1:1 Meetings (1:1s) are a powerful tool that can be used in the workplace to drive continuous conversations and develop high performing teams.

These conversations are a regular ‘check-in’ between two people in a business, typically a manager and an employee. They help participants keep each other in the loop, resolve issues and support participants growth in their roles.

How often these meetings occur, and the topics that are discussed can vary between team members, however it is beneficial for all team members to be participating in 1:1s.

1:1s are a meeting for employees, rather than managers and are intended to be a space to connect, collaborate and even allow an employee to vent. 1:1s can provide the opportunity to gain valuable insight into a team members’ day-to-day experiences and allow problems to be openly discussed and resolved. A manager’s role in a 1:1 meeting is to facilitate the conversation and primarily listen, as well as provide feedback, coaching and mentoring where appropriate.

It is important to remember that 1:1s are not a standard update meeting or routine performance review.

Managers who do not invest in having meaningful 1:1s with their team members, risk leaving their team members feeling disconnected and not supported, which could result in team members leaving the business.

Managers who understand the value of having meaningful 1:1s will find their team members feeling more valued and engaged, which will lead to higher performance. Managers will also find having 1:1s will help them to develop supportive and trusting working relationships with their team members.


Types of 1:1 Meetings​

Employees and managers may participate in a number of different 1:1 meetings.

The purpose of each 1:1 will determine the appropriate topics to discuss and questions to ask.

A Weekly Catch Up with each Team Member

A Weekly Catch Up may be focused on supporting an employee with their day-to-day tasks and more immediate needs. These conversations may be reflective as well as future focused.

Topics could include:

  • Last week’s wins & challenges.
  • What is top of mind for the employee right now – anything they want to talk about / updates they want to provide.
  • Priorities for the week – what they are focusing on between now & the next catch up.
  • Any Roadblocks or Learnings – what they have learned recently or identified they could have done differently in something they have experienced.
  • Team Dynamics – whether there are any team dynamics to discuss or improvements they believe can be made.


A Regular ‘Check-In’

A regular check-in is often held monthly, however could be held more regularly (if the conversation will still be valuable and not burdensome). These conversations may be more reflective.

Topics could include:

  • Checking in on how the employee is doing – from a wellbeing perspective & how the past month has gone for them.
  • Celebrating wins & successes.
  • Resolving any issues – previous issues raised or providing updates on progress made towards solutions.
  • Goal updates – discuss how they are progressing towards any work/personal goals set.
  • Any Roadblocks or Learnings – what they have learned recently or identified they could have done differently in something they have experienced.
  • Any support they may need.


First 1:1 with a New Team Member

A first 1:1 with a new team member is important in laying the groundwork for a trusting relationship and setting up meaningful 1:1s. These conversations may be more manager driven, however are the first step in creating the space to connect and collaborate with thenew team member and demonstrating an open communication line.

Topics could include:

  • Asking the employee to share more about themselves – what they are looking forward to in their new role.
  • Asking the employee to share their aspirations – both professional & personal.
  • Asking the employee what gives them energy in a role & what drains it?.
  • Asking the employee what they value in a manager and what they expect from a manager.
  • Discussing the team dynamic and how everyone works together.
  • Discussing why & how 1:1 meetings will be set.


Feedback Meetings

Once a supportive and trusting working relationship has developed where continuous feedback is provided, a 1:1 feedback meeting may be held. These may be more of a one-off conversation and can provide the space for an employee to share with their manager any issues they are having with work or with the manager directly. Feedback meetings may also be used for a manager to provide feedback to an employee ‘in the moment’ rather than waiting until a next scheduled 1:1.

Topics could include:

  • Specific situations or feedback the employee wishes to discuss.
  • Any support they may need – whether they require more or less support than they are receiving.
  • An employee providing feedback around a manager’s management style – employees may share whether they are looking for their manager to do more or less of something such as amount of communication, or direction being provided.
  • Observations a manager has made – this could be on a range of matters such as a specific situation that has occurred, goals not progressing or the employee appearing disengaged.


Goal-Setting Meeting

A Goal-Setting Meeting is often held quarterly or annually, depending on a company’s goal-setting cycle. These conversations may be used to collaboratively discuss and set individual goals for an upcoming period and are generally both reflective and future focused.

Topics could include:

  • A recap on how goals are set in the company.
  • A reflection on how progress towards goals went in the previous period.
  • The upcoming Company and Team priorities.
  • Performance Goals for the upcoming period.
  • Personal Development Goals.


Growth/Development Meeting

A Growth/Development Meeting may be held to assist an employee in reflecting on and identifying growth/development areas. Whilst an employee is generally responsible for driving their own growth/development, these conversations may be used by a manager to support the employee and provide them with accountability. These conversations may be more future focused.

Topics could include:

  • What areas the employee would like to develop further.
  • What parts of an employee’s role they find inspiring, motivating & energizing.
  • What parts of an employee’s role do they find frustrating or boring?.
  • Personal Development Goals.
  • Professional Development Plan.
  • What next steps can the employee take towards their goals/plan.


1:1 Meeting Tips​

No matter what 1:1 type a manager may be having with an employee, it is important to ensure the conversations are effective and valuable.

A few tips for a successful 1:1 Meeting:

  • Ensure the 1:1 is taking place in a distraction free environment.
  • Try not to skip a 1:1 unless the employee has asked to reschedule.
  • Have the meeting topics ready and any materials reviewed prior to the meeting.
  • Demonstrate open and honest communication, to create a space where employees feel comfortable to discuss work and any concerns they have.
  • Start the conversation by listing what topics will be covered but ask the employee whether they want to add anything else (always leave a door open).
  • If there are more difficult things to discuss, try to bookend the conversation with positive topics, to ensure the meeting can be wrapped up on a more positive note.
  • Do not monopolise the conversation – in most 1:1s a manager should be listening more than talking.
  • Remember to ask the employee if there is any support they need. Be open to any feedback.
  • Send a follow up email with notes of the conversation. This will not only help record what was discussed but help preparation for the next meeting.
  • Regularly review the frequency of any regular 1:1 to ensure they remain valuable.


Need Help to Set up 1:1 Meetings?​

If your business needs assistance with setting up effective and valuable 1:1s, or developing managers to conduct 1:1s get in touch.

At Employment Innovations, we provide proven outsourced HR solutions specifically designed to help Australian SMEs, Australia-wide. Our team of dedicated HR professionals are experts in their field, and can act as an extension of your business. We deliver HR support locally, and our team is available on-demand, both virtually or on-site as required to assist with human resource management.



The information provided in these blog articles is general in nature and is not intended to substitute for professional advice. If you are unsure about how this information applies to your specific situation we recommend you contact Employment Innovations for advice.