spent on the important content and not on the administration.

Winning with One on Ones

One-on-ones can be a pain, can be fun or can be productive. Perceiving the meeting as one of the most important, focused uses of time is a great way to ensure that the opportunity is maximized. Here are a couple of quick tips to ensure that you get what you want out of your one-on-one:

  • Determine the key objective of your one-on-one. Mentoring? Career progression? Skill enhancement? All are valid and none will happen by accident.
  • Establish a cadence that gives you enough time to make progress between meetings and stick to it!
  • Draft an agenda early so that you have time to reflect on it and your manager has a chance to watch your thinking evolve.
  • Tie your one-on-ones to a specific goal that is documented in Peachy. The goal can always change, but keep each meeting focused.
  • For a more "relaxed" conversation, look to a coffee chat or lunch conversation. Keep your one-on-ones to your growth and success.

One-on-ones are an exciting time to work on your growth and your career. It is a special time that is carved out of busy schedules to move the needle for opportunities, skills, abilities and experiences. All things that are absolutely essential for a small but mighty team like Harled! If you're interested in growing through one-on-ones with us, then take a moment to have a look at our open positions!

About the author

Chris Young

Chris is dedicated to driving meaningful change in the world through software. He has taken dozens of projects from napkin to production in fast yet measured way. Chris has experience delivering solutions to clients spanning fortune 100, not-for-profit and Government.