Episode 116: The Pushback Episode -1:1s With Your Employees

On this special Friday release episode of What The Hell Just Happened?! Paul sits down with his executive assistant Amanda as he goes through what he likes to call “pushback” that one of our HR Base Camp members commented regarding our previous episode on employee one-on-ones. This community member raised some excellent points, and Paul wanted to be sure to address them all. Join our Facebook group to join in on the fun, and as always, feel free to email us at podcast@wthjusthappened.com if you have any questions, comments, or even stories you’d like to share with us.


Voice Over: You’re about to listen to another episode of What The Hell Just Happened?! Join Paul Edwwards and his guests as they discuss and sometimes even solve some interesting HR problems. 

Paul: And… I might go off the rails sometimes and talk about whatever I want! 

Amanda: Hi, Paul.

Paul: Hello, Amanda.

Amanda: How are you doing today?

Paul: I’m good. Welcome to the podcast. You’re not usually the one who is interviewing me.

Amanda: I know. I’m not usually behind the mic. It’s pretty wild, but I had to, you know, we saw this we have this really great Facebook community- HR Base Camp, as you’re very well aware of. And it has a lot of people on there. And we had one in particular bring up on our post about the podcast we did about one on ones maybe three weeks ago, some really, really good feedback on it. And when you read it, you said that you wanted to like talk about it because you valued this feedback.

Paul: Yeah, we’re going to call this the push back edition of One on One. 

Amanda: Yeah!

Paul: –one on one meetings with your employees.

Amanda: Yeah, definitely.

Paul: The Pushback.

Amanda: So it’s an office manager. His name is Chris, and he’s great. We love Chris because he.

Paul: Well Chris has an alias. It’s Kris Kringle.

Amanda: Yeah, it is Kris Kringle.

Paul: I’m saying Santa Claus is pushed back.

Amanda: Santa Claus is pushing back for sure. We love him, though, because he he’s very engaged in our community, so it’s awesome. One of the points I kind of want to go through his comment  bit by bit with you just so you get a chance to really, you know, comment. So his first good thing that he brought up is that he felt like the guidance we gave was more applicable to larger offices rather than smaller offices.

Amanda: He feels that, you know, one on ones flow very differently in that setting. 

Paul: Mm hmm.

Amanda: He thinks the main point behind that you have, he wants better guidance on overcoming that initial awkwardness of starting these up if you haven’t been doing them. For example, how do we introduce that we are doing this to our team in a way that doesn’t make them feel like we’re being intrusive on their personal lives or trying to micromanage them or constantly reprimanding them for little things.

Paul: Okay. So I want to we may have to you may have to even ask me that again, because I want to I want to point something out that he said in the beginning, which was this feels like it might work better in medium to other kinds of businesses, not so much as a dental practice. Maybe if you had desks and cubicles and stuff.

Paul: And and I want to say that while I fully realize that sometimes there’s physical challenges inside of a dental practice, especially a small practice, as in sometimes, Amanda, there’s not a place for a nursing mother to go to that’s private because there’s only the doctor’s office or there was only the doctor’s office. And in the last expansion, they turned that into a hygienic space.

[Amanda laughs]

Paul: And there’s literally, you know, not a doctor’s office anymore. So sometimes there can be physical challenges to having a one on one space or someplace that you can go and be in. But also want to be really clear that the guidance that I’m giving is not for an office with cubicles. There are businesses that have spaces like that that do one on ones. But in this particular instance, I’d like for everyone to just remember, and I don’t say that every podcast we’re giving out guidance but you have to make the guidance fit for you.

Amanda: Oh, yeah.

Paul: Like how you how- what space you have, how you would do it, where you would do it. It’s always got to change a little bit. So definitely one on ones are more difficult for smaller teams.

In every way, shape or form. Carving out the time to do it, the space to do it, the place to do it. Very difficult.

Paul: Okay. Now let’s go to the how do you introduce it? Right.

Amanda: Yeah. His first thing is “how do we introduce that we were doing this to our team in a way that doesn’t make them feel like we’re being intrusive.”

Paul: Are we are we quoting him? “We’re doing this to our team”?

Amanda: Yes, exactly. “We’re being intrusive on their personal lives or trying to micromanage them or constantly reprimanding them for little things.”

Paul: Okay. So, Chris, we’re not doing this to anybody.

Amanda: Yeah.

