Approach all of your 1:1 meetings with your teammates with a compassionate and solution-oriented mindset. This would make you the leader your team members trust and aspire to be.
Oftentimes managers avoid having personal 1:1 meetings with their team members because they find it difficult, time-consuming, or unnecessary. Yet, there’s nothing that boosts employee performance, morale, and retention more than having a regular 1:1 check-in with their manager.
In this article, we will discuss all you need to know about conducting impactful 1:1 meetings with your team members.
Table of contents
What are the benefits of 1:1 meetings?
10 tips for effective 1:1 meetings
How to take 1:1s to the next level - step by step guide
The idea of 1:1 meetings was first popularized by Andy Grove, the former CEO of Intel, in his book High Output Management. In short, 1:1 meetings are weekly personalized conversations between a manager and their team members to ask questions about work challenges and performance roadblocks and finding solutions together.
These meetings are not for discussing progress reports or performance reviews, instead 1:1s are great opportunities for managers to connect with their employees and uncover ways to guide and support them.
The advantages of personally knowing your employees go way beyond immediate improvement in employee performance. When handled correctly they enable managers to enrich employee experience and drive retention.
Let’s discuss some other reasons why you need to have frequent 1:1 meetings —
It is well known that as much as 50% of employees who switch organizations leave their jobs due to issues with managers. According to Gallup research, 70% of the variance in employee engagement is influenced by the managers they report to.
1 on 1 meetings can eliminate this risk by providing managers with timely insights on what motivates their team members. As a manager, when you know their aspirations, their pain points you can customize your solutions to empower them individually as well as build relationships.
1 on 1 meetings are also great for reducing the risk of false assumptions and personal biases that arise naturally. It helps you put aside personal favourites and connect with all team members to create a sense of equality and trust within the team.
When employees trust their managers, they open up and interact honestly. Most employees in 1 on 1 meetings talk more freely with their managers than they do in group meetings, especially introverts.
Frequent and regular check-ins build a feedback culture within the organization which further helps in proactively identifying and solving potential problems before they snowball into bigger issues with more expensive consequences.
While it’s natural to overlook smaller wins when you are overwhelmed with millions of other responsibilities, it demoralizes team members. When employees feel that their hard work is unnoticed for longer periods, they lose the motivation to put in their best effort. As a manager, you must make sure that you are using these quick interactions to recognize good work and saying thank you-s for their efforts.
1:1 meetings drive managers to listen with empathy, provide constructive feedback, build trust and relationships — thus transforming them from managers into leaders. Also, 1:1s humble managers by making them receive genuine feedback from their teammates with an open mind.
Regular personalized feedback from employees helps managers identify what’s working and what’s not in how they manage their teams and helps businesses develop learning programs for managers accordingly.
1:1 meetings are meant to be discussions. As a manager, your job here is to find ways to support, guide, and coach your team. Don’t start 1:1s with a mindset to dissect the employee’s performance, rather use this time to show your employees that you care about them.
Remember that your employees are the focus of the conversation. Instead of forcing them to comply with your orders, allow them to come up with possible solutions. Listen without judgement and then suggest your solution. Keep things informal to make the employees feel at ease so they feel free to provide honest feedback.
To have effective and focused 1:1 discussions, you need to have a clear idea of what is happening within your team. It helps to ask employees beforehand about their challenges or revisit previous 1:1 conversations history to come up with talking points to make sure both party’s time is being used properly.
Remember that 1:1 agenda should be collaborative and flexible. Both the manager and employee should bring their genuine concerns to the table.
The primary purpose of 1:1 meetings is to develop trust between the manager and the team’s members. Building trust takes time and requires consistency. Set the right cadence that your team requires. And once the cadence is decided, set them as recurring events in your calendar. Use a tool to integrate all 1:1s with your favorite calendar to save time instead of scheduling them manually. Regularly making time to talk to your employees will make them feel that you are really invested in their success and wellbeing. Thus, increasing their engagement and output.
Weekly cadence is good to keep in touch with your people without appearing as a micromanager. But if your team size is too large, then a bi-weekly cadence may be a good alternative. Scheduling monthly 1:1 meetings is usually ineffective as a lot can happen in a month which increases the chance that you’ll spend more time correcting mistakes than proactively solving them.
