At the heart of any successful business is a clear and strong understanding of the importance of communication.
One-on-one meetings between managers and their employees have always been an important part of working in a team. They help to align expectations and develop and keep a strong, open line of communication.
But with remote and hybrid workplaces becoming more and more commonplace, there are far fewer face-to-face interactions. This has made these meetings all the more crucial. While one-on-one meetings are arguably best held in person, they can still be meaningful and effective when done via videoconferencing.
A one-on-one meeting provides a unique opportunity for private discussions that may not happen otherwise. Done properly, they can enable vital information to be shared, as well as help build relationships.
A meeting between a manager and an employee doesn’t just focus on empowering the employee—it also allows for manager empowerment. Building a culture of mutual feedback allows employees to be heard and respected and gives them room to grow. But it also allows managers to receive constructive criticism so that they can further improve their management skills.
It’s also important to note that these meetings aren’t just about what your employees can do better for the company, but also what you can do better for them. Taking the time to make sure that your employees are in a good state of mind and body is vital.
There are a huge range of issues that you can go over with your employees. But each issue deserves its own space and consideration—a one-on-one meeting should never try and bundle every issue together.
A good way to approach one-on-one meetings is to divide them by type—each meeting putting emphasis on a different area, with each one being just as important as the last.
With this in mind, we’ve put together five different example templates that cover various types of one-on-one conversation topics.
The five different types of one-on-ones that we have put together for you to focus on are:
- Career and growth development
- Regular check-ins
- Goal setting
- Year-end performance review
These templates have been designed to be flexible, actionable, and easily edited. Meaning you can use them for a variety of things—whether that’s printing them out directly as a training aid for your managers, or simply using them as a baseline to design your own templates for your company.
HR professionals can utilize these templates so that their teams can have better, more effective check-ins and more meaningful conversations.
One-on-one meetings templates
Career and growth development
Your employee’s growth and development is a key aspect of making sure they are in a happy and healthy state of mind—and being able to look towards and make plans for the future is an important part of that.
Encouraging growth and setting goals allows employees to understand their place in the company and what they should be aiming for. It allows them to feel as if they are being listened to, considered, and cared for in the long term—in addition to helping them grow in their careers.
This template aims to help bring clarity to your employee’s career and growth development. By the end of this meeting, you should have a clear understanding of what your employee wants, and how you can help facilitate them.
- When you think about yourself in 1-2 years’ time, what comes to mind?
- What do you enjoy most and least about your job?
- Where do you feel that your strengths lie?
- How can we develop those strengths?
- What would you like to do to continue your growth here?
- What next steps could you be taking towards those goals?
- How can I help you be successful in pursuing these goals?
A culture of trust begins with listening.
And in order to have a highly engaged and productive team that has strong mutual trust, you need to be able to develop positive relationships with each member. But proper relationships can’t be quickly built—they need regular care, attention, and upkeep.
Regular communication and check-ins are key to building trust and openness with your employees. Letting them know that you are here for them and that you’re willing to listen to their issues can create a strong bond that improves workplace culture and productivity.
While check-ins are important, there is a thin line between checking in with someone and micromanaging them. This will of course depend on your team and the company culture.
Encouraging routine, open conversations can help to take the pressure off of people when they meet with HR leaders and managers. These conversations can also help to identify what actions will positively impact important metrics such as engagement, attrition, and productivity.
This template aims to ensure that your employees are being heard and respected. By regularly checking in, you can spot and pre-empt potential issues and create a more harmonious workplace.
- How are you doing?
- How did the past week/month go?
- What’s on your mind this week?
- Do you need any support?
- How can I help you?
- What are the most important things you will focus on before we meet next?
- Is there anything else you’d like to talk about today?
Goal setting is a vital part of running a successful business. And setting goals for employees is just as important
Having clear and defined goals allows your employees to have focus, meaning, and motivation to better themselves. It also gives them a clear set of criteria to see if they are moving forward and thriving in their environment or not.
As a manager, setting measurable and attainable goals can not only faciltate improvement in employee performance but can also improve the company culture and help to strengthen the business overall.
