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4 Types of One-on-Ones You Should be Having

/ 1.21.19

Think about the last one-on-one you had with your manager: You probably discussed your performance, but did you cover anything else? That’s exactly where the problem lies: one-on-ones often center around performance when, in reality, they can, and should, be about a lot more.


Managers can do three things to drive engagement through one-on-ones: (1) make sure employees’ opinions and ideas are heard, (2) provide employees with opportunities for growth and development, and (3) give employees the information and resources needed to set them up for success. To achieve these goals, consider conducting one, or all, of these one-on-one conversations.



1.    Goal-Setting: This conversation should be conducted at the beginning of the year and should act as a    roadmap moving forward. Employees and managers discuss goals, address performance and areas of development, identify personal barriers, pinpoint stretch goals, and assess the resources needed for the      employee to succeed.


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2.    Performance: A performance-related one-on-one should be held at least once per quarter after initial    goals have been set. This conversation gives employees and managers the opportunity to discuss goal progress, obstacles, and any feedback they may have recently received.


It is often difficult for an employee to deal with negative feedback, whether it’s from a coworker or customer. This open discussion allows employees to share their points of view and, with help from the        manager, decide on an alternative course of action to avoid the problem in the future. This builds trust        between employee and manager, which is key to a strong relationship!


3.    Career development: Because career growth is such an important driver of employee engagement and  retention, it is important that these conversations occur at least once per year. They help managers ensure that employees are driving their own development while still acting as a supporter in prioritizing                their growth.


These conversations are usually more personal than those tied to performance, so it may be the right time  to talk through any life changes or milestones that an employee is going through, such as the birth of a child, death of a loved one, marriage, divorce, etc. By talking through these life events, the manager can check in on an employee’s mental and emotional state and provide accommodations if needed.


Career development conversations also offer a time to discuss organizational changes. While this may be    discussed by the broader team or organization, having individual conversations provides employees the environment to bring up any concerns or reservations that they may have overlooked in a group setting. It is important for managers to address those concerns.


4.    Monthly one-on-ones: If you desire continuous conversations, you can schedule monthly one-on-ones as a tool to supplement earlier conversations and further develop the relationship between employee and manager. These conversations can involve sharing ideas, working through feedback and obstacles, and further discussion of performance, goals, and growth.


Monthly check-ins are especially helpful for new employees. Whether new to the organization or the team, having regular, frequent one-on-ones accelerates a relationship between employee and manager                and ensures that the employee’s onboarding is going smoothly.


Scattering these types of one-on-ones throughout the year grants both the manager and the employee the ability to stay up-to-date on all-things important (performance, areas of improvement, feedback, and obstacles) to drive employee engagement.


To learn more about making the most of your next one-on-one, download our The Big Book of 350 One-on-One Meeting Questions ebook.


The Big Book of 350 One-on-One Meeting Questions



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