As a steward of the workplace environment, it’s critical to create a vibe that enables employees to do their best work and raise the bar on their performance to help the organization or team achieve its goals. Even if you have little control over the culture or climate of your organization as a whole, you can create a positive environment and foster employee engagement within your team. I like to call this creating a “Pocket of Excellence.”


One way to help create the Pocket of Excellence is through one-on-ones with employees. However, these sessions with employees need to have a focus and be guided by a clear purpose. There are four types of one-on-ones that you should be having with each team member:

  1. Career focus

Spend time inquiring into each employee’s career and professional development goals. Your objective is to help him or her have a thriving career. At least quarterly, review your employee’s plans to achieve her career and professional development goals.


  1. Work progress focus

This is perhaps one of the most important conversations you can have with your employees. It is human nature to want to see progress in the things we’re working on. It’s demotivating to not make progress in work. You should be discussing work progress with each employee monthly.


  1. Purpose focus

Spend time helping your employees discover their purpose. Your objective with this conversation is to help your employees have a more fulfilling work-life mix. At least four times a year have purpose-centered conversations with your employees.


  1. Values-alignment focus

Your employees need to know what they stand for. Help them more strongly integrate their values into their whole lives. At least four times a year have values-alignment conversations with your employees.


In this era where work environments lack the hooks to create employee engagement, stewards have an opportunity to make a difference: The difference can be made by creating a positive workplace environment—a Pocket of Excellence that others will want to emulate as they learn about the results you’re helping to cause.


To learn more about how to inspire your employees through one-on-ones, download Murphy’s TalentWeek article, “Creating a Positive Work Environment Through One-on-Ones.”


shawn murphy

Bio: Shawn Murphy is a thought leader and organizational development practitioner and the CEO and founder of Switch and Shift, an organization dedicated to the advancement of human-centered business models and practices. Pre-order his book  The Optimistic Workplace and follow him on Twitter at @TheShawnMurphy.