Knowing your employees’ goals allows you to figure out how you can best help them to achieve whatever they have in mind. It also allows you to judge whether or not these goals are achievable and sustainable—helping you to tailor expectations.
This template aims to help you clarify your employees’ goals and help to keep them on track by removing any potential barriers.
- What would you like to achieve here?
- How is your goal progress going?
- Let’s discuss each goal that you currently have.
- Where do you feel you need help?
- Are you facing any bottlenecks? What might help remove them?
- Let’s discuss your personal development goals.*
- Let’s map out the next steps.
*While this may seem similar to previous questions in this table, personal development goals should be different from the goals you’ve already set. An employee’s personal development goals can focus on soft skills such as taking a project management course, or learning how to communicate with other teams more effectively, for example.
Onboarding is a critical process.
It’s vital that newly hired employees have a clear understanding of what is expected of them and what they need to do to carry out their job responsibilities, and that they have been trained enough to carry out their job properly.
Newly hired employees can end up feeling lost and disillusioned if they aren’t properly onboarded. In fact, organizations that have a clear and effective onboarding process have 33 percent higher employee engagement in comparison to organizations with an ineffective onboarding process.
As a manager, it can be helpful to have a full set of expectations to run through when onboarding a new employee. It saves time and also ensures that your organization’s onboarding process has a level of consistency across all departments and all new employees.
This template aims to help managers make sure that newly hired employees are satisfied with the onboarding process, and make sure that they are fully aware of what is expected of them. It can also help bring any problems to light that may cause issues further down the line.
- Overall, how has your time here been so far?
- How has the training been so far to prepare you for your job?
- Do you have a clear understanding of your role and what is expected of you?
- Are you finding your workload manageable?
- Have there been any major frustrations that you’ve experienced so far?
- Is there anything you’d like more information or resources on?
- What can we do to help you be successful here?
Year-end performance review
Before looking forwards, it’s important to take the time to look back and reflect.
The end-of-year review is useful for going over employee performance, achievements, opportunities, and any goals that may be set for the upcoming year.
It’s also the perfect time to go over any constructive feedback from both the employee and the manager. As a manager, it’s important to be able to listen to and take on feedback from your employees. It allows you to evaluate your own performance and how you can grow and learn to become a better manager.
For your employees, it’s a chance to reflect on the year and set goals for the future. It also gives them the opportunity to highlight any potential barriers that may have held them back in the previous year—in the hope that they can be removed for the coming year.
While this review tends to be focused on development, it’s also a good opportunity for building and improving relationships. The mutual feedback allows issues to be highlighted and worked on—helping create a more harmonious and positive culture and environment.
This template aims to help you to sum up the past year with your employees. It allows space for reflection, as well as taking a look into the future. Enabling you to grow as a team and push forward towards a better level of performance and success.
- What accomplishment(s) from the last year are you most proud of?
- Where did you spend your time and energy?
- What goals do you have for the next quarter, and for the next year?
- What development goals would you like to set for the next six months?
- What obstacles are standing in your way?
- What can we do to help you be successful here?
- How can I improve as your manager?
One-to-one meetings help you to create a positive, people-first culture
The best thing about one-to-one meetings is that they let your people know that you have their back, and that you’re there to support them.
Remember that your employees have a whole life outside of work. And major events unrelated to work can affect their mood and productivity levels.
Events such as getting married or divorced, having a baby, or experiencing the death or illness of a loved one can heavily affect a person.
But sometimes something as simple as letting people know that you understand and are here for them can do wonders for your culture and employer brand, as well as building a deep level of trust with your employees.
These five example templates are a great place to start. Each different template covers a different area, yet they are still about the same thing at their core: the overall welfare of your employees.
By properly utilizing these templates, you can curate a winning culture where communication and care are top priorities.
1-on-1s with Bob
At HiBob, we’ve built a modern HR platform designed for modern business needs—today and beyond.
We focused on building something robust yet intuitive and easy to use, which has led Bob to be the platform of choice for thousands of fast-growing modern, mid-sized organizations.
1-on-1s in Bob help managers and employees follow up on projects, align expectations, and create better working relationships—which contribute to employee retention. 1-on-1s are just one example of how Bob’s capabilities go far beyond those of other HR platforms.