Establishing a strong and positive organisational culture is crucial for the success and sustainability of your growing business. There are several aspects to creating your org culture, like articulating your mission, communicating your vision, defining your core values, leading by example (demonstrating the desired behaviours), etc. Some elements of culture can be deliberately established through repeated practice e.g. as a founder, you may consciously choose to talk about your vision at every opportunity. Other elements evolve from behaviours that establish themselves as the ‘unwritten rules’ (the way that things are done around here).

The speed of culture formation

Your culture is established quickly. So it’s essential to make sure that it’s the culture you want.

The early days of a business typically see a fluid approach to people management and culture forming. But sooner rather than later, discipline is needed and it’s way easier to establish this discipline whilst the organisation is relatively new. It also means that a core few can decide how one to ones should be run in terms of frequency, tone and content. These key people can model the style to their own direct reports who, in turn and in time, will cascade best practice to their direct reports. And thus the discipline gathers momentum.

In the early days, it’s also easy but dangerous to assume that everyone is on the same page. Typically entrepreneurs employ an initial team of like-minded individuals. Harmony reigns and the thinking is that an informal arrangement for checking performance and direction is a good thing.

But is it really? Just as diversity of thinking and healthy conflict are better for business in the long run, it’s also crucial to systematize people performance early on. People respond well to an established way of doing things. It helps manage their expectations, ensures they don’t get paralysed by uncertainty or don’t deviate off-track.

One key way to consciously shape your culture is by holding regular one to one meetings

However amazing the product or service offering that you’re launching, how you lead and manage your people is also core to your success. The most valuable practice that fosters communication, collaboration, professional development and relationship-building is the one to one meeting. Done well, one to ones are a microcosm of your organisation’s commitment to a culture of learning, caring and high performance.

The existence of regular one to ones signals discipline, mature business practice and modelling of best practice. In these meetings, you are able to establish confident communication, monitor performance (and correct it if necessary), set goals, talk about learning and development, check-in on wellbeing and track employee sentiment. 

The outcome of having quality one to one meetings

Stratton HR highly recommends the early establishment of one to ones as a key part of any organisation’s communication and performance management processes. They are a must-have for high-performing organisations and a simple way to begin to establish the culture you want. 

By encouraging them, your organisation will be:

  • Driving home the importance of two-way line-manager-direct-report communication and connection
  • Emphasizing the importance of KPIs and performance management
  • Establishing the importance of having a feedback culture
  • Inviting vital upwards feedback
  • Retaining talent more easily
  • Showing itself to be a listening and caring organisation
  • Making time for a focus on employee learning and development
  • Etc

If you’d like more information on one to one best practice, see other blogs in this series:

  • “Your one to one meetings as a retention strategy”
  • “How to run really effective one to one meetings”

For more information about the support that Stratton HR can provide your organisation, contact

Katie Demain
05th December 2023

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