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When it comes to good, effective communication, nothing beats dedicated time to sit face-to-face. Whether you work in the office or remotely, this is all still equally true, and one-on-one meetings along with dedicated resources can help you.

In this post, you’ll find our ultimate one on one meeting template that you can download straight to your inbox. I've also included 15 other one-on-one meeting templates, questions you can ask, an agenda, and some tips for an effective meeting. This ultimately helps with everything from employee engagement to retainment of staff for a happy, healthy organization.

What Is A 1:1 Meeting ?

One-on-one meetings (sometimes written as a 1:1 meeting) are a critical check-in—they're part of developing and fostering positive and productive relationships between you as the manager, and the individual members of your team. 

A good one-on-one meeting provides you and each of your employees with a regularly scheduled forum for the two of you to catch up, communicate, and follow up on ways to help each other grow personally and professionally.

The Purpose Of One-On-One Meetings

Effective one-on-one meetings help you foster positive relationships with your team members by giving you each the opportunity to:

  1. Share information on everything from project updates to career goals to personal feelings;
  2. Set general job performance expectations, and ensure consistency and alignment of expectations between all team members;
  3. Assess team member engagement and motivation and understand the personal and/or work elements impacting this;
  4. Reinforce workplace vision and values, to ensure broader culture alignment across the entire organization;
  5. Develop a personal relationship (within limits), which can help support the professional relationship; 
  6. Identify career development opportunities and the professional goals of your employee and ways that you can support them in achieving them.
  7. Minimize surprises, particularly negative ones, during formal performance reviews.

15 One On One Meeting Templates For Better Employee Engagement

With different instances in which 1:1 meetings are useful, it helps to have a template of purpose, questions, and when it's worth having each one. Below, I've outlined some of these instances, while sharing my best one-on-one meeting tips.

1. Introduction Meeting Template

Purpose: This facilitates the smooth integration of new employees into the organization, ensuring they feel welcomed and aligned with company values.

Questions:

  • Can you tell me about your professional background?
  • What motivated you to join our organization?
  • What are your immediate professional goals here?
  • How can the company help you achieve these goals?
  • What are your expectations from this role?
  • Do you have any initial concerns or areas you need clarity on?

When to have this meeting: Ideally during the first week of an employee's tenure. This is part of employee onboarding best practices.

2. Performance Review Template

Purpose: The performance review on-one-one assesses employee contributions and progress, fostering continuous growth and development.

Questions:

  • How do you feel about your recent work performance?
  • What achievements are you most proud of in the last review period?
  • Are there any areas where you feel you could improve?
  • What challenges have you faced, and how did you address them?
  • How can management better support your performance?
  • What goals would you like to set for the next review period?

When to have this meeting: Typically on a quarterly or bi-annual basis.

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3. Career Development Template

Purpose: The career development on-on-one aligns individual career aspirations with organizational goals, aiding in talent retention and satisfaction.

Questions:

  • Where do you see your career path leading in the next few years?
  • What skills would you like to develop or improve?
  • Are there any specific roles or projects you aspire to work on?
  • How can the organization assist in your career development?
  • What challenges do you foresee in achieving your career goals?
  • What steps can we take now to start working towards these goals?

When to have this meeting: Annually, or when an employee shows signs of restlessness or desire for advancement.

4. Conflict Resolution Template

Purpose: The conflict resolution one-on-one addresses interpersonal conflicts proactively, maintaining a harmonious and productive work environment.

Questions:

  • Can you describe the conflict and your perspective on it?
  • How has this conflict affected your work or team dynamics?
  • What do you think are the root causes of this conflict?
  • Have you taken any steps to resolve this issue? If so, what were they?
  • What resolution would you ideally like to see?
  • How can we ensure effective communication to avoid this in the future?

When to have this meeting: As soon as a conflict is identified or reported.

5. Feedback and Coaching Template

Purpose: The feedback and coaching on-on-one enhances employee skills and performance through constructive feedback and personalized coaching.

Questions:

  • What aspects of your job do you feel most confident in?
  • Where do you think there is room for improvement?
  • How do you prefer to receive feedback?
  • What kind of support or resources do you need to improve?
  • Can you give an example of feedback you found particularly helpful?
  • How can I best coach you to achieve your professional objectives?

