How To Prepare for a One-on-One Meeting With Your Staff

Managers are the single most important benefit any company can offer their employees. When employees and managers communicate frequently and continuously share feedback (both ways), they’re more likely to be engaged in the workplace. The most powerful way managers can engage their employees and share feedback? Start by mastering the one-on-one meeting.

Here’s how to make the most of this time so you get what you need to get ahead.
  1. Set an Agenda. The most productive one-on-ones have some kind of structure, which requires you to do some prep beforehand. …
  2. Share Important Updates (But Keep Them Quick) …
  3. Ask a Lot of Questions. …
  4. Make Commitments Out Loud. …
  5. Discuss the Long Term.

6 Tips for Productive 1:1 Meetings with Your Manager

Why are one-on-one meetings important?

One-on-one meetings are important for providing an opportunity to increase employee productivity and improve team building. Here are a few other reasons one-on-one meetings may be important for your team:

How to prepare for a one-on-one meeting

Here are some ways you can prepare for a one-on-one meeting with your employees:

1. Set the meeting agenda ahead of time

Consider creating an agenda before the meeting to ensure that the session will be productive. Its important for both parties to know what the key points will be so that theres no confusion. You can prepare the agenda and consider emailing it to the employee ahead of time. Ask the employee to identify any additional items on the agenda for discussion and if there are questions about what to expect.

2. Make sure you have a private environment

Consider creating a safe, private meeting place for yourself and your employee. You may need to reserve a conference room, if you dont have a private office and depending on your companys available space.

3. Prepare an overview of what you will say

You can clarify the goal of the meeting and brainstorm topics ahead of time, as well as prepare a list of questions to ask your employee. Here are a few questions to consider asking to facilitate the discussion:

4. Gather necessary materials for the meeting

You can prepare prior examples of an employees work so you have references to discuss during the meeting. It may also be necessary to contact human resources to verify employee evaluations or attendance records. A copy of the employees job description might be helpful to have as well to verify that the employee is aware of their responsibilities.

5. Start the meeting with a brief check-in

You can begin the one-on-one meeting by asking your employee how they are doing and if theres anything you can do to support them. Consider asking them about project statuses and clarify any expectations. You can let your employee know they can trust you, and that youre ready to help them succeed.

6. Celebrate any workplace wins

Recognize and celebrate any tasks your employee has completed successfully. Let them know you notice their hard work and provide an opportunity for them to share any feedback. Consider setting a goal for their next win and ask if theres anything you can do to help them reach it.

7. Take notes to track feedback

Its important to take notes during the meeting so that you can create a recap and track employee feedback accurately. Taking notes will show your employee that you care about their performance and are listening to them. You can take notes on a computer during the meeting or have a notebook with you.

8. Maintain an encouraging tone

Remember to keep your tone positive and encouraging. Consider allowing your employee to express themselves fully before you speak. You can relate to your employee by including your own personal experiences to show that you understand what its like being in their position.

9. Close with a summary of your discussion

At the end of the meeting, summarize the major points by referencing your notes. Ask for any clarification on feedback discussed and provide a chance for any last-minute comments. You may also verify with your employee that you accurately documented the main ideas of the meeting.

10. Create an action plan with follow-up steps

After a meeting, its important to have an action plan that includes what should happen next. The action plan may include a short recap of what you discussed during the meeting, along with topics to address in the next one-on-one. To increase accountability, consider immediately scheduling the next one-on-one meeting so its on both your calendar and your employees.


What do you discuss in a first 1 1 meeting?

Focus on the employee and what they want to discuss

Ideally, these topics revolve around their happiness, productivity, career, team, and allow you to learn more about how they are feeling. These meetings should not be a status report or project management focused where you get an update on all things work-related.

How do you structure a 1 1 meeting?

What to Expect In Your First One on One Meeting with an Employee
  • They are different than any other meeting.
  • You will learn important things you won’t hear any other way.
  • You both should bring things to talk about.
  • They may be a little awkward at first.
  • They’ll evolve over time as your career changes and your team grows too.

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