One on One Meeting Agenda Templates

December 07, 2021 · null min readMeeting Culture

There are two types of managers: one who thinks meetings are a formality and the other who believes meetings are an opportunity. One of the best ways to nurture the relationship between leaders and team members is to regularly conduct 1:1 (one-on-one) meetings. 

You don't have to come up with the questions or design the agenda for every meeting you conduct. You may have many team members under your leadership, which is precisely when a 1-on-1 meeting template comes in handy. Managers can utilize one-on-one meetings templates to ask important questions, get feedback, and make the work environment more productive and inspiring. 

What is a 1:1 meeting? 

A 1:1 meeting — also called 1-on-1 or one-on-one — is a dedicated meeting of a manager with a team member. It's different from departmental meetings in that it's just between two people and not a group meeting.

It's also different from an annual performance review, which is dedicated to evaluating an employee's performance and focuses on the numbers, with less personalized conversation. On the other hand, a one-on-one meeting may have coaching, mentoring, and listening aspects. Managers can keep these meetings weekly, monthly, or quarterly as they deem fit. 

The goal of having these meetings is to communicate directly with the team members in a safe space to learn about their challenges, concerns, ideas, and opinions. Managers set a meeting agenda beforehand, listing down the questions or concerns they have to discuss with the team member. They can conduct the meeting in their office, conference room, outdoors, and even online. 

Benefits of 1:1 meetings 

The thing about 1:1 meetings is that it doesn't only benefit the employee or the manager but also benefits the organization. Using a 1:1 agenda template takes into account all parties involved, so the results benefit all. 

For employees

  • Performance improvement: Regular one-on-one meetings with a manager can help employees get the right direction. With the help of these meetings, employees can learn where and why their performance is lacking and what they can do to improve it. Good managers can share their insights as well, giving the team members the guidelines to succeed. 

  • Being heard: Many employees, especially in big corporations with multi-level hierarchies, think that their voice is not being listened to. This is not only detrimental to their performance but also their confidence in the company. With one-on-one meetings directly with their superiors, employees can express their concerns about projects, work environment, or their challenges at work. 

  • Personal and professional growth: According to a 2016 Gallup survey,  87% of Millennials valued professional development and growth more than anything in their job. Managers play a vital role in that as they can guide their team members on how to progress professionally, sharing their expertise in the field. 

  • Sharing ideas: One-on-one meetings with the manager are the perfect opportunity for employees to share ideas about projects or the company, in general. In one survey, 40% of employees said they don't feel confident about sharing ideas, which shouldn't be the case in a healthy work environment. 

For managers

  • Better relations: One of the main reasons why companies have a high turnover rate is  bad managers. If employees have a poor relationship with their boss, they are more likely to quit. One-on-one meetings are an opportunity for managers to evaluate and analyze their performance and gauge their relationship with their team members.

  • Getting feedback: This is a vital part of developing good relations with team members as well as nurturing their growth. Especially by using a manager one-on-one template designed around feedback, managers can gather honest and constructive feedback that helps improve policy, assignments, and workflow. One of the driving factors behind the recent "Great Resignation" movement is that "feedback that goes unheard," according to an  Explorance Survey Report

  • Conflict resolution: One of the biggest challenges for managers is conflict resolution, for which they often get training and attend seminars. The 1:1 meetings also serve as a tool to hear both sides of the argument objectively and resolve the issues between two employees or two teams. More importantly, these meetings provide an inlet to detect these issues early on before they get big. 

  • Setting expectations: If your team members don't know exactly what is expected of them in their roles, they will never be able to give their 100%. Expectations and job responsibilities can change over time. With an employee meeting template, managers can incorporate briefs on job and performance expectations to ensure employees know the benchmarks. 

For companies

  • More productivity: The primary benefit of managers conducting regular 1:1 meetings with team members for the company is that it results in an increase in productivity. By delivering constructive criticism, gathering feedback, and resolving issues timely, managers can help employees perform better. That, ultimately, results in more efficiency and an increase in revenue for the company.