Paul: Okay. So if those were your words, that’s, that’s one of the best ways for me to get my head wrapped around something new. Sometimes I get to use the right words. This is something that we’re doing with each team member. And the way to make them not feel micromanaged is to set an expectation that this is going to be a positive experience, especially in the beginning.

Paul: So don’t don’t be waiting with your complaints.

Amanda: Okay

Paul: Don’t don’t start off with. Hey, hey, we’re going to do this cool thing. It’s a one on one where you’re going to get to talk to me, and we’re going to get to know each other. And and we’re going to trade some ideas and talk about the first thing I want to do is I want to talk about what you’re doing wrong.

[Amanda laughs]

Paul: Okay. Because that’s not the context of a one on one.

[Amanda laughs]

Amanda: That’s not very fun.

[Amanda laughs]

Paul: Yeah. A one on one is a kind of a solution seeking discussion. So if that helps at all.

Amanda: Well, I mean, it kind of taps on to his next point. Like he says in smaller offices you know, they pretty much kind of all are talking all throughout the day. So he’s already going to know what’s going on with this employee’s cat because they talk about it all the time.

Paul: But we were giving an-

Amanda: Example exactly.

Paul: Where we’re like, how’s your cat? Cat’s doing okay.

Amanda: He kind of wants to know how to, you know, get that personal element in there, even though they’re kind of already talking about that.

Paul: Yeah, well, you’ve focused on me saying the way you start off a one on one meeting, but the the difference between what you pick up throughout the day or what, you know, throughout the day. And I know I know that you guys all know one another. And there’s a lot discussed about there’s a big difference in setting aside intentional and intentional 12 to 15 minutes to focus on someone and to listen and to be heard.

Paul: And that again is a it’s a solution seeking session with an employee on a regular basis. And the purpose is to hear and to be heard. And that’s a lot different than I heard that this is going on in your life. You guys just know how it is when someone gives you some focus. It’s– Have you ever met that person who just like you feel like they get you?

Amanda: Yeah. You’re like, are you what are you, like, seeing me for? Like, for me?

Paul: Are you seeing me for who I am? Well, Chris, that might be exactly how you feel about everybody. However, part of that begins with listening. And when you model good listening as a manager, you can expect that from your employees. And I mean, literally, expect that from them. Like, they need to listen and hear you because you’re listening and hearing them.

Amanda: Mm hmm.

Paul: No campfires, no Kumbaya. Just this is a professional relationship that we’re developing with each other where we can have the conversations that talk about solving problems 

Amanda: Mm hmm.

Amanda: Yeah. No, and it’s nice that you said, you know, the 12 to 15 minutes because he said that and he was right. We did kind of state a range of times because I think it’s different for everyone. But he’s saying, you know, it’s almost impossible to set aside. 

Paul: He’s is not wrong. He he’s not wrong there. And, Chris, if you’re listening, you ‘ve got to figure it out. And it it’s going to take different shapes until you figure out how to do it on a relatively consistent basis.

Amanda: Yeah. He brings up the things that most office managers and practitioners out there deal with. You know, during this time we they may not have time to get someone else to cover that person’s job duties for that moment, like answering phones, greeting patients, getting lab work ready.

Paul: You take them to lunch.

Amanda: oh!

Paul:Pam, Pam, Pam, say, hey, I got good news. We’re going to do our one on one at lunch. I’m buying lunch and I’m paying you during lunch and we’re going to just sit and talk and let’s spend 20 minutes talking about work. 

Amanda: Yeah. 

Paul: And then let’s let’s break bread together. Now, look, it’s easy for me to say-

[Amanda laughs]

Paul: -but Chris might not have or the doctor who’s listening, who’s running the room practice may not have time to do stuff like that.

Paul: Maybe your schedule’s packed moment to moment all day long. I understand the only way you can do anything in this world is if you carve out the time for it. 

Amanda: Mm hmm.

Paul: So you have to commit to it and start somewhere. And, yeah, it’s a challenge. It’s. It’s a challenge.

Amanda: Yeah. He also brings up the time involved for prepping for the meeting. Such as having- and he says, I quote, “listing corrective actions you want to go over with the team member as well as finding things they’re doing well to complement them on, to keep it balanced. So he you know, if we have any guidance on this, any sort of prep work when it comes to one on ones.