Often, managers tend to interact with team members with whom they get along easily. But remember, as a team leader you must conduct 1:1 check-ins with all members of your team without any preference. This allows your employees to know that you are not a manager who plays favourites and increases their loyalty to you.
Nobody likes longer meetings that take their time away from valuable tasks. On the other hand, if your meetings are too short, you will not have enough time to talk about important issues.
As a general rule of thumb, 30-45 minutes of weekly check-ins is good to go. Also, make sure both parties come prepared with their talking points so no time is wasted discussing pointless topics. This is where it becomes useful to use guided 1:1 meeting templates.
It is natural for some employees to refrain from giving honest feedback or sharing genuine concerns about the team's performance because they fear the consequences of being known by other team members as “the one who complains”.
Also, not everyone is equally comfortable in sharing their problems. Therefore, you must customize the tonality, context, and structure of your 1:1s to suit every employee’s personality and needs.
As a manager, it is your responsibility to ensure that everyone feels safe and their privacy is protected.
1:1 meetings are about employees and their needs. So, as a manager, make sure to ask as many questions as needed to get to the root of their workplace challenges and find the right solution.
Apart from asking only technical questions, also ask about their morale to understand how they feel about their work and employer as a whole. Be genuinely interested in knowing your employees. That’s the key to an effective 1:1 meeting.
Taking notes is not only useful for future references, it also shows that you care about what your team members have to say. Moreover, taking notes during and after a meeting helps you to use the learning from one conversation with a specific employee for any similar situation in the future with another employee (or even to solve your own problem).
Also, taking personal notes (i.e. recording your own thoughts about the issue) turns out to be useful when you have to do a performance review at the end of the year.
1:1 check-ins are even more crucial when some or all of your employees are working remotely. Make sure to use a video call to understand the non-verbal cues related to a conversation.
Ask them about what they need to feel supported in their work. Frequently letting employees know that they are cared for by the organization reduces their stress of working in isolation and increases employee engagement.
Now let’s look at how you can structure 1:1 conversations to make the most of your discussions.
This is the time to set the agenda, create talking points, review previous conversation history and team priorities, and get into the right mindset. If things have been going well, remind yourself to focus on recognition. And if things are not going as expected, remind yourself to focus on finding a solution to the problem instead of finding faults in the concerned employee.
Share the agenda of the next 1:1 conversations with the concerned employee beforehand. Ask them to share their talking points as well.
Also, before you get into specifics about their individual performance, let your team know (on a regular basis) what success looks like for the team as well as for each role. This way, you will make sure that employees are not using 1:1 discussions to share excuses for not meeting expectations.
Many employees tend to perceive 1:1 meetings with their boss as intimidating. As a result, they avoid talking about the real problems and say what they think you would like to hear.
Ease the tension in the beginning of the discussion with a quick check-in about how they are feeling and doing. Casually ask about how they feel about their work, team mates, and what’s on the top of their minds.
Next, share how you are doing at work. Talk about your work updates that may be relevant to the discussion. Seeing you opening up may help them to see you as a fellow employee instead of “the boss”. Thus, building trust.
We repeat this once again, 1:1 meetings are about employees. It is about finding out what is stopping them from being their best selves at work. To uncover their performance blockers, listening empathetically is key. Leave the urge to jump to conclusions or provide quick solutions and actively engage in what they have to say.
Take 1:1 meetings as a development exercise for yourself. Listen to what your team members have to say about your management approach. Take notes to recognize recurring patterns from different conversations and modify your managerial style accordingly.
This would not only help you become a better leader but also improve your team’s performance and trust in you when they see that their feedback is being valued by their boss.
Although the true purpose of 1:1 meetings is to recognize employee efforts and boost their morale, sometimes you will need to hold difficult conversations. Instead of criticizing their performance or behavior, talk about the high expectations you have of them. This would show them that you believe in them and thus encourage them to work harder.
Also, the quicker you provide feedback about their performance the faster they can correct their course.
1:1 meetings are two-way discussions. While talking about performance, it’s okay to share personal stories in similar situations (if any). Bringing little vulnerability to the discussion helps to eliminate fear.
Moreover, employee performance can sometimes be affected by issues outside of work. Asking them how they are doing in their personal life (without being intrusive) will make them know you care about them on a personal level while simultaneously giving you a clearer picture of the root cause of performance fluctuations.
