I work at a start up, and we've just promoted a few interested and apt senior engineers into managerial roles. Additionally, we've gone on a bit of a hiring spree and need to start doing a better job at managing our people, because now we have actual people to manage.
One of the things the company would like to do is implement 1:1s – nothing unusual here: a direct report has a 1 on 1 with his/her manager at a periodic interval. I think this is an important component and am fully onboard with this. However, the kicker is that because of the recent promotions, management would like to start of doing 2 on 1s, where it's direct report, his/her manager, and the manager's manager ("MM"). This is the full hierarchy of the company for all intents and purposes. The theory is that with "MM" (who has been managing everyone for a while now), he can get a better idea of how the 1:1s are going and keep an initial eye out to see what's working/not-working/etc.
I'm in the middle here where I have direct reports, and I have a good rapport with them, and I do not necessarily like the fact that 1. 1:1's are becoming 2:1s, and 2. 2:1s are going to be fairly regimented in structure.
From an empathetic standpoint, if I were in the direct report's position, I would prefer to keep things more casual and not be in a 2-1 situation. I feel like I would close down and not give my actual feedback.
With all that said, it's very much my opinion and intuition that tells me this is strange approach, prone to yielding poor results. I don't have any empirical data on the subject, so it's hard for me to properly address the situation without any potential bias.
Does anyone have any research on this – is a 2:1 approach really not that bad? Are regimented 1:1s (or 2:1s) effective?