Paul: There’s always a need for improvement in a business. So think of it more about working on the business with them you’re working on and in the business on the business with them, including them as part of it. Sometimes you may have to talk about their skillsets or something that they’re not doing that they could be doing, and they might need some support with. Think of it more in those terms, and then I think you have time for it.

Paul: It can be training, it can be you’re one on ones with a new employee are really different than they are with with an employee who’s been there for four years and you’re engaging with them. It can be a very different thing. But again, Chris is head on something. You can’t just walk into these things and not be a little bit prepared, have a little bit of an agenda.

Paul: But what I’ve learned is you start a document and this is literally how we do it is you start a document, you start somewhere and you live off that document. And it is the employee’s job to put something in the document that they want to talk about before you get there. And it’s your job to drop something in there too.

Amanda: Mmm. Yeah.

Paul: And you’ll drop in, Hey, I’m going to let Melissa have it for being late three times last week.

[Amanda laughs]

Amanda: Yeah.

Paul: You put something else in there, but you know, you know that you’re going to be in there at some point. You’re going to have that conversation. Here’s something else. As a manager, how much fun is it to know that the person who’s being habitually late is not going to escape you? They’re going to have to come and be in a meeting with you and you are going to bring stuff like that up.every now and then.

Amanda: Mm hmm.

Paul: I submit that you’re going to have a lot less negative things to talk about than you are positive.

Amanda: Mm hmm. Yeah. Well, I mean, from an employee perspective, you are my employer. I think that one on one time, like, you know, with us, our schedules are insane. You know, I manage your schedule, your schedules, insane, therefore, mine’s insane. 

Paul: Right? 

Amanda: Sometimes our one on ones-

Paul: By the way. You’re welcome.

[Amanda laughs]

Amanda: Thanks.

Amanda: Sometimes are one on one, quote, unquote, aren’t defined that way. It’s like 5 minutes in the morning-

Paul: Yep.

Amanda: -when we can just touch base when we both first walk in.

Paul: And those are best because there’s nothing wrong.

Amanda: No. Yeah. I still find that time really valuable because it’s a moment where I have your attention on me.

Paul: Oh, thank you for that, Amanda.

Amanda: You know, which is great.

Paul: It is. And I mean, it’s not always great in a personal sense. It’s just great-

Amanda: Sure.

Paul: You can get something done-

Amanda: Yeah.

Paul: -ask a direct question and get what it is that you need for me in a succinct amount of time as possible. 

Amanda: Yeah.

Paul: So, Chris, think about your one on one that way. Don’t ask them about their cat.

Amanda: Yeah, yeah, 

Paul: Yeah. 

Amanda: Yeah, exactly. I feel like, you know, some people may I don’t know, especially if that initial awkwardness, I think that might be a way to get around that, you know, just start with maybe let them lead that personal conversation.

Paul: Yeah. 

Amanda: If it, you know, feels weird. But Chris, thank you so much for leaving this comment and we’re glad we could come back and readdress it and clear some things up.

Paul: I like to push back. So, Amanda, what was the name of the other episode? Do we remember?

Amanda: How to prevent awkward one on one’s.

Paul: Okay, how to prevent awkward one?

Amanda: It was September 20th.

Paul: Okay. So if you’re hearing this, you didn’t hear the other one, then you definitely may want to go back and spend 12 minutes with that one.

Amanda: Yeah. And please, everyone, keep in mind, email us at podcast@WTHjusthappened.com

Paul: W. T. H. What the hell Just happened. 

Amanda: Yeah.

Paul: W.T.H dot com. Email your questions.

Amanda: We love to hear from you.

Paul:Yeah. Thanks, everybody.

Amanda: Alright, thanks.

Voice Over: Thanks for joining us for this week’s episode of What The Hell Just Happened? do Paul a favor; share this with your network. If you have an HR issue or a question, you’d like us to discuss on this show, send it to podcast@WTHjusthappened.com. For more HR advice and insights from Paul and his team of experts, you can also join the private Facebook group, HR Base Camp, or visit HRbasecamp.com. Make sure you tune in next week. And remember: better workplaces make better lives.

Oct 14, 2022

Friendly Disclaimer: This information is general in nature and is not intended to provide legal advice or replace individual guidance about a specific issue with an attorney or HR expert. The information on this page is general human resources guidance that is believed to be current as of the date of publication. Note that CEDR is not a law firm, and as the law is always changing, you should consult with a qualified attorney or HR expert who is familiar with all of the facts of your situation before making a decision about any human resources or employment law matter.
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