How to Have a Beneficial One-on-One Meeting with Direct Reports – Human Resources Management

What’s a one-on-one meeting?

A one-to-one meeting is a regular check-in between two people in a company, typically a supervisor and an employee. It’s used to offer comments, keep each other in loop, remedy troubles, and help the participants grow in their roles.

The unfastened-shape, employee-centered nature of this meeting that goes beyond surface-level updates is what makes the one-to-one special. It’s often considered the most crucial meeting you can have because it lays the groundwork for a trusting and efficient work relationship.

What are one-on-one meetings used for?

When asked why they arrange one-on-one conferences, managers list numerous reasons:

  • To recognize and remove roadblocks
  • To use as a pulse check or check-in (essential for employee engagement and a great way to build consensus)
  • To receive a status report (How are specific initiatives progressing?)
  • To use as professional development or overall performance management (assisting their direct reports in setting goals and achieving professional objectives)

The worker’s perspective covers much of the same ground:

  • To set goals for improvement
  • To request positive feedback and increased control
  • To gain knowledge of a person’s management style and get a sense of how they like to paint professional improvement, goal setting, and overall performance critiques.

The Advantages of One-To-One Conferences:

Advantages for Employees

As an employee, one-to-one meetings help you get the feedback and steering you need in order to achieve success in your position and further develop in your profession. Your manager will become an ally for your success by listening to you and providing timely guidance.

One-to-one meetings give you the protection of constantly knowing where you stand based on steady remarks from your manager. If you need to correct a path, you will probably realize it through this meeting and be able to repair it in time. Additionally, one-to-ones create space to bring up things that might be tough to deliver at some point during busy workdays.

Advantages for Managers

As a manager, one-to-ones assist you in monitoring your team members’ improvement, resolving issues early on, and enhancing employee retention.

One-to-one conferences are also a fantastic way to get well-timed comments that assist you in emerging as a better supervisor. By way of asking your team members how you could better guide them, you get useful information on what’s expected of you as a supervisor and discover ways you could improve your performance.

Advantages for Businesses

The effort managers put into connecting with their crew members determines whether or not the business achieves success! A healthy one-to-one meeting culture isn’t always the most efficient approach for individuals, but it can significantly affect the bottom line of your commercial enterprise.

There are three steps to understanding how these meetings can be improved:

1. Before Your Meeting

Set a Meeting Agenda

It’s important to have a final result in mind before your conferences. For example, it could be a task you want to delegate to try to build a stronger bond with your team members. The motive, a hard-and-fast structure or template, and planned points in your meetings are important to ensure your conference will head in the right direction.

Ask the Right Meeting Questions
Prepare and share open-ended questions with employees such as “What challenges have you confronted this week?” or “What do you want to discuss in our one-to-one session?” In this manner, your team members can improve any key issues ahead of the meeting and you will have an idea for the topic of the meeting.

Assemble Observations
Giving constructive remarks is arguably one of the trickiest elements of a managerial function. While comments are great when given as soon as possible, one-to-one meetings provide an appropriately personal environment for handing over pieces of feedback that you might not want to provide in a busy workplace environment.

Determine Your Expectations
Your employees should understand what excellence looks like in their functions and the way they are able to develop. Establishing your expectations around everyday duties and the content of your one-on-one meetings is critical.

2. Throughout the Meeting

Start by Checking In

It’s a good idea to start with an easy check-in. Constructing an open environment will inspire honesty, let you pick out any demanding situations inside your crew regarding morale, and cope with any non-public issues your group members might be facing in the context of work. Sincerely checking in with your staff can help you build rapport and a human connection that lays a foundation of appreciation for your crew.

Keep it Brief
Considering that 67% of personnel say spending an excessive amount of time in conferences distracts them from doing their jobs, it’s essential to keep meeting concise, have clear objectives in mind, and ensure meetings are always essential and efficient. Unless you have something meaty to discuss, it’s a fantastic idea to carry out one-to-one conferences quickly. Staying centered and on topic for about half an hour (or much less) can assist in maintaining your focus.

Be Present
Make sure to give your one-on-one meetings your undivided attention. Members of your group desire to feel valued and heard, especially when loneliness and burnout are rife in today’s work climate. It’s well worth thinking about putting your smartphone on airplane mode and turning off inbox notifications to ensure you are present and practicing active listening.

3. After Meetings

Comply with the Results

Whether or not you observe or delegate to your group members, consolidating your notes with a summary and action plan after your meeting can assist in making certain each participant honors the agreements made in your conference.

Keep Going with Your Timetable
Your one-to-one conferences need to have a consistent presence in your schedule, and you and your direct reviews should prioritize them. They can be done weekly or bi-weekly—whichever works well for you. Open conversation is vital to building a healthy running relationship with and growing a feeling of pride and reason within your crew.

Making plans, getting ready, and handling your one-on-one meetings wisely could have a massive impact on morale and productivity. Identifying each person’s strengths and skills can lead to better collaborations, which can free up time in order for you to focus on your duties as a supervisor.

The use of one-on-one conferences will help you identify what team participants are exceptional and what they enjoy. This makes them feel extra engaged and improves your chances of maintaining expertise for the long term.

One-to-One Meeting Hints for HR

Get Everyone on Board
A one-to-one meeting culture is only viable if you have everybody, both managers and team members, on board. Human beings need to want to do something because they see that it’s beneficial.

Explaining to people what’s in it for them usually is no longer sufficient to cause them to buy in and invest in something they haven’t done before. They need to see the benefits of regular one-to-one meetings firsthand. As a result, their desire to be committed will be present from the start.

That’s where HR and leadership come into play. Setting up a one-to-one routine must be a top-down initiative led by example. For HR, that usually means getting leadership’s buy-in first, then assisting in talking about the brand-new approach to the entire corporation.

HR Software for One-to-One Meetings
Software programs can assist greatly in using the adoption of one-to-ones and make them more effective. It also helps provide a regular worker’s revel across teams and departments.

Utilizing a tool for ongoing performance management makes it easy to reference the latest observations and activities throughout a one-to-one meeting. Managers can easily follow up on the overall performance assessment, get an outline of the remarks the team individuals have acquired from their colleagues, and look at professional development information by having all feedback and comprehensive performance data in a single location.

Documenting ongoing feedback and conversations will also counteract any recency bias in overall performance critiques while making a performance overview or self-evaluation a great deal simpler.

Using HR or performance control software programs for one-to-one conferences also gives you treasured insights. Are managers having enough one-to-one meetings with their team members? Who may need a bit of a nudge? One-to-one meeting information allows you to step in if managers and personnel are not communicating often enough.


Phidelia Johnson is a global Human Resources Practitioner with eighteen years of leadership success. With a focus on streamlining Human Resources administration, she’s well-equipped to find the right solution to a myriad of concerns. Her experience as a commercial business leader gives her a unique ability to advocate for both the employer and the employee.

In her down time, Phidelia is a master of her kitchen, creating wonderful dishes filled with passion and flavor. If she’s not cooking delicious food, she’s stretched out with a good book. She hopes to use her experience to help others, guide company leaders to best practices, and help build better professionals and stronger organizations.

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