There are plenty of reasons to prioritise regular, focused one-on-one meetings between employees and managers, but there’s one we can’t get past: employees who have regular meetings with their managers are 3 times more likely to be engaged at work (1).
At Frankli, we’re evangelical about running effective meetings, and we think a research-based meeting agenda is the perfect place to start. So we’ve got a library of one-to-one meeting questions that managers can use to bring structure to specific types of conversations, for example, mentoring sessions, or catch-ups following an employee’s return from extended leave.
Today, we’re taking it back to basics, and sharing some more general questions that will lead to valuable employee-led and manager-led conversations, along with some of the most popular templates for more specific themes.
Consider this your one-to-one meeting playbook - simply keep reading, or download our one-to-one questions template to have them at your fingertips, always.
If your teams use the digital 1:1 meeting space in Frankli, you don’t need to do this - you can set your meeting agenda with a single click using our in-app templates.
Now let's begin with some frequently-asked questions about 1:1 meetings.
Why are 1:1 meetings important?
1:1 meetings are important because they provide an opportunity for employees to receive feedback, ask questions, and discuss any concerns they may have with their manager.
This can help improve communication, performance, and overall job satisfaction, and build trust. In most cases, regular 1:1 meetings lead to a more harmonious work environment.
How often should 1:1 meetings be held?
The frequency of 1:1 meetings can vary depending on the organisation and the employee's role.
They're typically held on a weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly basis. It's a good idea to ask how employees feel about meeting frequency when deciding on your schedule.
How should employees and managers follow up after 1:1 meetings?
After a 1:1 meeting, employees and managers should follow up on any action items or commitments made during the meeting. In Frankli, this is managed via the action points tool, which sets automatic reminders to help keep you on track.
Action items may include setting deadlines, scheduling additional meetings, or following up on any issues or concerns discussed. It's also important for the employee to receive feedback and recognition for any progress made since the last meeting.
How to Use our One-on-One Meeting Agenda Template: A Step-by-Step Guide
Note: In Frankli, all of the below steps are automated. You simply set up your one-to-one meeting series and let the app do the work.
1. Read through the questions below and select 3 - 5 that suit your meeting. When choosing your questions, think about the person you’re meeting with, the frequency of the meeting, the length of the meeting, and the schedule of meetings you plan to have. For example, you may only be planning one job satisfaction one-on-one meeting per year, but monthly professional development conversations about career growth.
2. Use your questions to create a meeting agenda, and share it with the person you’re meeting with ahead of time, so they can prepare for the conversation, and gather any resources they’d like to share. This will really help you avoid running unproductive one-to-one meetings, or one-to-one meetings that feel like status updates.
3. (Optional) Ask the person you’re meeting with to provide short written responses to your questions in advance, so you can get a head start on the most pressing agenda items before you meet. It can really help to receive feedback in advance. It helps optimise your time, and helps to put employees at ease, too.
114 One-on-One Meeting Questions for Managers
The downloadable version of our one-to-one meeting questions can be found here.
Although not something you'd add to a meeting agenda, an icebreaker question is a good way to set the tone for a relaxed one-to-one meeting, and may actually improve the productivity of the session. Simple is best with these.
1. How's your day going?
2. How was your weekend?
3. Have you got any nice plans for this week?
4. Have you got any nice travel plans for this year/the holidays?
5. How's everybody at home?
6. How's the weather where you are? (for remote workers)
7. Reading anything interesting right now?
8. I've just finished (TV show) - are you watching anything good at the moment?
1. What’s the most important thing we need to discuss today?
2. What obstacles are you encountering right now?
3. What are the most important things you will focus on before we meet next?
4. How are you progressing on your goals?
5. How are you feeling about your goals?
6. What can we do to make even more progress towards our goals this quarter?
7. What are you enjoying the most about working here?
8. What are you enjoying the most about your specific role?
9. What achievement are you proudest of since we last met?
10. What is going well?
11. What is not going well?
12. On a scale of 1 to 10, how are you feeling about work this week?
13. If you could only change one thing about the company, what would it be?
14. If you could only change one thing about your role, what would it be?
15. What challenges do you face in your role that aren't visible to others?
16. What is the one thing that you feel is holding you back from getting closer to achieving your goals?
17. What’s your outlook on the next week? How about next month?
18. What roadblocks can I help you with?
19. Is there anything that frustrates you or keeps you from doing your best work? What is it?
20. What are you most hopeful for and worried about for the coming month?
21. Is there anything about our team culture you wish you could change?
22. What projects would you like to work on or be more involved in?
23. Where do you feel you're making the greatest contribution to the company?
24. What are your communication preferences for the next week? Next month?
25. Are you happy with the frequency of these meetings?
26. Are these meetings living up to your expectations?
27. What’s one thing you’d like to do more of, outside of work this coming month?
28. How are things going outside of work?
1. Do you feel you’re getting enough feedback? Why/why not?
2. How could I do a better job communicating with you?
3. Which areas would you like more or less direction from me on your work?
4. What would you like to see change about these discussions? How could we make them more useful for you?
5. Is there a process or project you’d like me to lend more guidance on? What is it?
6. What can I do to help you make even more progress on your goals this quarter?
7. What do you wish I did less of? More of?
8. What do you like about my management style? What do you dislike?
9. On a scale of 1-10, how has my level of support been over the past month?
10. What is one thing I could experiment with doing differently this month?
11. If I could improve one skill between this meeting and the next, which would you choose?
114 One-to-One Meeting Questions for Managers: Popular Templates
Focused on Career:
1. What are the new things you learned at work recently? What are the areas you want to learn about?
2. Do you feel like we’re helping you advance your career? What can I be doing to help you grow your career?
3. What is one aspect of your job that you would like more help or coaching with?
4. A year from now, what do you want to have accomplished?
1. Do you feel like you're growing in your role? What makes you say that?
2. What feedback/praises have you been getting about your current priorities?
3. What's a recent situation you wish you handled differently? What would you change?
4. What's an area of your work you want to improve? How can we work together on that?
5. Can you give some specific examples of when you enjoyed working here the most?
Team and Company:
1. How would you describe how work is shared among team members?
2. How would you rate our communication as a team?
3. How would you say we're doing at working together as a team? What makes you say that?
4. Who inspires you in the team? Whose opinions do you respect? What have they done?
5. What's the biggest opportunity you see that we are not thinking about?
1. What is an ideal, productive day at work for you? Walk me through the day…
2. What makes you excited and motivated to work on a particular project?
3. What part of your work routine do you find is working best? What area do you want to improve?
4. What's one thing we could change about work for you that would improve your personal life?
1. Why is this an area of interest to you?
2. What have you done so far to increase your knowledge/awareness of this area?
3. What areas would you like to focus on?
4. What would you like to have achieved by the end of these sessions?
5. What additional support do you need from me?
1. What are your short, medium & long-term goals?
2. What’s working in your career & what areas are you looking to improve?
3. What ideas have you developed to help you overcome challenges and meet your goals?
4. What areas do you feel comfortable addressing on your own and what areas require more support?
5. How can I help you achieve your goals?
Performance Review Outcome:
1. From your perspective, how do you feel you have progressed during this review period?
2. Looking forward, what are some priorities we are going to work on?
3. What's the most important thing I can do differently for you as your manager?