As much as you might want to hold one-on-one meetings with each employee at your company, at a certain point, those meetings become unrealistic. That’s why we asked 13 entrepreneurs from Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) the following question:
“What system do you use to check in with employees as your company gets too large for one-on-one meetings every week?”
Here’s what YEC community members had to say:
“I love Trello. It clearly illustrates progression, facilitates communication and collaboration and it’s beautifully simply designed. Calls or an occasional one-on-one still don’t hurt, but to drive efficiency and results I recommend Trello.” ~ Carlo Cisco, SELECT
2. Roadblock Updates
“Each week we have an email roundtable where each team member checks in with the roadblocks they’ll be facing one week out and one month out. This helps our growing team understand how their work supports the work of others without tying everyone up in a scheduled meeting that drains time and resources.” ~ Nick Reese, BroadbandNow
3. Founder Drop-Ins
“I learn more about how a location functions and how the staff is feeling by dropping in with no agenda. For me, that’s getting haircuts at different locations. In the chair, I get the real scoop and the staff sees management involved in the most basic way possible. Then, before I leave, I try to fix the leaky toilet or do something else “dirty” that no one wants to do. Nothing is above anyone.” ~ Michael Portman, Birds Barbershop
4. Digital Task Managers
“I don’t have time to constantly meet with the team at LexION Capital, so I have them constantly updating their projects and progress in a digital task management system. It not only keeps the team organized, but whenever I get a free moment it allows me to instantly see how their projects have progressed. I can also leave comments and see the work itself right from my computer, or on the go.” ~ Elle Kaplan, LexION Capital
5. Being Available
“Nothing replaces face-to-face, but by cultivating an environment of openness, employees are encouraged to come to their manager or to contact me if they have something they need to talk about. I can’t always help, but the chances are that what seems like a big problem for an employee can be solved relatively easily with input from me or other members of the team.” ~ Vik Patel, Future Hosting
6. Spliting It Up
“We have gone from five employees to 20 this year and had to move away from one-on-one meetings every week. The different departments (we have four) meet with their teams and each team lead then meets with the executive team. We also use Jira and Salesforce to report on productivity and what everyone is doing.” ~ Aron Susman, TheSquareFoot
“DropTask is a great system for organizing projects and task management as well as collaboration between teams. It uses a novel approach by ditching lists for a more colorful interface to organize each project. You can tag specific people to a project and see its progress, issues, etc. in real time. And the best partis that it can integrate with other services like Dropbox, Gmail and more.” ~ Kumar Arora, Aroridex, Ltd.
8. Leadership and Structure
“There are a number of tools that can help you communicate with your team, but there’s no replacement for one-on-one in-person time. To solve this, we have a management structure. Each employee has a direct manager who they meet with for a weekly one-on-one. As we grow, we’ll have more managers. This way every employee gets the support they deserve as we scale.” ~ Bhavin Parikh, Magoosh Inc
9. Anonymous Digital Suggestion Box
“This allows everyone to give feedback. We also have open-door policies so that, if employees need to connect, they can. Finally, we have set the company up in tiers, so that our management team can definitely connect with each individual, and then connect with us.” ~ Erik Huberman, Hawke Media
“We’ll always have one-on-one meetings between managers and direct reports, but this year Grovo added 15Five as a tool to enhance two-way communication on tactical issues. It’s one of many systems we’ve put in place to optimize feedback loops, from a bi-weekly all-hands meeting to a whiteboard where we crowdsource suggestions for improving our office and culture. ” ~ Jeff Fernandez, Grovo Learning, Inc.
11. Agile Planning
“We use agile planning at Ceros. We plan at an executive level, and my team works with other teams to build out an execution plan to meet those goals. Everyone has full transparency into what each department is shooting for. We field a company-wide survey at the end of every executive sprint as well as host a town hall meeting with the entire team every eight weeks.” ~ Simon Berg, Ceros
12. Weekly Team Meeting Notes
“We use a company wiki to document all of our ideas, processes and product specs. It’s great because it keeps everyone up to date on what needs to be done, you can tag team members on projects that they are needed on, and you can get email notifications of changes made in the wiki. That, paired with a wrap-up of our weekly team meetings, makes sure that everyone is on the same page.” ~ Brian David Crane, Caller Smart Inc.
“My team uses Asana as our main form of organization and collaboration. With Asana, we are able to share projects, assign tasks, follow progress and comment on each other’s work all on one site. While I still like to have one-on-one meetings with my employees, Asana helps us communicate on daily projects so we have more time to focus on more specialized assignments.” ~ Leila Lewis, Be Inspired PR
Roulette Table Photo via Shutterstock
Interesting. I am working with a team too and this can be quite useful. I am looking into Droptask and Trello now.
@Aira, Trello is GREAT! you should definitely play with it. I’ve been using it together with #slack and Asana. Love those tools so far and it works perfect for my employee management.
Though, Some of the tools here I haven’t tried yet. Will certainly check it out.
Thanks YEC for posting this article! Keep them coming.
Great list of apps, Tom. Too bad our task manager MeisterTask didn’t make the list – it was featured in the Best of 2015 lists both on the App Store and the Chrome Web Store this month.
Would love for you to take a look at it and maybe consider it for a future article!