15 things to keep in mind to ace your skip level one on one meetings

Individual Contributor (Employee) – Manager – CEO

A skip level meeting is when you skip this middleman (manager) and directly engage with your employees to communicate with them, get their feedback, jot their concerns and work towards them. You want to identify yourself as a person who is on their team, not on the managers. For this, an effective form of communication is a one-on-one meeting with individual contributors to pay heed to their issues and build a rapport with them.

Confused about how to go about with it? Here is a checklist you can follow before kickstarting your meetings to ensure you include all that you need. If you want to know what’s happening in your company, build trust, create a better communication architecture, learn where there is dysfunction, gain crucial feedback, and know the situation of the frontline workers you are levels away from, then this is the checklist for you.

  • Formulate a list of all your employees- Don’t miss anyone
  • Inform your managers of your plan
  • Shoot emails to your managers for the same
  • Frame your emails as a net positive and clearly state your intentions
  • Inform all the employees
  • Set expectations for the employees from the meeting
  • Send emails to employees
  • Schedule the meetings in a manageable way
  • Draft a list of questions before heading for the meeting
  • Reserve a certain number of hours each week for the meetings after referring your schedule
  • Skip talking about the current work status
  • Let the employee drive the agenda
  • Allow the employee to ask all his questions and be vocal with his concerns
  • Keep the meeting short yet informative

Ask about their personal opinions about the company and their managers. For example:

    • Where do you think there is a vacuum in certain areas within the organization?
    • Which decisions taken by the organization/the direction it headed in disappointed you?
    • What rumors are circulating in the company that you think I should know?
    • What do you think about your manager?
    • What’s the best part about your manager?
    • What do you think he/she should change doing?
    • If you were managing the team, what would you do differently?
    • If you were the CEO, what’s the first thing you’d change?
    • Is your job what you expected it to be when you joined? What are the differences you witnessed?
    • Are you happy in your role? What can make it better?
    • What have you been most proud of at work during this week/month?
    • What’s one thing you would suggest to improve our workplace culture?