A former manager of mine that I bumped into during my days at ThoughtWorks taught me about "the bi-weekly catchup." I've found this to be an invaluable tool as an employee and as a manager, so I thought I would share how it works.
What it is?
The bi-weekly catchup is a 15 minute discussion in private between a manager and an employee.
What is the purpose?
The goal is to foster open, early and honest communication for everyone involved.
From the employee's perspective, it is a time to bring up any and all concerns about the team, give suggestions about how things are going, ask questions, and give feedback to the manager.
From the manager's perspective, it is a time to make sure everyone is happy, up to speed with everything going on, and to address any concerns.
Why every two weeks?
In my experience every two weeks is the perfect amount of time between these brief meetings. My work environment fast-paced, so every two weeks is a discrete enough time period to identify relevant changes in the business landscape or team dynamic worth discussing. In the extreme, the meetings would occur only on demand or during some other purpose such as a performance review. By then, any problem will have escalated in severity, and any good news will have been taken for granted. These situations are less than ideal and won't occur if the communication session is held regularly.