If you want to build better relationships between managers and team members, having regular one-on-one meetings helps.
These sync-ups aren’t just to manage the day-to-day work. If you’re spending your one-on-ones only going through tasks, you’re missing an opportunity to use the meeting to help employees thrive.
A one-on-one meeting is a good time to address workplace issues, check-in on performance outside of an annual review, and know what is keeping employees engaged.
There are a variety of ways to set up these meetings. Some leaders prefer to have meetings one on one with each employee every single week. Others prefer a meeting once a quarter or in blocks of time.
Regardless, the result is important: better communication and open lines of dialogue between employees and managers, which leads to a happier, more productive workplace.
To help you create a thoughtful and productive agenda, we’ve created example meeting agendas that you can use. The bulk of many of these meeting templates are made of up questions, usually asked by the manager, that help a direct report discuss factors related to career development, performance, professional goals (short term and long term), and other types of conversations that are often skipped.
Good questions for one-on-one meetings cover how an employee is feeling at work, what their career goals are, and seek feedback about their challenges.
In the one-on-one meeting agenda templates here on this page, you'll find a variety of questions. But in our mega-list of 300+ one-on-one meeting questions, you'll find others, such as:
- What work are you doing that wasn't planned? How does this affect your personal workload?
- What part of your working routine keeps you productive?
- What could we change in the future to improve these types of projects or tasks?
- What do you think of this new office space?
- What are your recommendations for future meetings?
- What kind of performance feedback do you have for me?
- What are some areas where we can be more effective together as a team in the near future?
Some questions in your one-on-ones are there simply to start a conversation. Others are to identify how you can better support each other (managers and direct reports alike).
How to answer questions as a direct report
If you're the direct report in this meeting, here are some ideas for how to answer these kinds of one-on-one meeting questions, such as:
- I’m working on this and have a plan in place, although the work is not done.
- Great question! We’re going to look at this in the team meeting as well. Do you want to hear about it now, or wait until then?
- I have some ideas… but I want to get more feedback from you first.
- I’m feeling in my element right now. The new office space is pretty cool too.
- I’m happy! Thank you so much for asking.
- It’s been a tough time for me. But, I’m going to make it better.
- That’s a great question and I something I wasn't aware of. Let’s talk about what I can do differently.
- This is a bigger discussion. Perhaps we can talk more about it separately.
Feedback goes both ways
For managers, a one-on-one meeting is also a chance to find out how you are doing, and seek upward feedback to help you be a better leader and mentor. Here are some questions you can ask to that purpose:
- How am I doing as a manager?
- What do you think of our team?
- How is the team doing?
- What's keeping you motivated and engaged at work?
- What’s working well, and what could be improved on our team?
- How can I do a better job supporting your growth as an employee?
Ultimately, the success of your one-on-one meeting comes down to more than simply what questions you ask. It has to do with how well you are communicating with each other and whether you have a strong enough relationship to have tough conversations about workplace issues and performance feedback.
Tips for better one-on-ones
Here are some more tips for how to have a productive and meaningful one-on-one:
- Make sure the subject of your meeting is important to both employee and manager.
- Choose the right cadence and timing for the meeting. Try not to make it too frequently or too infrequently. Bi-weekly or weekly works for many teams.
- Don't forget to follow up on important issues.
- Be prepared for tough conversations.
- One-on-ones are not performance reviews. They should be much less formal than that.
- Be honest, clear, and transparent.
- Listen and ask questions.
- Take notes on your feedback and action items
- Reflect and share feedback in a positive manner.
Free templates for one-on-one meetings
Despite the same theme, not all one-on-one’s follow exactly the same agenda template.
The one-on-one meeting agenda can vary based on the roles and relationships of both the manager and the employee, as well as whether the team member is remote. Company culture can be a big factor. It also changes depending on how often the one-on-one meeting is occurring, whether that be weekly, monthly, and so forth.
On this page are sample one-on-one meeting agendas for you to use, copy, or even download as Word Docs or copy as Google Docs.
To download a one-on-one template as a Word doc (.docx) file, click the "Use this template" button. Input your email and the file will be emailed to you.
The same steps go for copying a one-on-one agenda template as a Google Doc. You'll be emailed a link to a view-only version of the agenda template. To save the template for yourself in Google Docs go to File > Save a Copy.
You can also click "Use this template" to pre-load your free Hugo account with any of the templates on this page. Don't worry, all of our templates are available after you create your Hugo account as well—this is the same library that we provide all of our users inside the Hugo meeting management app.
That's it as far as the one-on-one agenda templates go, although keep scrolling this page to preview all of the templates here.
However, you still need to have your one-on-one. For more tips on having great one-on-one’s, also check out the FAQ at the bottom of this page.