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[Template] How Managers Can Increase Engagement with One-on-One Meetings

/ 10.27.16



When it comes to increasing employee engagement, managers have a lot of influence. Frequent interactions from one-on-one meetings to the casual "Good morning! How are you?" — with direct reports give managers the opportunity to positively (or negatively) impact their employees' perception of work every day. 


Consider this:

85.7% of highly engaged organizations conduct regular manager-employee one-on-one meetings. They even rate one-on-one meetings as their #1 communication strategy, ranking above all-company meetings and emails from leadership. But managers are getting worse at giving regular constructive feedback via one-on-one meetings— and it's negatively impacting engagement. In fact, 85% of hostile employees say they don't receive frequent enough feedback and coaching from their manager. 


You get the picture. Manager-employee interaction plays a crucial role when it comes to engaging employees. 


So how do managers leverage their interactions to keep employees engaged? How can they create an environment of open feedback and show they care? How do they make sure effective, ongoing employee coaching doesn’t slip through the cracks and lead to disengagement?


Enter One-on-One Meetings.

Template for One-on-One Meetings



Engaging one-on-one meetings (not to be confused with your stereotypical manager-employee interaction filled with anxiety, constructive criticism, and one-way conversation) are an open forum where both the manager and employee can give and receive feedback on a regular, ongoing basis. They're arguably the most critical component of a motivating employee performance program. We recommend you hold a manager-employee meeting monthly or quarterly — if managers can’t meet with each team member at least four times a year, the team might be too big. In each meeting, managers and employees discuss goals, obstacles, opportunities, and decisions (GOOD). Here’s the breakdown:



What do you want to achieve? Discuss the status of goals since your last one-on-one meeting, analyze the progress made on current goals, and plan for new and upcoming goals.

  • What long-term goals have we agreed to?
  • How have things gone since we last spoke?
  • What are our plans until next time?


What’s standing in the way of your success? Talk through the obstacles that are standing in the way of goal completion and overall employee success. This can be anything from lack of resources to conflict with a coworker to unproductive work environment.

  • What’s standing in your way?
  • What have I noticed getting in your way?
  • What can I do to help? What can you do?


Where do you want to go from here? Discuss employee opportunities for recognition of work, personal and professional growth, and increased job satisfaction.

  • What are you proud of that people don’t know about?
  • Do you feel you’re growing toward where you want to be?
  • What could we do to make this your dream job?



What will be done before our next one-on-one meeting? Make decisions on what will be accomplished before your next meeting. Decide who will tackle which tasks and recap any new or updated goals.

  • What actions will you take before next time?
  • What actions will I take before next time?
  • What other big decisions did we make?

Effective feedback is always specific, frequent, outcome-focused, positive, and conversational. Make sure your one-on-one meetings are GOOD; leverage our one-on-one meeting template below.


Free template! One-on-One Meetings




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