Do you have one-on-one meeting goals? Here’s how to set some

Written by: Stacy Pollack | Edited by: Nora St-Aubin | Illustrated by: Officevibe team
Published on: October 27, 2021 |  Reading time: 6m

As a people manager, your ability to coach and mentor to your employees makes all the difference. To flex that coaching and feedback muscle, you need to be having regular one-on-ones with your direct reports. But are you making the most of those conversations? Do you have clear objectives for the time you spend with employees?

Just like most areas of life, having goals for your meetings keeps the ball moving and ensures that you’re heading towards your north star. One-on-ones are no different!

Without an established purpose, meetings can start to feel directionless and even like time wasted. When it comes to one-on-one meetings, this can lead to employee disengagement, a lack of direction in professional development, and even employees feeling disconnected from work on a personal level.

Having goal-driven meetings ensures that you maximize the time you have with employees, and that conversations lead to real results. So what are the main one-on-one meeting goals, and how can you set some of your own? Keep reading to find out!

4 Common one-on-one meeting goals

When it comes to setting one-on-one goals, you don’t have to start from scratch. Here are some common goals managers have for these important check ins with employees, so they can get all the benefits from one-on-one meetings.

1. Relationship building

Research shows a positive correlation between employees who have a strong relationship with their boss and their productivity at work. This is why positive employee-manager relationships are so critical to developing high-performing teams.

One-on-ones are one of the best ways to get to know your employees, build relationships, and maintain a personal connection. They give you a chance to actively listen to your employees, hear their problems, and answer questions they might have.

Remote work tip: If you’re having virtual or remote one-on-one meetings, make sure you have your camera on, notifications off, and you’re fully present to connect on a human level.

2. Employee engagement

The importance and the benefits of employee engagement really can’t be understated. People want to feel connected, motivated, and like they’re having an impact at work. This means having opportunities for career development and the chance to apply and grow their skill set day to day.

Individual conversations with employees are a good moment to gauge people’s engagement level. This is the perfect time to ask open-ended one-on-one meeting questions. Strive to understand what’s motivating (or demotivating) the people on your team.

Engagement tip: If you use an employee Pulse Survey tool, you can discuss current levels of engagement and any trends or fluctuations you see on your reports during one-on-one meetings. With Officevibe, you can easily set engagement metrics as one-on-one talking points right in the app.

3. Career development

Having a clear career path and goals that align with that vision helps employees feel like they’re moving in the right direction. People want to know that they have room to grow on your team and at your company.

Some managers use one-on-one time for career chats. Spending some focused time talking about career development with your employees will help them stay engaged and invested in the team. It also lets them know that you care about their growth and are invested in their success.

Having a career conversation: Not sure how to bring up someone’s future career path or connect it with the team goals? A meeting template for discussing career development could help. Ask the right questions about career development to help them set a growth path in your company context.

4. Exchanging direct feedback

For people to grow and achieve their goals, there needs to be feedback exchange. Employees want to get constructive and honest feedback from their managers. It helps them know how they can improve, and what they’re doing well. Plus, you want to get feedback from your employees so you know how to better support your team.

One-on-one meetings are the best setting for sharing constructive feedback (and sometimes even negative feedback) with employees. This is part of what it means to be a coach, and an important practice so no one is surprised when it’s time for bi-annual or annual performance reviews.

Track your feedback: Make sure you’re taking notes in every meeting and setting action items you can follow up on. With a one-on-one tool like Officevibe, you can easily store all your meeting notes in one place, so planning annual reviews is a breeze.

What employees and managers get from their meetings

When you’re the manager:

  • Setting expectations and making sure roles and responsibilities are clear. This helps you build a more autonomous, high-performing team, so you can take a step back.
  • Gaining confidence in your managerial abilities and instincts. When you’re able to solve problems and guide employees, you know your instincts are driving your team in the right direction.
  • Delegating work off to the folks on your team. This helps clear up your time for more strategic work while giving people on your team the opportunity to shine.

When you’re the employee:

  • A safe space for your to ask questions, raise flags, and address challenges you’re facing with your manager, so you don’t end up stuck in your work.
  • Connecting with your manager at an individual level, building a relationship and rapport with them. This will help you feel comfortable to reach out for support and offer your honest opinions and feedback.
  • A chance to discuss your professional development and career ambitions. The opportunity to see how your work fits into the bigger picture at a company level.

How to set realistic one on one meeting goals (with your direct reports)

Before scheduling recurring one-on-ones with all your team members, establish what you’re both looking to get from them. Based on these goals, you can work together to create meeting agendas and set talking points that will help you really drive those desired results.

One-on-ones are a time to get a status report, tackle challenges, give feedback, track employees’ career goals, and delegate tasks. That’s a lot, so pinpointing what your short-term and long-term goals will help you keep your one-on-one conversations focused.

With the goals outlined above in mind, you can set more specific goals for your one-on-one meetings. These could be the same for every employee on your team, or different based on their individual aspirations and role in the team.

For example: One employee may be keen on meeting specifically for feedback and coaching. Another might prefer to spend their time discussing their career aspirations and goal progress.

Tips for setting (and achieving) great one-on-one meeting goals

  • You may choose to set a new goal each week or spend a few weeks focusing on the same goal. Check in at the start of every meeting to make sure you’re on the same page and know how you want to use your time.
  • Define success and set some milestones, so you’ll know if you’re meeting your goals with your employees. Follow up frequently to see when it’s time to move on from your current goal or goals, or when you might need to spend more time.
  • Have a dedicated space for meeting notes, whether it’s a google doc or one-on-one software. This makes it easier for you to arrive prepared at every meeting without adding to your workload.
  • Use a one-on-one meeting agenda template to make sure you cover all the most important talking points and make the best use of your time. You can even use a goal-setting structure to establish your meeting goals together.
  • 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.

Have more productive meetings with clearly set goals

With so much distraction in our lives, setting goals for our meetings helps you stay on track, organize your time and resources, and ultimately keep building a thriving team. This way, you can run more effective meetings with your team members, and make the best use of everyone’s time. What will your next one-on-one meeting goal be?