Bart Widlarz's Blog

1on1s part 2, Why run them?

March 05, 2019

Benefits for the company

There are a couple of undebatable benefits of conducting such meetings. The exact implementation varies depending on the company culture, and, more generally, company structure, but the general concept would be the same:

  • It does wonders for employee retention. This is because of higher job satisfaction and wiser application of employees’ skills
  • Better responsibilities assignment, which effectively influences productivity. Achieved by careful listening and skillful job delegation
  • A way to conduct a regular health check of the team members
  • A convenient way to instill a set of values which a company strives to commend

Wait, but how on earth are 1on1s supposed to help me with employee retention, work assignment and all the mentioned benefits that, pardon me, sound like a complete cliché? Keep reading.

Reasons for 1on1s

The whole idea of the 1on1 meetings is based on a couple of good practices in running an effective organization.


On the whole, everybody needs feedback to grow and improve, and your organization is not an exception — to improve the processes you want feedback too. Who can provide it? Those who experience inconvenience because their everyday tools and procedures don’t help them succeed. Those are obstacles on their way to succeeding, and the key here is to get that information from bottom to top and have those “process organizers” deal with them. The same is true of any kind of feedback you might get from them since the chances are you work among highly intelligent people and it would be a shame not to benefit from that.


Happy people work better

Does anybody dare to argue with that? If no, okay then let’s move forward.

Or, let’s spend a minute here. There is a good chance that most of you have generally worked with highly motivated self- starters who strive to achieve and improve: it’s pretty common and desired profile in a technology company. But let’s face the truth, everyone’s enthusiasm is bound to falter at some point, and, well, not everybody is so highly committed anyway. What then?

Well, the sooner a manager or a company gets to know about this issue, the better the situation can be handled. Not only will the employee be more satisfied, but also the brand of the company will get stronger on the labor market.

To acquire such information you need to first listen to what somebody has to say and even elicit a discussion that may potentially prompt them to reveal their true concerns and desires.


It’s not always possible to make people happy by doing what they want. On the contrary, it’s more common that leaders have to decide for them. It’s not uncommon that startup’s lack the resources to provide employees with whatever they want or whatever the labor market dictates. And even if you have enough resources you might end up with hires who are swayed by other incentives, and as soon as a more attractive benefit or financially-appealing job appears on the horizon, they will simply change their job, leaving you behind. Instead of motivating them you should try to inspire them.

So you may wonder how 1on1s might actually help here?

Well, it depends how creative you are since 1on1s are a great place to convey whatever message you would like to. While it might take a lot of courage to express your ideas in public you might find it more comfortable to do so in a face-to-face environment. Moreover, it’s applicable to employees as well: some of them would prefer to have a more in-depth discussion around some topics while others would prefer to skim through the topics and quickly get through a lot of them, rather than dig somewhat deeper. So even though you might have already announced something publicly to the company or team, you probably have just skimmed through the topics, slightly touching them but not getting into intricate details which part of the team might have expected.

To sum up, commitment is not something that you can buy - it’s something that you have to earn. The onus here is on the leader.

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Bart Widlarz

Written by Bart Widlarz who works remotely in software development as a developer and leader. CONTACT ME