July 5, 2022
15 min read

How to Create one-on-one Meeting Template (with examples)

Do you want to know how to run an effective one-on-one meeting and build trust and engagement? Here are the guidelines you've been looking for.

Content

  1. The art of successful one-on-one meetings
  2. What is the purpose of one on one meetings?
  3. How often should you have one on one meetings?
  4. Where should your one on one meeting take place?
  5. Key things to follow for a successful one on one meeting
  6. What are the benefits of one on one meetings?
  7. What is a one on one meeting template?
  8. Conclusion 

The art of successful one-on-one meetings

One of the most important meetings to have with your employees, the one on one meetings (also known as one-on-one meetings, 1-on-1s, one to ones, and 1-2-1s) come with a lot of responsibility. This is your opportunity as a leader  to talk about your employees' job satisfaction in their day to day work. It's also an excellent chance to build trust, ensure your employees feel valued and improve team culture

But, do things always work as planned? Unfortunately, they don't. 

According to Margaret Moore, co-author of Organize Your Emotions, Optimize Your Life and CEO of Wellcoaches Corporation, one-on-one meetings "require real cognitive agility" because you have to motivate your colleagues to grow. Plus, it is also a chance to "step back, remember the organizational mandate, and think about how best you can work side-by-side with this person to get things done."

This article will provide you with the knowledge you need to structure and perform successful one-on-one meetings. We will discuss one on one meeting questions, strategies, frequency, dos and don'ts and share with you the one on one meeting template to use.

What is the purpose of one on one meetings?

One on one meetings play an important role in company success. They allow managers and employees to communicate openly and honestly, provide constructive feedback (to both sides), share ideas, and ask questions about work responsibilities or personal challenges when necessary.

In a 2019 survey State of One-on-ones Report, Hypercontext reports that managers' motifs for conducting one on ones are as follows:

  • 70.4% Problem-solving (To understand and eliminate obstacles)
  • 60.7% Pulse check (To understand how their employees feel)
  • 53.6% Status update (To see how specific projects are coming along)

How often should you have one on one meetings?

Seasoned leaders and great managers advise scheduling 30- to 60-minute meetings with your direct reports, ideally, every week or every two weeks.

Former CEO of Intel, Andy Grove, applies a different approach to one on one meetings. In his book High Output Management, Grove suggests every employee is different, and the frequency of your one on ones should depend on how much expertise and familiarity your direct reports have with the things they are working on.

In other words, it is up to the manager to assess the task-relevant maturity of each employee to establish how frequently the meetings should take place.A weekly one on one meeting is not necessary for everyone but may be necessary for your new team member or someone taking on a brand-new project. 

Where should your one on one meeting take place?

Although it may seem like an insignificant aspect of your one on one, the location of the meeting is important to consider. If possible, look to conduct the meeting at the employee's office or an area of your workspace they would feel comfortable at. 

Why stick to the office structure?

There are two major reasons why sticking to the office structure in one on one meetings is desirable:

  • Regardless of your meeting agenda, you can learn a lot by observing your employee in their working environment.
  • Holding the meeting in the employee's comfort zone may make them feel more relaxed and receptive to discussing whatever they've got going on.

Whether you are conducting a one on one meeting, a performance review, or just picking up your employee's brains about an ongoing project, ensure your employee's surroundings are their safe space.

Are you on a remote plan?

Working from home has many advantages, but it also has drawbacks, particularly for managers. Managing remote teams is a challenge for many managers, as evidenced by the findings of numerous studies.

One on one meetings are a must for remote workers because of the difficulties they face. To compensate for the distance, there must, however, be a system in place. 

After every meeting, managers and their subordinates should exchange meeting notes and agree to stay on the same page. 

Key things to follow for a successful one on one meeting

Having a regular one on one meeting with your team is one of the fundamental tenets of a great leader. However, if they lack planning and purpose, they'll usually feel like agony for the employee.

What seems to be the problem?

Most companies approach one on one meetings as mandatory actions rather than quality insights into their workforce's way of thinking, feeling, and taking action. Do things differently, and make every next meeting count with the following 10 tips:

#1 Plan talking points beforehand.

Have the topic and meeting questions ready. Avoid winging it. Write down your goals for the meeting or use a one on one meeting template for absolute efficiency. Communicate with your employee that they should come prepared as well.

Establish a schedule that works for both of you, and begin by asking the employee to provide their information first.

#2 Start by checking in.

