The first step is to schedule a meeting with each of your direct reports. For the sake of consistency, you may find it useful to meet at the same time each week.
We recommend putting aside 30 minutes to one hour for each 1:1 meeting. If there aren’t many points to talk about that week and your employee has a lot of work, you could potentially shorten the meeting time. However, it’s better to shorten the meeting than to skip it — try not to cancel or reschedule unless it’s absolutely necessary.
Before you arrive at the meeting, create an organized agenda to help you plan your time. The agenda is an essential tool to make sure the meeting stays on-topic and all relevant points are addressed.
Your agenda should include talking points to discuss during your meeting. You might also want to privately note down some useful questions to ask your employee. For example, you could try asking, “How do you feel when you come into work each day?”, or “Is there anything I can do that would make your work easier or more efficient?”
Both manager and employee should be involved in creating the agenda.
Shortly before the meeting, both you and your employee should ideally take a few minutes to review the meeting agenda. This will serve as a quick reminder of what’s to come, and will give you some time to think about what needs to be discussed.
Arrive at the 1:1 meeting prepared to discuss your selected topics. The meeting should be focused on your direct report’s areas of concern, so let them lead the discussion.
Not sure what to talk about? Here are some areas you could focus on:
There’s always a chance that unexpected subjects will come up during your discussion. Don’t worry if you don’t stick precisely to the meeting agenda, although you should try your best to keep the meeting focused.
1:1 meetings shouldn’t be used for just sharing status updates — try to save your valuable meeting time for topics that truly require in-depth discussion. This might mean solving a thorny problem, talking about sensitive interpersonal issues within the team, or giving your employee the opportunity to share struggles, ask for help, or request extra time.
We recommend taking notes during your meeting, so you can keep track of what was discussed.
Once the meeting is over, make sure your direct report leaves with a set of goals and action items for the week. They should now have a clear idea of your expectations, and how any problems they brought up during the meeting will be addressed. In addition to sharing action items, you’ll also want to make sure both parties have access to the meeting notes.
Few ideas of relevant questions you can use in your 1:1 meetings:
1:1 meetings are most useful when they’re held consistently. Be sure to make time for a meeting every week, even if you’re busy or feel like there’s not much to talk about that week. Your employees might have concerns they haven’t told you about yet.
At the beginning of each meeting, don’t forget to follow up on the action items you discussed the previous week.
For managers, we provide guidelines on how to lead an effective 1:1 meeting.