A one-on-one meeting template for every conversation

Written by: Nora St-Aubin | Illustrated by: Chloé Allard
Published on: March 4, 2021 |  Reading time: 8m

One-on-one meetings keep you connected with your team members and the work they’re producing. When you’re having these important conversations weekly or even monthly with multiple direct reports, it can be challenging to keep your process streamlined and efficient. And that can make it difficult to get all the benefits of regular one-on-ones. The right one-on-one template helps make every conversation focused and productive. That way, you’re sure to cover the right talking points, follow up on action items, and create continuity from one conversation to the next. 

Use one of our 3 key one-on-one templates for your next meeting with a team member, so you can both walk away with a clear and common understanding of your next steps.

manager standing in front of an 1:1 dashboard

Prep one-on-ones in record time!

1-on-1 software that makes planning quick and conversations meaningful.

What is the purpose of a one-on-one meeting?

The practical purposes of one-on-one meetings include everything from getting status updates on employees’ priorities and deliverables to removing blockers and planning what’s coming up. But one-on-one meetings are also a moment to tackle difficult conversations, exchange feedback, discuss career goals, and much more.

15% of employees are dissatisfied with how often they communicate with their manager.

— Officevibe Pulse Survey data

Ultimately, the purpose of these one on one meetings is to maintain ongoing communication with each member of your team. This helps drive employee engagement, performance development, and team alignment. The guiding structure of a meeting agenda template for these conversations ensures that you cover the most important talking points every time.

We also put together a detailed one-on-one meeting guide for managers that covers everything you need to get started with one-on-one meetings.

What should you discuss in a one-on-one conversation?

Your one-on-one meeting conversation topics will vary depending on the context of your team and what each employee is currently working on. Whether you’re following up on an action item you set in your last meeting or giving feedback to your team member, the conversation will be more efficient with a clear agenda to refer to.

Even better is when you both contribute to the agenda, which boosts employee engagement and participation in the conversation.

Officevibe lets managers and employees set talking points in a shared meeting agenda throughout the week. You can save on prep time by selecting one of the customizable agenda templates offered directly in the app. When you both have visibility on what you’ll be discussing, it’s easy to arrive at the meeting prepared.

Quick tips to make one-on-one meetings more productive

No matter what type of one-on-one meeting you’re having, these tips will help you keep your conversations organized, productive, and driving real results.

  1. Set a recurring meeting with each employee: Schedule one-on-ones at regular intervals with every member of your team to keep communication ongoing.
  2. Have a dedicated space for meeting notes: Plan your meeting agenda, take notes, and set action items all in one place (whether it’s a google doc or a one-on-one software), so you can easily prepare in the flow of your work.
  3. Make a habit of following up: Get in the habit of adding an agenda item for your next one-on-one each time you wrap up, so you always follow up on commitments.

Classic one-on-one meeting template for weekly or biweekly check-ins

classic one-on-one meeting template

1. Informal check-in (5 minutes)

This might be your first one-on-one with a new employee or just a regular touchpoint. Start the conversation off with a warm tone. Especially when you’re having remote one-on-one meetings, it’s important to maintain your connection with employees. Ask your direct report what they got up to over the weekend, or what they’re most looking forward to in the next month.

2. Recent work recap (10 minutes)

Let your team member lead the discussion and aim to keep this part positive. Find opportunities to give recognition and express that you value their hard work.

Talking point prompts from Officevibe’s one-on-one software:

  • Can you share a recent example of a work situation in which you thrived? What were the key components that led to your success?
  • Describe a recent work situation where you felt you were at your best professionally.
  • What skills or actions enabled you to obtain your goal?

Find an easy-to-edit agenda template for classic check-ins in Officevibe’s one-on-one software. Plus, access dozens of suggested talking points for getting a status update (including the ones listed above).

3. Upcoming work preparation (10 minutes)

Look ahead together and mitigate any risks or blockers to your team member’s success in their upcoming work. With the context of their recent accomplishments still top of mind, you can also give specific feedback that’s applicable to what they’ll be working on next.