Solutions are useful to the extent they are practical. At the end of the meeting, create a set of action points and a timeline to keep track of improvement. Having a clear roadmap would motivate employees to continuously improve their performance.
Apart from taking notes during the 1:1 meeting, it is useful to keep a history of all previous 1:1 conversations in one place that gives you a better contextual understanding of an employee’s problems at a later time. SuperBeings automatically saves all 1:1 meetings history without any additional effort from your side.
1:1 meetings are undoubtedly the best way to receive regular feedback from employees and drive continuous conversation between team members and leaders. As a manager, 1:1 conversations are your most powerful tool to develop a team of high performing individuals.
Using tools like SuperBeings can help you plan your meetings in advance, provide AI driven recommendations if you need help with specific problems, and suggest several 1:1 meeting templates to guide the conversation. It also keeps a conversation history for your future reference.
In conclusion, whether you decide to use a specific tool to guide your 1:1 meetings or plan to do it yourself, approach all of your 1:1 conversations with your teammates with a compassionate and solution-oriented mindset. This would make you the leader your team members aspire to be.
Conduct Effective 1:1 Meetings with Your Team
Top 50 1:1 Meeting Questions for Great Managers
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‘Onboarding: How to get your new employees up to speed in half the time’ - George Bradt, founder and Chairman PrimeGenesis
Did you know that a strong onboarding process improves new hire retention by 82% and productivity by over 70%?
However, only 12% of employees strongly agree their organization does a great job at onboarding new employees.
This clearly states that while employee onboarding has a direct impact on the bottom line, most organizations miss out on how to get it right.
Don’t let that happen to you. To onboard new employees like a pro, keep reading.
By definition, an onboarding survey is a questionnaire that is administered on new hires to gauge their initial experience and level of satisfaction, in an attempt to understand their engagement and retention potential.
As an HR, you can get multiple insights from an onboarding survey, including:
It can help you estimate how long the employees are likely to stay and how you can further optimize your onboarding process to make it more aligned with employee expectations.
An effective onboarding survey can help you reflect on your performance through the onboarding process, which directly impacts KPIs for organizational success, including:
93% of employers believe a good onboarding experience is critical in influencing a new employee’s decision whether to stay with the company. At the same time, 25% of a company’s new hires would leave within a year if the onboarding experience was poor.
20% of new hires are unlikely to recommend an employer to a friend or family member and an onboarding survey can help you identify the reasons for the same. However, new team members who were asked to provide feedback prior to their start date also had a 79% increase in willingness to refer others. Thus, illustrating how onboarding surveys and feedback can impact eNPS.
Read: How to use eNPS for better employee engagement
Employees with exceptional onboarding experiences are 2.6x more likely to be extremely satisfied with their workplace and 70% say they have ‘the best possible job’.
77% of employees who went through a formal onboarding process were able to meet their first performance goals. However, 49% of individuals who failed to reach their first performance milestone had no official onboarding instruction. An onboarding survey can help you determine the effectiveness of your onboarding process.
In addition, your new employees might also have an inclination towards providing feedback as a part of the onboarding survey, which you will lose out if you don’t conduct the same. Research shows that only 26% of new employees recall being asked for feedback on their candidate journey and the hiring process before their start date wherein 91% of new hires are willing to provide this feedback.
Now that you understand the importance of an employee onboarding survey, let’s quickly discuss how to effectively run an onboarding survey.
You must coincide your employee onboarding survey with important milestones for the new employee in the organization. Mostly, these milestones coincide with the end of the first few months. Thus, you should circulate your onboarding survey after 30, 60 and 90 days respectively, with different objectives for each. Furthermore, you can send interim surveys in case you feel the need, for instance, when the employee starts a project, or when the orientation process is over.
“Effective employee onboarding isn’t about swag, stickers, & company value pamphlets on their desk the 1st day. But, how you help them understand their goals & how co values are interwoven in operating are more important.”- Suhail Doshi, founder and chairman of Mixpanel, Inc.
Based on the milestones or cadence you have set up, it is important to identify areas you would want to cover with each milestone. For instance:
In the first 30 days, you should focus on themes like:
In 60 days, you can touch on themes like:
By the end of 90 days, focus should shift towards:
Once you have decided the themes, you can start building questions, a snapshot of which is covered in the next section or you can download the template now here. The themes can be fluid across milestones, depending on the context for your organization.
