1. Schedule your meetings
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.
2. Create a meeting agenda
Before you arrive at the meeting, create an organized agenda to help you plan your time. The agenda is essential to ensure the meeting stays on-topic and you address all relevant points.
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 to 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. With Leapsome, you can have your employee add their own items directly to the meeting agenda.
If you need help creating your agenda, check out our free 1:1 meeting template. It’s filled with best-practice questions and thought-provoking prompts to help you and your employee have a productive meeting.
3. Come to the meeting prepared and ready to talk
Shortly before the meeting, both you and your employee should take a few minutes to review the meeting agenda. This will serve as a quick reminder of what’s to come, and give you some time to think about what needs to be discussed.
4. Discuss key areas during the meeting
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:
- Encourage your report to talk about their well-being
- Highlight employee achievements
- Identify roadblocks and brainstorm solutions
- Give bidirectional feedback (from manager to employee, and vice versa)
- Ask about employee needs
- Give employees space to share their goals (for career planning or future projects within the company)
- Emphasize team priorities
- Review lessons learned during the previous weeks
- Plan for vacations or time off
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 just to share 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. You can do this within Leapsome and automatically carry over notes to the next meeting if you’d like to.
5. Send a summary with action items and next steps after the meeting
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 ensure both parties have access to the meeting notes.
3 best practices for excellent 1:1 meetings
1. Keep them consistent
1:1 meetings are most useful when they happen regularly, so make time for them every week, even if you’re busy or feel like there’s not much to talk about. Your employees might have concerns they haven’t told you about yet or benefit from your guidance on their upcoming tasks and projects.
And at the beginning of each meeting, don’t forget to follow up on the action items you discussed the previous week.
2. Delve deep into your discussions
It’s perfectly okay to discuss individual projects and status updates during your 1:1s. However, progress reports shouldn’t be your main focus. If your entire meeting could be held just as easily with five other team members present — or even on Slack — you’re probably not touching on issues that are vital to your employee’s engagement and motivation. Some examples include discussions related to:
- Development and training opportunities
- Effective recognition
As a manager, you need to dig deeper and ask your employees about their well-being, their feelings about current projects or initiatives, and where they need support.
3. Always follow up
Following up on what you discussed during previous meetings and upcoming action items helps employees keep their momentum up and clarify misunderstandings or miscommunications before they turn into bigger problems.
Send follow-up emails or messages to check in with your people about what was discussed, what was unclear, and identify important points that didn’t come up during the meeting. Some ways you can check in with your people include:
- An email
- Slack messages
- Voice notes
- Slack huddles or short audio calls
- A 15-minute video chat or in-person meeting
💡 Ever wondered how to make your 1:1 meetings more effective? Check out our free 1:1 meeting template — it’s jam-packed with value, including best-practice meeting questions and useful prompts. 😉
Conduct better 1:1 meetings with Leapsome
Leapsome is the only platform that closes the loop between employee development, productivity, and engagement.
Watch this video to learn how to set up and conduct more efficient 1:1 meetings with Leapsome’s all-in-one people enablement platform.