March 12, 2020
Inside: Build trust with your employees and boost their effectiveness with regular one-on-one meetings.
Your independent pharmacy is a busy place. If you don’t make intentional moves to slow down and touch base with your employees, it can be difficult to foster meaningful relationships with them.
As a manager, you should set aside regular time to have one-on-one meetings with each of your employees. Though it may be a challenge to find 30 minutes in your schedule for everyone, the practice pays off in work productivity and loyalty.
One-on-ones open a direct line of communication between you and your staff members. As you get to know staff members, you’ll see positive improvements in their performance and know better how to help them when they stumble.
Giving feedback can be hard. It’s awkward, and you worry about hurting people’s feelings. But instituting one-on-one meetings can make feedback feel routine. If you only give constructive criticism when the problematic behavior has reached a breaking point, the stakes feel higher.
When you bring up a performance concern at your one-on-one, it will be one of many things you discuss. And your meetings happen on a regular basis, so it won’t feel like it’s coming out of nowhere.
Dispensing feedback regularly also means that you can address small issues before they become bigger or more disruptive.
One-on-ones put you in consistent contact with your employees, which helps to foster trust. Because your staff members have regular contact with you, they will be more likely to come to you when they run into problems.
With dedicated one-on-one time, your employees will feel confident that communication goes both ways, instead of coming down from the top.
These meetings also encourage commitment to the pharmacy. When bosses have frequent and consistent meaningful interactions with employees, they will be more loyal.
When you’re not having one-on-one meetings, you’re probably having all sorts of ad hoc conversations about day-to-day pharmacy tasks. Whether it’s about a change in procedures or an informational update, these conversations take time out of everyone’s day.
With regular one-on-ones, you can condense all those conversations down to a single one instead of spending time tracking people down and making sure information has been dispersed to everyone. That means employees are more knowledgeable and more productive.
You have to devote a lot of time to get employee one-on-ones right, so it’s best to have a game plan before you go in. Here are a few tactics you can use to get the most out of your one-on-one meetings.
Having a recurring appointment on the books shows your employees that you are invested in them. How frequently you have one-on-ones will depend on your staff. With a small staff, you may find that weekly or bi-weekly meetings work best, but with a larger staff, once a month will do.
With a standing meeting set, your staff members will know they have an opportunity to bend your ear so they’ll be less likely to come to you with interruptions during the regular course of the day.
Once you’ve set that meeting, respect it. Don’t arrive late, and don’t cancel at the last minute. It’s frustrating to your employees and gives the impression that you don’t value one-on-one time.
Go into your one-on-one meetings with an idea of what you are going to talk about. Send an agenda out with talking points beforehand so your employees can prepare and you aren’t left searching for something to fill the space.
You might want to discuss your employee’s recent job performance, upcoming challenges, or goals for the future.
However, if your conversation veers off in a different direction, you don’t have to stick to the script. Prepare to be flexible, because you may learn about a new opportunity or discover a problem you didn’t know existed. If something unexpected comes up, don’t be afraid to table your agenda for the next meeting.
Start your one-on-one meetings on a positive note. You can ask staff members to share something that they’re proud of or praise them for something specific in their recent work performance.
If one-on-ones become exclusively about problems and criticisms, they can become something that employees dread. By conscientiously beginning with the good things, one-on-ones become more enjoyable for everyone.
This practice also serves as a reminder to give positive feedback. When managers give feedback, they often concentrate only on the negative, but positive feedback will improve morale and set a high standard for performance.
Prepare to do more listening than talking in your one-on-one meetings. Ask employees what they find frustrating. You may get new insight into the day-to-day operations of your pharmacy, and you’ll be able to nip problems in the bud, preventing them from becoming bigger problems.
When you hear negative things about your pharmacy, you may be tempted to get defensive or try to explain why you think the employee is wrong. Resist that urge and stay calm in the moment. While you won’t be able to make everyone happy all the time, you could find there are issues you’ve been overlooking and that you need to make changes.
One-on-one meetings provide a unique opportunity for professional development. Make sure you take time to discover what your employee’s professional goals are, and then figure out how you can support them.
These goals could be short term, like improving their customer service skills. Or, they could look farther into the future, like if you have a front-end clerk who wants to become a pharmacy technician.
Whatever the end goal is, use your one-on-one time with employees to check in on their progress and ask them what you can do to help them achieve their goals. Because you are investing energy in them, they will be likely to reinvest energy into their work.
PBA Health is dedicated to helping independent pharmacies reach their full potential on the buy side of their business. The company is a member-owned organization that serves independent pharmacies with group purchasing services, expert contract negotiations, proprietary purchasing tools, distribution services, and more.
An HDA member, PBA Health operates a VAWD-certified warehouse with more than 6,000 SKUs, including brands, generics, narcotics CII-CV, cold-storage products, and over-the-counter (OTC) products.
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