When to have this meeting: Regularly, such as monthly, to ensure ongoing development and support. You can also ask for employee feedback in return!

6. Goal Setting Template

Purpose: A dedicated goal setting one-on-one sets clear, achievable objectives, aligning employee efforts with the company's strategic direction.

Questions:

  • What are your primary goals for this quarter/year?
  • What specific steps will you take to achieve these goals?
  • How can these goals contribute to your career development?
  • Are there any obstacles you anticipate in reaching these goals?
  • How can the company support you in achieving these goals?
  • How will we measure the success of these goals?

When to have this meeting: At the beginning of a new quarter or year, or when initiating a new project or role.

7. Wellness Check-in Template

Purpose: This particular one-on-one prioritizes employee well-being, recognizing its impact on productivity and job satisfaction.

Questions:

  • How would you rate your current work-life balance?
  • Are there any stress factors at work we should be aware of?
  • What can we do to support your mental and physical well-being?
  • Do you feel you have the resources you need to manage stress effectively?
  • How comfortable do you feel discussing wellness concerns in the workplace?
  • Are there any wellness initiatives you would like to see implemented?

When to have this meeting: Periodically, such as every six months, or more frequently if needed.

8. Team Dynamics Discussion Template

Purpose: The team dynamics discussion optimizes team performance by addressing communication, collaboration, and interpersonal dynamics.

Questions:

  • How would you describe the dynamics of your team?
  • What strengths do you bring to the team?
  • Are there any challenges within the team that you've noticed?
  • How do you prefer to communicate with your team members?
  • What can be done to improve collaboration within the team?
  • Are there any team-building activities you think would be beneficial?

When to have this meeting: When forming a new team, after team restructuring, or when issues in team dynamics are observed.

9. Succession Planning Template

Purpose: Succession planning in a one-on-one secures the organization's future leadership by identifying and preparing potential leaders.

Questions:

  • Have you thought about your long-term future with the company?
  • What roles or positions are you interested in for future progression?
  • What skills or experiences do you need to develop for these roles?
  • Who within the team do you see as having leadership potential?
  • How can we prepare you and others for future leadership roles?
  • What timeline do you envision for your career progression?

When to have this meeting: Annually, or during periods of organizational change or growth. This can also be done as a skip-level meeting to include top executives.

10. Innovation and Ideas Template

Purpose: An innovation and ideas one-on-one encourages creative thinking and innovation, fostering a culture of continuous improvement and adaptation.

Questions:

  • Do you have any ideas for improving our current processes or products?
  • How can we foster a more innovative environment in our team?
  • What obstacles do you face in being innovative at work?
  • Are there any resources or tools you need to explore these ideas further?
  • How do you stay inspired and keep your ideas fresh?
  • What steps can we take to test and implement your ideas?

When to have this meeting: When launching new projects, during strategic planning sessions, or periodically to encourage ongoing innovation.

11. Diversity and Inclusion Conversation Template

Purpose: This one-on-one enhances organizational culture by embracing diversity and promoting inclusivity, leading to a richer, more dynamic workplace.

Questions:

  • What has been your experience with diversity in the workplace?
  • Are there areas where you think we can improve on inclusion?
  • How do you feel your unique background contributes to our team?
  • What steps can we take to make our workplace more inclusive?
  • Have you witnessed any situations where inclusivity was an issue?
  • How can we better celebrate diversity within our team?

When to have this meeting: Regularly, such as bi-annually, or in response to specific incidents or feedback regarding workplace inclusivity.

12. Crisis Management Check-in Template

Purpose: This reactive one-on-one equips the organization to effectively manage crises, ensuring resilience and adaptability in challenging times.

Questions:

  • How are you coping with the current crisis or change?
  • What challenges are you facing in adapting to these changes?
  • Do you have the resources you need to manage your responsibilities effectively?
  • How can we improve communication and support during this time?
  • What lessons have we learned from this crisis that we can apply in the future?
  • Is there anything you need that you're not currently getting?

