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Convo Café: Conversations that Matter

by Rose ann Santos

It’s no secret that communication is the key to a better relationship. One-on-one conversations are a simple but effective way to improve communication between two individuals. For this reason, NLEX Corporation launched the Convo Café in 2019 to help reinforce one-on-one performance conversations, to build harmonious relationship between staff and immediate superiors, and to help strengthen employee engagements. It also serves as an avenue for leaders to help in their partner’s professional and personal growth, and for employees who want to reach out to their leaders for guidance and motivation. It is not only about reviewing performances; it’s about cultivating relationships.

Last year, the NLEX Training Room was converted into a café setup – cozy, informal, and with a relaxing ambiance. The purpose was to promote a light and casual one-on-one performance conversation between partners.

This year’s Convo Café is quite different, in the light of physical distancing. Leaders and subordinates were encouraged to be creative in creating the most conducive environment where they can conduct performance conversations despite physical limitations. Some still opted for a face to face conversation while observing health and safety protocols, and some used video conferencing for their sessions.

Below are 5 simple tips that NLEX employees can practise for an effective one-on-one conversation:

1. Schedule a regular ‘One-on-One Performance Conversation’ session

Set a meeting at least once every quarter or at the very least, twice a year. The conversation can go beyond performance reviews, KPIs, and department goals. Your conversation is also an opportunity to touch base with your partners, individually and personally. Make it a priority. Do not cancel schedules unless it’s absolutely necessary, and always reschedule as soon as possible.

2. Listen to your subordinates

Use this time to have an open conversation and listen to each of your team members. Give your subordinates time to share their small wins and successes, areas that they need help in, and encourage them to brainstorm with you on how to achieve each other’s goals.

3. Always come prepared

Before your meeting, make sure to do a little research on your subordinates -be sensitive to what state they are in, the latest events in their lives, etc. One-on-ones are also the perfect opportunity to check in with each employee and see what they’re doing, what challenges they’re facing, and what you can do to support them in any way you can.

4. Set goals and monitor your progress

Conversations are a venue to help your team develop goals that align with the organization’s direction. You can also set a regular check-in meeting to monitor the progress of the actions set during your meeting.

Ms. Jenny Enriquez spends time with Ms. Bien Caluscusin in a one-to-one ConvoCafe session

5. Discuss learning and development opportunities

This conversation is a good chance to assess your team member’s competencies, an opportunity to review individual development plan, and discuss what learning programs, courses, seminars, and conferences they can take up to improve their skills.

Source: Big Book of 350 One-on-One Meeting Questions by Quantum Workplace

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