google managementGoogle, a company founded only in 1998, has become synonymous with the internet. They have gone from a small search engine into one of the most influential companies on the planet, let alone the internet. Not to mention they are the number one company to work for. With yearly profits over $10 billion, they’re here to stay for a long time. The services Google creates have allowed countless businesses and industries to thrive online. You could write a book about how they run their company to such great success. I’m not that author, but I do want to talk about one technique Google uses which could help your business.

Google Pushes One-on-One Meetings

Google didn’t make it to the top company to work for by managing their employees poorly. Google encourages creativity and provides their employees with many, many perks. A quick look at their benefits page will make almost any employee jealous. On-site healthcare, travel insurance, educational reimbursements, legal aid and discounts, and lots of employee freedom are just a few of the perks of being a Google employee.

These perks are great, of course. But Google also employs plenty of business practices that any business can learn from. They recently posted the one-on-one (or as they say 1:1) management technique they employ on the Google and Your Business blog.

It’s often hard for employees and managers to find time for 1:1 meetings. This is unfortunate. Google utilizes 1:1 meetings to “help make sure that employees always have an open channel of communication with managers.” They meet for 30 minutes and the goal of the meeting is simply to communicate.

For Google, the employees are often “leading the meeting” while managers “listen and provide constructive feedback.” When these 1:1 meetings are scheduled and become a regular part of the job, the benefits affect the business, employee, and management positively. I’m no management expert, but there is plenty of literature about the 1:1 if the fact that Google uses it doesn’t immediately convince you to implement the method in your business.

The One-on-One: Other Perspectives

Google is a big business with plenty of managers for numerous employees. This doesn’t mean that adopting the 1:1 can’t benefit your business, whether you have 1 employee, 100, or 1,000. So what other reasons make the 1:1 technique good for you and your business?

To quote Richard Wanner from the SANS Institute, 1:1 meetings “provide an uninterrupted time to receive and discuss the employee’s status” and for them to receive “personalized feedback and mentoring.” 1:1 meetings grow your business’ talent; even if the communication doesn’t yield a genius idea, your employees become better with good leadership.

Ben Horowitz, founder of Andreessen Horowitz, wrote a great piece on the One on One for AllThingsD. He writes that those who don’t think the 1:1 is a good idea have likely “been victims of poorly designed one-on-one meetings.” A good one-on-one works when the manager or owner realizes that the meeting is the employee’s, not the manager’s. This is vital, as Ben implies there is no other way for an employee to receive feedback for “an idea that [they are] not sure is relevant,” and haven’t fully formed yet. Sometimes employees can see issues from a clearer vantage point than management or owners.

As Forbes contributor Amy Rees Anderson writes, “every single job in a company has vast importance” and “every single person in a company is a valuable piece of the chain.” Following this, every single employee has a unique and meaningful perspective. They aren’t just droning through the day.

Employees are thinking about ways to improve or expand business. They have ideas, but they might not ever have the chance to voice them or develop them without a one on one meeting encouraging them to do so. Without that communication, your business might be missing out on a great idea. At the very least, you’re missing out on helping your employees reach their full potential.

Take this concept a step further for agencies that work with businesses. Do you take the time our of your week or month to have 1:1 meetings with your clients? Opening that line of communication can be vital to keeping clients happy and ensuring your work is exactly what the client wants week after week. It also demonstrates a greater degree of interest; don’t ever let your clients wonder if you really care about their business – make sure they know.

Management Matters

1:1 meetings provide the chance for mentorship from management as well as a chance for managers to improve their leadership skills. The 1:1 is a win-win situation. Taking a hands off approach or thinking you don’t have enough time for such meetings ignores the benefits your business gains from taking the time to do 1:1 meetings.

Vivian Giang reports on Business Insider about a new study examining the influence of managers on the productivity of a business’ workers. The findings of the study show that “how productive you are is a direct result of the training, development and encouragement you receive from your manager.” What’s the ideal situation to receive this? Yep, the 1:1 meeting.

Furthermore, the study found that ultimately, “if a manager is performing well, so is the employee and vice-versa.” That’s compelling enough evidence to me for any company to implement the 1:1. Thanks to technology we don’t have much of an excuse not to have these meetings. The technique is best in person, but if necessary can be done virtually or over the phone. You don’t have anything to lose; follow Google’s lead and give the 1:1 a shot.

Does your company or agency rely on the 1:1 as an important part of management? Will you give it a try?