Tips for setting up a new one on one meeting format for your team, which questions to ask and how to get the most out of your meeting time.
Running one on one meetings with your employees is one of the most powerful secret weapons you have as a manager to engage your team members, develop important coaching skills and catch performance issues before they become critical. The one on one meeting questions format can be challenging to set up the first time, so we've got tips and templates for you to help you construct meaningful, actionable one to one meetings with your team.
We have a few downloadable one on one templates that cover different areas of the performance cycle, as well as ideas for thoughtful questions and development areas to cover.
Be flexible! One of the greatest benefits of a one on one meeting is that it allows you to really get to know your employee and understand what makes them tick. Every individual works in different ways and is motivated by a variety of factors, so trying to create a 'one size fits all' one on one meeting format isn't going to work for every member of your team.
As above, you'll have different frequencies for different employees. As a rule of thumb, you should be checking in at with each direct report for one hour at least once a month. There are also some key touchpoints when you should definitely be having a one to one discussion:
You as the manager need to be driving the one on one meeting. Reach out to your employees - show interest and proactivity. It's all well and good to announce that you have an open door policy, but if you're not reaching out first it can be hard for subordinates to take advantage of that. Not hearing from your employees isn't a sign that everybody's getting on with their work - it can be an indication that they're not able to honestly raise issues and feel uncomfortable asking for help.
To kick it off, especially with new teams, start with an email request for a meeting. An out-of-the-blue request for a meeting can be worrying to an employee, so make sure you're communicating the reasons for setting up a one to one and that they'll be a regular conversation going forward. Make sure you're also not singling out certain individuals, and make this a team-wide initiative.
We've got some email examples and meeting format templates to to get you started.
Again, this depends on the employee you're mentoring and the relationship you have, but generally keep in mind that a one to one meeting is personal, not project or status focused. You are discussing work of course, but frame the meeting questions in the context of employee wellbeing, coaching and development. Checking in on objectives is important, and hone in one why an objective is going off track rather than just asking for a status report.
We've got more details on how to run an effective one to one discussion here.
The one on one meeting) is one of the most valuable tools you have as a manager. Be flexible in your approach and get the one on one meeting questions format right for each individual, and you'll be well on your way to motivating a productive, happy and engaged team around you.