Once the milestone arrives, you should roll out the onboarding survey and drive participation. It is important to explain to your new employees why the onboarding survey is important and how they can fill it up. Give them the requisite time, deadlines and communicate what will be the next steps to encourage them to participate.
Simply rolling out the survey is not enough. You must reach out to your new employees to remind them to fill the onboarding survey as amidst numerous new things, they might lose track of it. Don’t push too hard, yet send subtle reminders to get genuine responses. For instance: employee survey tools such as SuperBeings integrate with chat tools like Slack, Teams, Gchat to send personalized nudges to fill out the survey in the flow of work at set intervals as well as allows them to participate directly without switching context.
Unlock a wide array of survey questions and employee analytics. See how SuperBeings can help
Once your onboarding survey responses are in, slice and dice them to get insights into what your employees feel and leverage the data points to further refine your onboarding process to facilitate engagement, retention and advocacy from the beginning.
Taking cue from the section above, here are 50+ onboarding survey questions that you can leverage to gauge the pulse of your new employees as they complete different milestones.
You can also download these questions as a template and use it whenever you need. Click here to download
By now, it would be very clear to you that an employee onboarding survey can help you in multiple ways to create a high performance culture. It can enable you to augment retention, engagement, satisfaction and advocacy among employees to ensure that there is minimal turnover and you are able to attract high quality talent. Ensure that you roll out an onboarding survey at 30/60/90 days frequency to check onboarding experience, knowledge transfer, manager support, role clarity, etc.
You should focus on other forms of employee feedback on culture, training and development opportunities, level of engagement, manager effectiveness, workplace collaboration, work-life balance, among others.
Finally, you should focus on leveraging technology and automation to add efficiency and effectiveness to your onboarding survey and process.
Research shows, automating onboarding tasks resulted in a 16% increase in retention rates for new hires.
Thus, consider partnering with a survey platform which enables you to:
How to use employee engagement survey comments
When it comes to performance management for employees, you would agree that feedback plays an important role. However, only offering positive feedback and appreciating the performance of your employees is not enough. You need to give them an equal amount of constructive feedback which is specific to ensure high levels of performance. If you feel that your employees may not embrace constructive feedback, think again.
Research shows that 92% of people believe that constructive feedback is effective at improving performance.
In this article we will help you understand how you can give constructive feedback and examples you can leverage.
Constructive feedback is essentially a tool that most forward looking professionals leverage to help others in their team with specific and constructive inputs on areas where one’s performance can be improved. Put simply, if you have an employee who doesn’t pay attention to detail, constructive feedback involves helping them acknowledge that this is a problem area, and more than that, enabling them with the support to overcome the same. It involves not only identifying a performance problem, but also, providing action items and ways to address the same.
Now that you have an understanding of what constructive feedback means, let’s quickly look at some of the top reasons why constructive feedback is important. Constructive feedback:
When delivering feedback, you must understand the difference between positive and constructive feedback and ensure that you use both of them where they fit the best. Here a quick distinction between positive feedback vs constructive feedback:
In a nutshell, positive feedback is a reinforcement tool, whereas constructive feedback is a mechanism to facilitate development.
With an understanding of the fundamentals of constructive feedback, let’s quickly jump to the best practices which can help you deliver constructive feedback in a nuanced and effective manner.
The first thing you need to focus on is ensuring that the timing of the constructive feedback is ideal. For instance, a busy period when the employee is putting in a lot of effort may not be ideal for giving them feedback about their performance from three months ago. At the same time, ensure that you provide constructive feedback regularly and consistently, to avoid recency or primacy bias. However, don’t offer feedback when you are angry about their performance either.
Before you get down to giving the feedback, set the tone. Share with the employee the purpose of the meeting and make them comfortable prior to sharing your reflections. It is important that you build trust so your employees can share their perspective and don’t feel intimidated by what you have to say.
Once the context and tone is set, start sharing your reflections. Your focus should be on sharing what you have observed about their performance. However, ensure that you also share how the same is likely to impact their career growth as well as organizational success. For instance, if you are providing constructive feedback about missing deadlines, you can use the impact of losing clients for the organization and a casual attitude marker for the employee.