How do you two feel right now? It might be a single word, a phrase, or an entire conversation. Your employee will say what they believe you want to hear if they don't feel protected. So, be the first to show them how you feel. Establish trust by being honest, vulnerable, and authentic about your emotions.

#3 Get personal.

Learn to treat your employees like people with lives outside of the workplace. Much of who they are and what they do outside of work influences how they are at work, so show interest in their lives. They should know you care. Sometimes, it helps to remove work from the discussion if you want to build stronger relationships.

#4 Talk about difficulties.

When an employee expresses worry, find out where they are having trouble. Pay attention to what they say and help them use their current challenges as a learning opportunity with more or less direction. Rather than telling them what to do, commit to working through the issue as a team.

#5 Make them a priority.

Let your staff member do the majority of the talking. Stay attentive and involved. Before providing your own comments or opinion, ask the employee for ideas on how they would resolve the problem.

Also, never check your emails or texts or answer other calls while the meeting is in progress. Ever. If there is a genuine emergency, other leaders will either find you or solve the problem themselves.

#6 Hold your employees accountable.

Establish clear expectations, and maintain constant follow-up. Don't hold off on giving them helpful criticism until their subsequent performance assessment.

Giving feedback quickly after the project they've done significantly influences performance development and overall motivation.

#7 Keep them in the loop.

It's essential to treat your employees like equals and include them in ongoing department projects they're included in. Employees like to feel "in the know", and, truthfully, that's the only way they can adequately contribute to whatever they are doing. The more engaged teams there are, the better the product is. 

#8 Celebrate triumphs.

Have numerous examples of things your employee did well, occasions when they have shown progress, and/or instances when they really made use of their strengths before you meet one-on-one. Boosting morale is as crucial as constructive criticism.

#9 Focus on the now.

Generally, the best way to go about your one-on-ones is to talk primarily about current and upcoming events and activities rather than former experiences. Learning from past mistakes is great, but there's no reason to dwell on them and bring them up in every one on one meeting. This will only make the employee feel bad.

#10 Ask them how you can help in your next conversation.

Asking your staff how you may assist them is a crucial component of being a good manager. Offer your involvement where they need it rather than assuming what they would like you to do. This approach will make everyone's job easier.

Every great one on one conversation starts with one thing - a mutual desire to participate in it. Create supportive team dynamics built on the employees' psychological safety and honest performance feedback to inspire openness within your staff.

A conversation focused on professional development without neglecting one's personal life is a conversation worth having.

Related:

Employee Satisfaction Survey Questions: How to Conduct and What to Ask? 

What questions to ask in a performance review 

What are the benefits of one on one meetings?

Like almost every meeting, this one may also seem time-consuming and unnecessary - especially if you are buried under a heavy workload with tight deadlines. However, a one on one meeting is a mutually-beneficial business setup both managers and employees can make the most out of.

For managers, one on one meetings can help:

  • Improve their leadership and coaching skills by actively adjusting their management style
  • Learn to listen prejudice or judgment-free actively, then provide enough feedback and council
  • Get to understand the employee's behavior/thought-process/actions through honest, isolated communication
  • Encourage employees to share their ideas and connect to the organization's purpose and mission
  • Find ways to support employee performance and career upgrade
  • Build trust long-term to solidify relationships and create safe workplace environment

For employees, one on one meetings are known to:

  • Give them an ideal environment to discuss challenges, plans, career development, etc.
  • Encourage them to exchange feedback with their superior, discover issues and address them proactively
  • Foster a positive work relationship with their superior 
  • Encourage their own critical thinking and sharing of ideas
  • Contribute to increased employee productivity
  • Help employees feel like a valued team member

Professionally conducted, one on ones look to lead to improved performance outcomes and satisfied personnel. 

What is a one on one meeting template?

One on one meeting templates are sets of questions that can help you plan your meetings and create a space for employee empowerment and coaching. Using the right template helps you improve team morale, increase productivity, and foster a feedback culture through one on one meetings focused on development and growth.

A one on one meeting template lets you:

  • Include the details of the discussions, questions, information, or feedback you want to have with each employee.
  • Maintain focus while ensuring that every interaction is customized to the individual you are speaking with.
  • Be consistent with your team as a whole.
  • Make sure you (and the other team leaders) are discussing the appropriate topics.

First one-on-one meeting with a new employee

The first 1:1 meeting will set the tone for your working relationship with your new report, making this time perfect for setting expectations and boundaries and generally covering more ground than you typically would. 

This initial conversation is even more critical if the new team member has just joined the team. After all, you'll need time to get acquainted before moving on to deeper topics of discussion later when things feel smoother between both parties involved. 

