A HAPPY hour is a regular one-hour appointment with each of your team members in which they set the agenda. It is one hour of undivided attention where you focus totally on their needs and development.

It can occur weekly — either face to face or in a teleconference. It involves you as the manager and your team member. The team member manages the whole happy hour. It is their time to use as they want — to cover their objectives and individual development needs.

To make this a productive happy hour, here are a few guidelines to assist you:

GADGETS OFF

Turn off mobile phones and other gizmos. Make this time free from interruptions from outside.

RIGHT AMBIENCE

Choose a conducive space. A closed room or a quiet café offers privacy and reduces the opportunity for distractions. It is good to get out of the office environment for a more relaxed and confidential meeting.

KEEP TIME

Stick to one hour to also allow you and your team member to keep other commitments.

MAKE IT A HABIT

Allocate the same time every week for your happy hour. A change in schedule must be agreed to by both parties. This will ensure consistency and also prevent team members from interrupting you throughout the week.

BE PREPARED

Your team member should have a prepared agenda (or list) he would like to cover. As the manager, this is not the time to dump work on him. This is his hour to talk with you. During the happy hour, both parties should be able to discuss all issues in an open and honest way.

MEASURE SUCCESS

Make sure all items on your team member’s list have been discussed. Ensure the problems have found solutions and that both of you are happy with the outcomes.

DISCUSS KPIs

To improve performance, discuss KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) and ways to achieve results. This can be a valuable way to build relationships within the team.

REAP THE BENEFITS

Happy hours can boost morale, open communication lines, create “warm and fuzzy” feelings in the office, improve sales performance, help balance team personalities and allow you to maintain contact with each team member.

By conducting a one-hour happy hour each week with your team you will ensure that each of their individual development needs are addressed, you will save yourself time as you won’t receive multiple interruptions during your working week and you will build a stronger relationship with each person. Introduce happy hours into your workplace today.