When sharing reflections, use specific examples of when you noticed a particular behavior. For instance, in the above example, you can share instances of when the employee missed his/her deadlines. Ensure that you use examples which illustrate a pattern, rather than a one off incident, which is very uncommon. Furthermore, always use concrete examples and not interpretation of what you hear or see.
With constructive feedback, your focus should be on helping the employee improve their performance and work on their areas of development.
However, simply pointing out their weaknesses or negatives in their performance will not help. You need to also talk about some of the positive aspects of their performance and how those qualities can help them absorb and implement their constructive feedback.
Emotional intelligence is extremely important when delivering constructive feedback. You cannot be apathetic towards your employee when delivering the same. Put yourself in their shoes to choose your phrases carefully. We will share some examples in the next section. Also, use your EQ to read the situation when you are delivering the feedback. If you see that the employee is getting uncomfortable, take a pause and comfort them first. Read their gestures and body language to ensure that the employee is not feeling attacked.
Like it or not, constructive feedback involves pointing out one’s weaknesses and areas of improvement. However, you should refrain from equating the performance of the employee with his/her personality or whole self. For instance, if someone misses deadlines, encourage them to be more organized or prioritize important work, than labeling them as a procrastinator.
While you are delivering the constructive feedback, you have to make sure it is a dialogue.
The idea is to give the other person enough room to share their side of the story.
Try to understand whether or not they agree with your feedback and how they perceive the same. They may share the lack of support or resources, which have resulted in a weak performance. Be open to some reverse feedback as well. Again, your EQ must be at play here. If your employee has an outburst, or reacts negatively, you need to stay composed and calm them down.
Once you and your employee are aligned on the areas of improvement, the most important part of constructive feedback is to provide adequate solutions to address the performance challenges. Don’t give abstract or vague solutions like be punctual if the employee misses deadlines. Rather, give very specific and action oriented solutions which are directed towards a particular outcome. The idea is to collectively understand the cause of the weak area of performance and use concrete solutions to remedy the same.
Now that you have shared some potential solutions, you must revise the top action items with your employee to avoid any confusion. At the same time, you should focus on creating a time bound plan with key milestones to ensure that development is taking place. Summarize what was discussed and how you will proceed from there. Best is to set up a date to review the progress to ensure constructive feedback is paid heed to.
Read our article on Start Stop Continue Feedback to give action oriented feedback
Here are top 20 constructive feedback examples that you can use during your next conversation. To make your constructive feedback more effective, we have also illustrated examples of what you should steer away from.
I would really like to know how you have progressed on the tasks assigned to you last month. It would be ideal if you could share a progress update on what has been achieved with a small summary of challenges/ support needed at the end of every week to ensure everyone is on the same page.
You have not kept your team updated about your work, this is highly unprofessional.
I was going through the work you submitted last week and I can see you have put in a lot of effort. However, I could see that there were some small errors and inaccuracies in the report across multiple sections. I believe that if you proofread your work thoroughly before turning it in, it will reduce the number of iterations and improve your quality of work.
You seem completely distracted as you have been submitting flawed and below average work, this will not be tolerated.
I understand that you are working on multiple projects, however, you need to ensure that the most important projects are not overlooked and their timelines are not missed. Therefore, I would suggest you create a list of tasks you are working on and check with the respective reporting managers on the priority and set clear expectations to ensure that no deadlines are missed.
You have missed your deadline again, it seems like you are not serious about you work.
I see that you have been able to achieve only a part of the goals that you set out for this year. Maybe you were trying to spread yourself too thin. I would suggest you reduce the number of projects you are working on and ensure that the goals you set you are able to achieve. Furthermore, you must be vocal about the support or resources you need to achieve your goals.
Are you even serious about your work, your level of goal achievement indicates otherwise.
I see that you have been taking some time off lately, without any prior intimation. Let’s try to understand if there is a particular reason for the same. We can work on your schedule to make it more flexible.
You have been missing all meetings lately, this tardiness is not appreciated.
I see that you are excellent at execution of ideas. However, I believe that you need to focus more on coming up with solutions on your own. I would suggest participating more in the brainstorming sessions and coming up with solutions. Try to think on your own, before you reach out to others with the problem.
You lack any problem solving capabilities, and will be stuck to execution for the rest of your career.
