No surprises

It’s a Radiohead song. But it’s also what your regular catchups with your team should be called.

One on one chats, held monthly, outside of the office and your shout. Talk about everything outside of the office, not just what happens at work.

It’s important to actually know more about your staff on a personal level.

Not to the point where it’s prying and invading privacy but there are things that go on outside of work that can or may impact their work.

Someone may have a special needs child.

Or they could be an up and coming Tae Kwon Do fighter that may need to go to regional or world championships.

Someone may have recently lost a loved one (parent, sibling or even a pet).

There could be a number of scenarios and each with their own level of discretion.

Of course this is also a place to raise other issues: are they finding their tasks too difficult and support lacking?

Are they considering their career options? As much as it’s time for you to provide feedback on performance, you also need to listen and learn.

You could go to the same spot every time but you could also mix it up and even do a quick lunch somewhere.

And how often you have it is up to you.

I personally feel monthly chats are better than simply waiting for 3-6 or even yearly reviews.

Some issues are time sensitive and of course will require immediate action but some things certainly can’t wait a few months for the next review.

As much as it should be casual, it should have some structure so as not to turn into a fat chewing situation that is just a waste of time.

Sure, it’s great to be casual with staff and to come across as approachable and that should be kept in mind.

But these catch ups have a greater purpose than to simply bond.

It’s about providing feedback on performance and clearing up or taking steps to resolve issues in a comfortable, non-confronting environment.

Ultimately, the goal is to find out where the pain is and administer some relief.

You don’t want surprises, remember?

If you have something like No Surprises in your company, how does it work for you?