One-on-one meetings are conversations between two individuals, usually a manager and their team members, to discuss important topics in their working life on a regular basis.
One-on-ones are so common in the workplace that, when implemented correctly, can provide valuable insight to help both the manager and employee make more informed decisions and improve their work.
You may know that 1:1 meetings are necessary but don’t actually know why. Below, we share the benefits of one-on-one meetings and what you can do to get the most out of your next meeting.
There’s a reason why 38% of employers and managers meet weekly, and 19% meet at least once a month: one-on-one meetings are an incredibly important component to the success of the employee, the manager, and the company.
Check out the following 9 one-on-one benefits below to discover just how important these meetings are.
The relationship an employee has with their manager plays a significant role in how engaged they are at work, their productivity levels, and overall enjoyment of their job.
One of the key ways to boost a healthy employee-manager relationship is through effective communication, which can be achieved by having regular conversations. One-on-one meetings provide a dedicated space where the manager and employee connect on a personal level, so make sure both sides are honest and speak your minds.
According to a study, “Behaviors related to communication and performance management are strongly linked to employee engagement.”
One-on-ones can be used to practice regular communication and performance reviews, where the manager can go over their employee’s performance and figure out how to help; all these, in turn, improve employee engagement and productivity.
There are many different kinds of questions you can ask based on how well the employee is doing. A few questions to consider include the following:
What accomplishments are you most proud of since our last meeting?
What goals did you meet, or which ones fell short?
How can I help you better meet your goals?
For more performance review questions, check out this guide.
When given constructively, feedback can help employees get the answers and guidance they need to do their job efficiently. Unfortunately, 1 in 5 employees is unsatisfied with how often they receive feedback from their manager.
To help employees feel more engaged, supported, and empowered, managers should set time aside during their one-on-ones specifically for receiving and giving feedback. And it’s important to maintain a constructive and open discussion, never an argument.
Part of a manager’s job is to guide their team towards a shared goal within the company.
During one-on-one meetings, managers have an opportunity to share the company goals and vision, which can help the employee understand the value of their work and feel more connected. In turn, they’re more likely to care about the success of the company and want to play a part in its success.
Team morale is important because it contributes to everything from job satisfaction, employee retention, overall productivity, and ultimately, company success. One-on-one meetings provide managers with time to do that. While going over the employee's work, remember to tell them what a great job they’re doing. Of course, it doesn’t hurt to show recognition in other ways as well, such as providing lunch, coffee, or other treats from time to time.
When an employee is praised for a job well done, they feel more at ease and confident in their work; this positive attitude can impact the overall team and create a more upbeat work environment.
Being left in the dark, especially at work in matters that pertain to you, is not a good feeling. Ensuring employees are well informed on what’s going on in the company and the team - including new processes, structural changes, and future projects - will help them feel more involved and happier in their work. This is especially important when working remotely since there are fewer opportunities to bring things up casually in passing.
Also, allow the employee to request a one-on-one with the leader when the need arises.
To ensure candid communication, create a safe space where both manager and employee can speak with ease; this is why it’s preferable to conduct one-on-ones in a closed office or at a coffeehouse.
1-on-1 meetings give employees an opportunity to discuss any issues or conflicts they are experiencing. This is essential because when left unresolved, conflicts tend to grow.
While having a one-on-one conversation with an employee, ensure to include dedicated time to share roadblocks in each one-on-one meeting agenda. That way, managers and employees can brainstorm solutions together.
Recognizing and rewarding employees is one of the best ways to improve engagement, productivity, and morale. In fact, a recent survey found that 37% of employees said personal recognition would encourage them to produce better work more often.
One-on-ones are the perfect time to let employees know they’ve done a good job and their work is appreciated.
Employee training research shows that 76% of employees want opportunities to expand their careers. And managers are in a unique position to support employees in their career development.
In addition to supporting employees in their current roles, one-on-ones can be used to provide mentorship and guidance. Managers’ experience and connections can be leveraged to help employees reach their career goals even beyond the organization. One way to do this is to simply ask the employee what their career developments are and how they, as the manager, can help them succeed.
Now that you’re aware of the many benefits one-on-ones provide to both managers and employees, it’s time to discover how to make the most of them.
To make the most out of your one-on-ones, it’s important to prepare ahead of time.
Set your intentions: Setting a meeting objective will help you define what the meeting will be about and what you’re hoping to achieve. When setting your intentions, consider what you hope to gain from the meeting and make it clear to all participants.
Prepare a meeting agenda: Using a meeting agenda is an excellent way to ensure your meeting covers everything you want to discuss. Remember, one-on-ones are for both the employee and the manager, which is why a collaborative meeting agenda is necessary. To achieve this, you can use a meeting agenda tool, which enables team members to collaboratively develop a meeting agenda and share it in advance to keep everyone on the same page.
Create a list of questions: Consider what it is you want to discuss and prepare a list of one-on-one meeting questions ahead of time. This way, you won’t forget anything important or get stuck.
Once the meeting begins, you should make sure all distractions have been removed and that you’re giving your full attention.
Additionally, there are a few more things you can do to have effective one-on-one meetings.
Friendly introduction: You should always start every one-on-one with a friendly chat before diving into work topics. As much as these meetings are about work, they’re also meant to foster the manager-employee relationship.
Review action items from the previous meeting: The next thing you should do is go over the action items from the previous meeting and review your progress. This is a great time to go over any challenges you may have had as well as praise any wins.
Stick to the meeting agenda: Don’t forget to stick to the meeting agenda so you can stay on topic and on time. It can be easy to get off topic or forget exactly what you hoped to discuss, but that’s why you have a meeting agenda.
Take notes: Remember to bring something with you to take notes on, whether it’s your laptop or a notebook. This will help you keep track of what’s been discussed and can be a reference point. If you are holding an online meeting, we suggest using Airgram to create notes collaboratively on one notepad, share feedback, and create action items with due dates.
Ask questions: Remember to ask any questions that haven’t been answered throughout your conversation; this includes asking for feedback so you can leave the meeting confidently.
To get the most out of your one-on-ones, don’t skip this step.
Assess how the meeting went: Take a few minutes to reflect on how well the meeting went and consider how to improve the next one.
Share the meeting notes: To make sure both manager and employee are on the same page, meetings notes should be shared between the two and should include a summary of what was discussed and action items.
Take action: Make sure to go through the action items from the meeting and ensure they get completed on time.
There are so many benefits to having regular one-on-ones for both manager and employee. By following the above tips, you’ll soon see for yourself just how beneficial regular one-on-ones can be.
Cole is a freelance writer with over a decade of experience. With an educational background in journalism, public relations, and social media, she has a passion for storytelling and providing useful and engaging content.