Talking point prompts from Officevibe:

  • As things stand, do you think the team will be able to achieve our goal? Why? 
  • In your judgement, is your workload reasonable? If it isn’t, can you suggest solutions that we could implement together to address the problem? 
  • What is your understanding of what is expected of you and your work in our current remote work context?

Access dozens of other suggested talking points to manage employee workloads in Officevibe’s one-on-one software.

4. Wrap-up and set action items (10 minutes)

Highlight the key takeaways of your discussion and set 2-3 action items together. Officevibe’s one-on-one software makes wrap-ups easy by letting you set trackable action items after every meeting.

Goal setting one-on-one meeting template

Goal setting one-on-one meeting template

Find an easy-to-edit agenda template for employee goal setting in Officevibe’s one-on-one software. Plus, have team members outline their individual goals directly in the app, so it’s easy to track progress week to week.

1. Employee self-reflection (before your one-on-one meeting)

Have your direct report reflect ahead on their skill sets and strengths, and how they might leverage these in their work.

Self-reflection prompts:

  1. What motivates you the most at work?
  2. What is one skill that is harder for you that you could work on?
  3. How would you like to use your strengths in the future?

2. Setting individual employee goals (during your one-on-one meeting)

Aim to set 2 or 3 goals with your employee, and balance performance goals with development goals. Beyond setting goals, be sure to discuss how your team member can achieve them, and what support they’ll need.

Questions for goal-setting one-on-one meetings:

  • What new knowledge would you need to obtain to achieve your goal more easily? How could you acquire it?
  • Do you have sufficient resources (IT, human, budgetary, material or others) to pursue your goal?
  • Do you need to have a clearer picture of how your individual goals allow us to attain our goals as a team or a company?

Access dozens of other suggested talking points for setting employee goals directly in the Officevibe app.

3. Establish smaller action items (wrapping up your one-on-one meeting)

How can you and your employee make strides towards accomplishing these long term goals? How can you equip them to succeed? Set a few smaller action items together, and add them as talking points in your next meeting agenda. Officevibe helps you follow up on every action item with meeting notes that carry over week to week.

Difficult conversation one-on-one meeting template

Difficult conversation one-on-one template

Find an easy-to-edit agenda template for having difficult conversations in Officevibe’s one-on-one software. Not sure what to say? Select from dozens of prewritten questions and talking points.

1. Establish the objective (5 minutes)

Give visibility on what you’d like to discuss by setting a talking point ahead, and start the difficult conversation with the employee by establishing a common objective. Do you want to give feedback, understand your team member’s perspective, or plan a solution to a problem? State your intentions clearly and give the employee a chance to do the same.

2. State the issue and its implications (5 minutes)

Get straight to the point and focus on the facts. What is the issue, what is its impact, and what are the potential consequences? Whether you’re addressing problematic employee behaviour or giving negative feedback, remember you can be both clear and compassionate at the same time.

3. Listen to what the employee has to say (10 minutes)

Allow time for your team member to express themselves, ask a question, or share their plan for moving forward. You can ask open-ended questions to encourage them to share their perspective and reflect on the situation.

One-on-one meeting questions to ask employees:

  • Why is it important to resolve this situation?
  • What’s at stake if we don’t resolve it?
  • How could you do things differently?

4. Check in and set action items (10 minutes)

Especially when you’re addressing more sensitive issues, you want to take the time to check in and establish next steps at the end of your conversation. Ask your employee how they’re feeling and what they’re taking from the conversation. Set your action items so you’re both clear on expectations going forward.

One-on-one meetings are how you stay connected with each direct report and build alignment across your team. No matter how the context changes week to week, having a template to structure the conversation helps you cover the most important agenda items and set action items that lead to real outcomes.

More one-on-one meeting questions for managers

If you’re still looking for more one-on-one meeting ideas, check out our extensive list of one-on-one meeting questions. We made a list of 40 questions and divided them by subject so you can address any situation and focus on your employees’ answers and what they need.

manager standing in front of an 1:1 dashboard

Prep one-on-ones in record time!

1-on-1 software that makes planning quick and conversations meaningful.