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!)
1:1 Meeting Agenda Template
Use this template to help prepare for, structure, and record 1:1 meetings.