When to have this meeting: During or immediately after a crisis, or when significant changes occur in the organization.

13. Remote Work Adjustment Template

Purpose: The remote work one-on-one addresses the unique challenges of remote work, ensuring employees remain connected, supported, and productive.

Questions:

  • How has the transition to remote work been for you?
  • What challenges have you faced working remotely?
  • Do you feel you have the tools and resources needed to work from home?
  • How can we improve communication and collaboration in a remote setting?
  • What aspects of remote work do you enjoy, and which do you find difficult?
  • Are there any additional support or resources you need?

When to have this meeting: Shortly after transitioning to remote work, or periodically for ongoing remote teams.

14. Employee Exit Interview Template

Purpose: The employee exit interview gathers insights from departing employees to enhance organizational practices and employee satisfaction.

Questions:

  • What prompted your decision to leave the company?
  • How would you describe your overall experience working here?
  • What could have been done to enhance your experience with us?
  • Do you have any feedback on your role, team, or management?
  • What did you value most during your time with us?
  • Are there any changes or improvements you would suggest for the company?

When to have this meeting: Shortly before or on the employee's last day.

15. Annual Review Preparation Template

Purpose: This annual review template prepares both employee and manager for a comprehensive annual review, ensuring a thorough and meaningful discussion.

Questions:

  • What were your key accomplishments this past year?
  • Were there any obstacles or challenges you faced?
  • How do you think you have grown professionally over the year?
  • What are your goals for the coming year?
  • How can the company better support your professional development?
  • Do you have any concerns or suggestions you would like to discuss?

When to have this meeting: Prior to the scheduled annual review meeting, allowing sufficient time for reflection and preparation.

Example One-On-One Meeting Agenda

While the specific topics discussed in a one-on-one meeting will vary, it’s important to create a general structure and agenda that applies to every discussion. This helps to build trust, as employees will generally know what to expect. All of this further contributes to making 1:1’s a productive and effective business habit.

A typical one-on-one meeting agenda includes:

  • A check-in on their general well-being and personal life to build rapport
  • Work updates from the team member to go over action items from the past week (or time period since your previous meeting), roadblocks, and goals
  • Updates from the manager to share important information, non-urgent performance management talking points, new long-term goals or responsibilities
  • ​Flex time to go over any other important items and clarify action items.

The Ultimate One-On-One Meeting Template (Download)

Are you looking for a simple template you can download to help you lead an effective 1:1 conversation in your next meeting? Our one-on-one meeting template includes a bunch of great one-on-one tools and resources, including:

  • Quick start guide with essential one on one best practices
  • Simple framework for your one on one meeting agenda
  • Suggested one on one meeting questions for the one on one conversation
  • Printable template for writing notes, and recording actions and decisions

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More People Management Tips & Tools

I hope you found this article and its associated template useful. I've learned a lot from my experience with one-on-one meetings, including these takeaways:

  • One-on-one meetings aren't just another meeting thrown into the workweek for the sake of it. They're an essential part of developing and fostering positive and productive relationships, and should be treated accordingly.
  • One-on-one meetings are not solely about status updates. They're also an opportunity to assess employee engagement, reinforce workplace vision and values, and develop a personal relationship between manager and employee.
  • The right template that's tailored to the type of one-on-one meeting you're having can make all the difference. Make sure you're asking the right questions for the situation, and having the meeting at the best time for it to be effective.

Remember, great managers are not born, they are made. People Managing People is all about helping folks who lead and manage teams to be better at what they do. Listen to the People Managing People podcast to find tips from experts to help you recruit, retain, and manage your organization more effectively.

By Mike Gibbons

Mike has extensive experience in sales, marketing, and product strategy; organizational and team development; and business growth and operations. He's held various senior leadership positions in the technology industry, and in 2016 participated as a lead member of the deal team responsible for the sale of Point Grey Research to FLIR Systems for USD$256M. Mike is guided by his deeply-held beliefs in connection, curiosity, humour, empathy, and honesty. Since leaving the corporate world in 2018, he's provide fractional executive and growth and strategic planning advisory services that have helped several early stage companies mature, grow responsibly, and live true to their values.