build Tool: Hold effective 1:1 meetings

In the Project Oxygen study, the team found that our higher-scoring managers are more likely than lower-scoring managers to have frequent 1:1 (“one-on-one”) meetings with their team members. Meeting frequently and individually with team members can require a large time investment, but can identify issues early and provides a forum for the manager to give feedback and guidance. The team asked our best managers how they hold effective 1:1 meetings. Here’s a collection of some of those tips:

Set up a regular meeting

  • Choose a consistent time, generally lasting 30-60 minutes, every week or two.
  • Have the 1:1 meeting away from a conference room or desk - head outside for a walk.

Determine the agenda of the meeting

  • Set up a shared agenda document to help structure your discussion time. Both the manager and team member should contribute.
  • Here are some agenda items to get you started:
    • Check-in and catch-up questions: “What can I help you with?” and “What have you been up to?”
    • Roadblocks or issues
    • Goal updates
    • Administrative topics (e.g., upcoming vacations, expense reports)
    • Next steps to confirm actions and agreements
    • Career development and coaching

Meet for the 1:1

  • Be on time.
  • Stick to the agenda, whenever possible.
  • Give the meeting your full attention.
  • Ask for feedback: “Is there anything I should be doing for you that I am not doing?” or “Anything I should be doing better or more often?"
  • Review action items and things to discuss in the next 1:1.
  • Ask "What else?" (It's surprising to see what can come up as an afterthought!)

Make it your own: customize the tool below.

1:1 Meeting Agenda Template

Use this template to help prepare for, structure, and record 1:1 meetings.

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