· 4 mins · Productive Meetings

How Ritual does one-on-one meetings

Avatar of Paige Magarrey Paige Magarrey

This week, we’re talking about one-on-ones with Ritual! 🍔🌯🍕

SoapBox is a huge fan of Ritual ❤️. The social ordering app has changed the way workplaces eat lunch –and impacted communication and company culture as a result. That’s why we were so excited to get the inside scoop on what that communication is like within the company!

We sat down with Lorena Scott, Head of People Ops at Ritual, to talk about what’s on her one-on-one agendas, getting employees to open up and more.

Lorena’s 1:1 basics

  • # of direct reports: 6
  • Office or remote?: Office
  • Frequency: Mostly bi-weekly
  • Length: 30 minutes
  • Go-to question: “How are you?”

Are you remote or in-office?

I work out of Ritual’s Toronto office, where today the majority of our team sits. We, however, don’t use the word “remote” office. We are quite a distributed team, based all over the world, and we believe it’s more inclusive to state: “I’m a part of the Toronto team or the New York team.” We are intentional about avoiding words like HQ or remote.

Why do you do one-on-ones?

We have found three factors really support career development and team member success:

  1. feedback loop, and lots of it;
  2. Context setting; and
  3. Rapport building

One-on-ones help in all three areas. They are dedicated time for a manager and his/her team member to consistently connect, set context give and receive feedback. The nuance to one-on-ones is that it’s the team member’s time. In other words, they set the agenda, not the manager.

"The nuance to one-on-ones is that it’s the team member's time. In other words, they set the agenda, not the manager." – Lorena Scott of @ritual_co Click To Tweet

How often are your one-on-ones? 

It depends. Given the number of one-on-ones currently on my agenda (not just with my direct reports), most of my one-on-ones are bi-weekly. I tend to focus less on the frequency (recognizing there is a minimum of one per month) and more on honoring the time together when they’re scheduled. They’re a sacred spot on my calendar and if they’re missed, they’re immediately rescheduled.

How long are your one-on-ones?

I tend to book 30 minutes, and that’s really the minimum. From time-to-time, a team member may book another 15 minutes.

How do you prepare for your one-on-ones?

So that I’m best prepared for the convos and can be thoughtful about feedback or the context setting, I ask for an agenda in advance.

Is the agenda the same every time, or does it change?

The agenda is set by the team member, so it tends to vary with what’s on their mind or where they need support or feedback. Once per quarter, however, the agenda is pre-set. During this quarterly check-in, we have a career session to discuss progression and give more “formal” feedback on the current quarter’s performance. As our performance reviews take place every six months, this is an important check-in.

Do both you and your employee add items to the agenda?

The only agenda I drive is once per quarter to give more performance-related feedback.

What are your go-to one-on-one questions?

Honestly, it’s more about listening. By simply asking – “how are you?” and allowing the conversation to go from there.

How do you help your employees open up?

My role is to listen, be honest, and problem solve and give constructive feedback, when applicable. While I may drive the agenda during team meetings, that’s not the goal of my 1:1s, so I avoid moving into the driver’s seat at all costs. If the conversation is drifting off track, I use a few questions to bring it back in focus, including: 1) what work are you most proud of; 2) what’s been most frustrating. Another questions I tend to ask to recenter the conversation is: what do you want to be doing more of or less of?

"My role is to listen, be honest, and problem solve." – Lorena Scott of @ritual_co on one-on-one meetings Click To Tweet

What’s the biggest challenge around your one-on-ones?

Moving away from the tactical – going through a “to do” list. Being intentional about honoring the purpose of the meeting.

What’s the biggest one-on-one mistake that managers make?

Not honoring/respecting the time. Don’t book one-on-ones and repeatedly cancel or miss them, or sabotage the conversation to be their to-do list. Use a stand-up or another forum for that.

How do you know if you’ve had a successful one-on-one?

Great one-on-ones take time and require a certain level of rapport between a manager and his or her team member. I know they’re successful when the rapport exists, and as a result, I am also receiving constructive feedback. My team member trusts the process and is candid and honest.

Need help with your one-on-ones? Use SoapBox!

What should you do now

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