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 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. With Leapsome, you can have your employee add their own items directly to the meeting agenda, or note them down privately.
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 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.
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:
- Encouraging your report to talk about their well-being;
- Highlighting employee achievements;
- Identifying roadblocks and brainstorming solutions;
- Giving bidirectional feedback (from manager to employee, and vice-versa);
- Asking about employee needs;
- Giving employees space to share goals (for career planning or future projects within the company);
- Emphasizing team priorities;
- Reviewing lessons learned during the week;
- Planning for vacations or time off if needed.
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. You can do this within Leapsome, and you can 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 make sure both parties have access to the meeting notes.
Follow-up best practices for 1:1 meetings
Keep it consistent
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.
— 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. 😉