Template 

1. check in question - How are you? How are you feeling regarding work?

2. What do you expect from this role? 

3. What are your daily work habits? Do you prefer a dynamic/quiet environment? What helps you achieve deep focus?

4. How do you normally communicate with people? How comfortable are you with Slack, email, Zoom, Google Meet?

5. How do you prefer to get feedback?

6. Are there some common workplace habits that bother you a lot? 

7. What stimulates you to work harder and commit to a role? 

8. What are your expectations regarding work-life balance?

Weekly one-on-one meeting template

These meetings are weekly updates between the manager and the employee. Their purpose is to see how things are going and if the employee needs support with anything from the ongoing projects to the team dynamic. They don't necessarily have to tackle the big stuff, but they can if needed.

1. How have you been feeling in the past week? 

2. Are there any pressing issues at work that you want to discuss? 

3. How would you rate your productiveness in the past week? 

4. Did you manage to meet all of your KPIs? If not, how do you think this can be improved? Is there anything you need from the rest of the team/management? 

5. Did you have any important observations about the work process? 

6. What are your goals for the upcoming week? 

7. What kind of support do you need at the moment?

Monthly one-on-one meeting template

Depending on the company structure, the employees must outline their development goals for the next 3 to 6 months. The purpose of goal-setting is to help employees drive their career progression.

As a manager, you are an integral part of this process, as you are helping your subordinates approach these goals realistically and, consequently, accomplish them. However, you also need to follow the progress and waiting for 3-6 months can be a very long period. That’s why you need to have monthly check-in meetings and address issues as they come up.

1. How did you feel at work in the past month? 

2. How would you evaluate your performance? Can you explain the reasons behind your rating?

3. Do you feel you managed to meet the monthly goal?

4. Did you feel overwhelmed with work? On the other hand, did you feel you could have taken more responsibilities? 

5. Do you need any additional tools to help you optimize the work process? 

6. How would you rate your communication and collaboration with employees and managers in the past month? 

7. Did you learn new things? If so - do you feel this helped you grow professionally?

Remote one-on-one meeting template

Remote one-on-ones are necessary to check how employees are performing and whether they need additional support. Remote settings can sometimes be quite isolating which is why regular communication with employees must be a top-priority. This is particularly important if you have flexible work hours. Unless you schedule a meeting with employees, you risk losing communication with them and missing out on potential challenges in work. 

1. How have you been lately?

2. How do you feel about work? Is there anything pressing you? 

3. Are you having issues with any of the tools? 

4. How is your communication with colleagues and managers? Does it need to be improved?

5. Do you feel motivated? Are you experiencing any challenges with maintaining productivity?

6. Is it difficult to meet KPIs? How could we optimize your work process?

7. What kind of support do you need?

Performance review one-on-one meeting template

Most companies hold performance reviews twice a year. This is when managers provide a more formal overview of their employee's engagement and performance in the previous period. It is also when they help them understand how to improve, which tasks need to be handled differently, projects to jump on, etc. You can achieve best results if you hold a one on one meeting with an employee and discuss these topics in person. This way, you allow people to share their own feedback so you can both learn from it. 

1. How satisfied are you with your work?

2. How would you rate your performance on a scale from 1 to 10? Could you explain your reasoning?

3. Can you share some of the highlights and challenges you had in the previous period (specify based on the frequency of performance reviews).

4. Did you get enough feedback and support from managers?

5. Did you have all of the tools you needed? 

6. What are some of the areas you'd like to improve in the next period? 

7. What are best practices you'd like to keep?

Salary review meeting template 

Every company has a different salary-bonus structure; typically, the reviews are done once in a year. Whether or not your employee is getting a raise, you need to have a one on one meeting with them and inform them of it. The suitable salary review meeting template could save you a lot of trouble and land you both on the same page. 

1. Review the company's financial policy 

2. How satisfied are you with your current salary?  

3. What are your financial expectations? 

4. Do you feel the company’s bonus/rewarding policy is stimulating enough? 

5. How often do you expect to discuss salary with your managers? 

6. What professional experience are you most proud of for the past year?

7. What do you consider your greatest professional failure last year?

8. What are your professional goals for the upcoming year?

Conclusion 

To wrap up - it’s evident that regular one on one meetings can help you build relationships and address specific issues on time. To make the most out of the process, you need to ask the right questions and this is where a one on one meeting template can help you. Check out some of the Effy’s free templates to help you get the most out of your meetings! 

Pictures - freepik

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