  • Healthy work environment and culture: A toxic workplace doesn't just take a toll on an employee's performance but also their mental health. Organizations must try to cultivate a healthy workplace environment and curb poor cultural elements. It's also essential to address controversial yet essential topics like the pay gap, harassment, and racism, which may be addressed even better through face-to-face conversations with superiors than company-wide seminars. 

  • Higher employee retention: Over 63% of 600 U.S. companies say retaining employees is more difficult than hiring them. This is a major issue for companies these days, as it also costs them more to get new hires. By resolving issues early on, hearing ideas, and motivating employees through one-on-one meetings, the overall employee retention rate can improve. 

Challenges of 1:1 meetings

While there are numerous benefits to conducting such meetings, it has its fair share of challenges and pitfalls as well. If you don't use a 1-on-1 meeting agenda template, you may find some aspects of the meeting challenging. Here are the common things to look out for.

Skipping or delaying meetings

If either of the two parties — manager or team member — keeps delaying or canceling scheduled 1:1 meetings, no one would benefit. Not only does that indicate disrespect of the other party's time, but it can also create more issues than resolve the ones that already exist. 

Therefore, it's essentially the manager's job to ensure that meetings occur as scheduled unless there's an emergency. Also, they should emphasize the importance of the meeting to ensure the team member attends. 

Not coming prepared

Both the leader and the employee must come in prepared with what they plan on discussing during the meeting. While it's perfectly fine to keep the tone conversational, the meeting time must be used productively to discuss important issues. 

This is why managers need an employee one-on-one meeting template to help them ensure that they cover the vital questions and answers. 

Not listening carefully

As a leader during this meeting with your team member, you are in charge, but you're also the listener. Don't just ask questions and rush through the answers — carefully listen to them or, better yet, make notes. If an answer leads to a subsequent question, ask it even if it's not on your agenda. 

You should also come up with a way to receive and analyze feedback so it doesn't lose the context. 

Guide to 1:1 meeting agenda templates

Even if you like your meetings to have a natural and spontaneous flow, a little organization is essential. You need an agenda before any kind of meeting, be it one-on-one or team meeting. However, for the former, an employee 1-on-1 template can prove invaluable. 

With the help of the template, you can make an all-rounder agenda that ensures everything you need to address is included. An effective 1-on-1 meeting template will allow you to make your team members comfortable, ask them questions about themselves, get their feedback about them, yourself, their coworkers, and the company at large. 

You can't go into a meeting willy nilly without a prepared agenda — the easiest way to not do this is to use an employee one-on-one meeting template. A template's questions allow you to address important issues, get effective feedback, and discuss the productivity and satisfaction of the employee. These templates are designed for the modern workplace and the dynamic nature of teams. Some of the key areas covered in these templates include:

  • Career path

  • Job or manager satisfaction

  • Professional development

  • Professional goals, short-term and long-term

  • Project input or ideas

  • Technology as it relates to work

  • Work environment and culture

  • Work policies

The employee meeting templates mostly comprise questions that you, as a manager, would be asking your team members. However, there's always room for changes. It's even recommended to ensure the agenda sits well with how you do things around your organization. 

How to use the 1:1 meeting agenda templates 

Remember that a 1-on-1 agenda template is only a guide for conducting the meeting with your team member. Today's businesses and enterprises have their unique standards and work practices. Then, there's also the business niche and role of employees that will impact the meeting agenda and your one-on-one agenda template. 

Therefore, while you rely on the template, you should make adjustments based on your particular aim with the meeting. This may mean rephrasing certain questions or eliminating them altogether. That said, many questions are more generalized but in no way any less important than any of the technical ones. These may include questions like:

  • How are you feeling today?

  • What do you like most about your work?

  • What are you most concerned about regarding your job or project?

  • How do you like the office space?

  • Do you have any recommendations for future meetings?

