Writing an Effective One-on-One Meeting Agenda Guide

With proper structure and guidance, you can create an effective one on one manager meeting agenda. One-on-one meetings can positively impact your workplace and allow for more fruitful and actionable conversations.

This article will help you define and outline one-on-one meeting agendas to make the process easier and ultimately benefit your organization.

What Is a One-on-One Manager Meeting?

An organizational meeting – typically between a manager and an employee is a 1:1 or one-on-one meeting. This type of meeting allows them to give each other direct feedback, keep each other informed, resolve issues, and grow in their respective roles.

A 1:1 meeting is unique due to its free-form, employee-focused nature. It is one of the most important meetings as it lays the foundation for a trusting and productive work relationship.

Through one on one meetings, managers can build trust with employees and provide opportunities to discuss growth and career development. They can also resolve the team member’s issues and improve employee retention.

One-on-one meetings are most effective when they are frequent and held at regular intervals. Managers and their direct reports should ideally have one session per week.

Each team member is unique, so you should tailor each session to their needs and preferences. 

What Is a One on One Meeting Agenda?

A meeting agenda is a defined plan for both the manager (responsible for assessing and planning) and the employee (responsible for attending the meeting). 

A meeting agenda includes the key topics to address in the discussion, such as professional development, new ideas, or potential concerns.

It helps ensure that both parties remember important points while maintaining the structure and flow of the session.

The agenda also informs the employee about the meeting day, time, and location.

As there is a limited time, planning ahead allows team members to make the most out of the meeting.

How to Create a One on One Manager Meeting Agenda?

Managers usually set the agenda for one-on-one meetings, but employees can also contribute or share their agenda.

A one-on-one agenda should have a theme or objective, just like formal meeting agendas. If a manager wants to assess the acclimation of a recent hire to the company, they might center their questions accordingly.

On the agenda are many other components, such as:

two women sitting beside table and talking to each other
Photo by Christina @ wocintechchat.com on Unsplash

The Agenda Document

The agenda outlines how the meeting runs. It gives the participant a clear idea of what is to be discussed. It generally consists of:

1. Employee Name

A manager with multiple one-on-one meetings must remember which employee they plan to meet with.

2. Date and Time

Setting a date and time allows the participants to prepare and schedule in advance. 

Discuss with the date and time with the team members and offer them suitable choices.

Several factors determine the frequency of your one-on-one meetings, including your management style, your team’s needs, and availability.

Pro-tip: Include the agenda in your calendar invitation, so it’s easy to find and access when sharing it! 

3. Location

Meet in person, as face-to-face conversations are the richest form of communication. If you’re both working in the same office, small conference rooms can be quiet and comfortable.

One-on-one meetings may occur at an outside location as well. To freshen things up, head out once in a while. You can go for a walk, sit in a café, or any place where you can converse easily.

Careful consideration should be given to the location; adapting it to the employee’s personality would have the best results. For instance, new employees might feel comfortable in a cozy setting such as a park.

If you can’t meet them in person, consider the next-best option: video.

4. Set the Objective

The meeting’s objective will make it more cohesive, organized, and focused. Ideally, you should aim to have one or two questions that you will focus your time on.

You can base your objectives on discussions from earlier meetings or current concerns. 

If the one-on-one meeting involves a new or recently hired employee, it might make sense to set a less specific goal. For instance, you can discuss their weekly progress or possible setbacks.

5. Agenda Items

Meetings with clear agendas are more productive. If you do not have one, it can be easy to lose track.

The agenda items should have descriptive or specific notes to guide the meeting. 

Deciding on the topics in advance allows you to be clear and specific during the meeting. You will also appear more confident and focused, making the meeting more productive. 

You may also share your talking points, so the other person can better prepare for the meeting.

The Meeting

6. Start With a Check-In

Begin with a warm greeting and ask your employee how they’re feeling. Also talk about how you feel to build trust and encourage them to speak. 

Keep this conversation lighthearted, authentic, and valuable. 

7. Ask About Employee Objectives and Progress.

Get an update on the action items that were set in the previous one-on-one meeting.

Tasks that support the employee’s objectives should be included in them.

8. Get Personal

Your relationship with an employee is the key to building a positive culture in your office. Think beyond the work they produce and get to know them more.

Checking in with them personally can boost their morale and improve their productivity. 

9. Discuss Challenges.

Ask employees if there are any challenges they are facing in the workplace.

Take the time to listen to their answers and use this opportunity to turn it a learning experience for them.

Don’t tell them what to do because that won’t help them grow or develop. Instead, work together on the best way to solve the problem.

10. Hold Them Accountable

Identifying weekly goals and continuously following up is critical.

Don’t wait until the following performance review to provide constructive feedback.

11. Recognize Wins

When an employee performs well, appreciate and support them during a one-on-one meeting.

Use examples to highlight how and when they did a great job or utilized their strengths effectively. 

12. Provide Coaching

During the meeting, give the team member notes to help them if they face a work or project-related challenge. 

13. Make Notes

Document your private thoughts when looking at employee performance and development over time. These notes become your personal, informal, and most reliable source for candid feedback.

14. Follow Up

Take notes of the conversation in a notebook or agenda, so you can follow up and revisit the information when necessary.

Making this a practice will lead to effective feedback loops and build stronger connections with your staff.

Final Words

One-on-one meetings are a valuable tool for enhancing employee development and performance.

Making a personalized one on one manager meeting agenda for your employees will foster their career growth, ensure that everyone’s goals are aligned, and facilitate company and individual success.

Best of luck.

Writing an Effective One-on-One Meeting Agenda Guide

Abir is a data analyst and researcher. Among her interests are artificial intelligence, machine learning, and natural language processing. As a humanitarian and educator, she actively supports women in tech and promotes diversity.

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