Constructive feedback is integral to organizational success. Here are a few things to keep in mind:
50 top 360 degree feedback question examples
While performance management has been a key priority for organizations, for a long time, year end reviews were considered to be the most effective way to facilitate the same. However, recently organizations are observing a shift towards continuous performance management with an introduction of the performance management cycle. This article will focus on different aspects of the performance management cycle and how it enables unlocking the potential of high performance teams.
Before going into the diverse aspects, you should first understand what a performance management cycle essentially is. If you have an idea of what continuous performance management is, you’re already a step ahead in the understanding. Performance management cycle primarily is a way or a model in which you evaluate or focus on the performance of your employees throughout the year. The idea is to break down the different elements of employee performance into different stages and focus on them consistently. It starts with setting goals and ends with rewards for a job well done, which leads to setting of new goals and the performance management cycle resets.
While you may want to divide your performance management cycle into any number of stages, mostly there are four stages.
The first stage, at the very beginning of the performance management cycle, focuses on creating a plan for the performance ahead. The idea is to have a clear understanding on what your employee must achieve and how you will eventually review and evaluate them. During the planning stage, you and your team member, collectively should:
Thus, the planning stage of the performance management cycle sets the tone for the year ahead and ensures there is clarity at all levels.
Once the goals have been set in the planning stage, you enter the monitoring stage of the performance management cycle. This stage essentially focuses on ensuring that things are moving as planned. The idea is to ascertain that your team members are more or less on track for specific milestones outlined as a part of goal setting. Additionally, this stage will help you address any performance challenges that you may observe, sooner than later. Monitoring stage includes:
The monitoring stage essentially focuses on tracking the performance of your employees against the set goals to provide constructive feedback and help them perform better.
The third stage of the performance management cycle comes into existence towards the end. It involves reviewing the performance and providing ratings based on the established KPIs and metrics. While this is the formal review process, if you have been constantly monitoring the performance of your employees, this will essentially be a consolidation of all the reviews and feedback shared overtime. While delivering performance reviews, ensure that you:
Since you have been connecting regularly with your employees, the reviews will not come as a surprise to them, but will help you monitor the trends of their performance and guide the next stage for the employee’s professional growth.
Finally, the rewarding stage in the performance management cycle acts as a culmination to one cycle and sets stage for the commencement of the next. The objective is to take into account their performance over the performance management cycle and create a culture of rewards and recognition to celebrate and appreciate high performance. Some of the quick ways to reward your employees include, giving them:
This stage is important to make your employees feel valued and motivate them to keep the performance going. It will also push average performers to step up their efforts and enable you to create a high performance culture.
Now that you understand the various stages of a performance management cycle, let’s quickly look at why the performance management cycle is important for your organization. It will help you:
In addition to the above mentioned benefits, a performance management cycle can help you build a high performance culture in a number of ways. Some of the top aspects include:
What constitutes high performance can be abstract. For some, closing 5 deals can be high performance, for others, it might be closing 15. Planning stage in the performance management lifecycle will help your employees understand what constitutes high performance and thus, proceed towards it.
A key part of the performance management cycle is the rewards and recognition. When employees feel their performance is being valued and recognized, they tend to double up their efforts, leading to a high performance team.
Monitoring and tracking followed by 1-o-1 conversations can help you communicate with your employees regularly. Not only will you track their performance, but will also listen to their concerns or challenges and offer them feedback. Such conversations and feedback have a positive impact on performance, leading to a high performance culture.
One of the foundations of high performance is enabling your team members to undergo the right training. Performance management cycle can help you understand which training is important for your employees at which performance stage, realizing high quality results.
As a manager, there are several ways in which you can unlock the true potential of a performance management cycle. You are one of the key stakeholders who plays an important role in every stage of the cycle. Here are a few tips that can help you augment the effectiveness of the performance management cycle:
A performance management tool can significantly help you streamline your performance management cycle by offering the following benefits.
Get automated performance snapshots of your employee’s performance over the 9 box grid to track performance trends over time and provide reviews without recency bias.
Leverage guided templates with AI based suggestions for your 1:1 conversations with employees during the monitoring stage based on performance over time. Receive suggested talking points for goal-centered conversations.
Look at historic feedback to see improvement in performance and compare performance over time. You can also compare performance of peers over specific parameters.
How to create a high performance culture using OKRs
7 steps to effective performance management system