Also, the template can vary based on your particular relationship with the employee and also whether they work in-house, remotely, or a hybrid of both. 

Don't just print or open the template on your screen as-is. First, make changes as per your needs. Also, you may want to make notes on your computer or a piece of paper, so you can review them later. Since these meetings will take place frequently, you should adjust questions or their order as your meetings proceed. Some days some particular questions may take precedence. 

In short, take a more dynamic approach even when using a template so as to ensure that you're making the best out of using guides like the one-on-one meeting with manager template. 

How often should you conduct 1:1 meetings? 

You have your meeting content sorted with the 1:1 meeting agenda template, but it's also important to determine the frequency of the meetings. This may depend on a number of factors, like the number of members in your team or the number of team meetings you have every month and what those cover. 

Many organizations do it weekly. Some do it monthly or quarterly. If you do it more often, like every week, the meetings can even be shorter and last 15 minutes. If you're doing one every four months, you should keep it longer, so all important topics are covered. Ultimately, it's the manager's job to determine how frequently they need to keep such meetings based on their own and employee availability. Generally, once a month is good enough. 

As a manager, you can also keep the option of asking for a meeting open for your team members, so they can request a one-on-one meeting when they need one. 

Tips to make the most out of 1:1 meetings

A one-on-one meeting template for managers, like those offered by grok, can help managers immensely cover everything they need during meetings. However, some of the following tips can help make the meetings even more useful:

  • Feedback should be two-way: Utilize the meeting to both give and receive feedback from your team members. Therefore, utilize the template to keep this back and forth of feedback, especially regarding important topics. 

  • Make time in your calendar: As a manager or leader, there's a lot on your plate, but you need to make time for 1-on-1 meetings with members of your team. Make sure to find time in your calendar and prioritize meetings as well. Perhaps, dedicate a particular time of the day for these meetings. 

  • Create a safe space: Don't be too formal while conducting the meeting, as you want to make a more inviting atmosphere. Conduct the meeting in a private place with no other people or disturbing sounds. 

  • Pre-populate and prioritize the agenda: Make sure everything you need to discuss is already on the agenda, so you don't forget anything during the meeting. While you can go off-topic sometimes, make sure to stick to the agenda for the most part of the interview. 

  • Take notes: Just listening is not enough. You should be making notes about the key things discussed. You don't have to write down everything they say, but look out for important terms and phrases that you can review later. Also, maintain a digital or physical file where you keep all these notes. 

  • Involve the employee in the agenda: Normally, it's the manager's job to decide the agenda of the interview. However, as these interviews become a part of the routine, you can take feedback from your team members and involve them in the agenda-making process. 

  • Follow-up on important topics: In the subsequent interviews or even aside from the interview, you should follow up, especially regarding important and more urgent issues. This also helps deliver the message to your team members that you listen and that you care. 

Frequently asked questions about the 1:1 agenda template

Can you use any 1:1 meeting template?

Not all one-on-one meeting templates are the same, so you must use one that is closest to your organization's niche and model. It should also cover all the things that you want to cover during the meeting. 

How do you start one-on-one employee meetings?

You can start the meeting with some pleasantries and ask questions about how they feel or how their day was. You don't want to start right off the bat with more serious questions. Make sure to make them feel welcome and safe. 

Why should you conduct one-on-one meetings with your employees?

One-on-one meetings allow employees to open up more about their concerns or opinions than team meetings. During team meetings, some team members may refrain from speaking up their minds or raising concerns. However, during a one-on-one, they may feel safe and private enough to speak openly.

One-on-one meetings between leaders and employees can also allow the former to learn more about their employees. 

Conclusion

One-on-one meetings can prove invaluable for all parties involved and even the company. However, for successful meetings, you'll need to use 1-on-1 meeting templates that help conduct the meeting in an orderly and timely way. Make sure to use a template that works with your company profile and organizational setting. It's acceptable to tweak it a bit when necessary.


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