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The Importance of 1:1 Meetings

Do you hold regular checkins with employees? So many businesses, (and small businesses in particular), overlook the value in having regular 1:1 meetings with employees. They can often be too singularly focused on checking off whether or not to-do items are being completed, without checking in on how their employee is doing personally and professionally.

Are your employees satisfied with their work? What are their longterm career goals? Is there anything they need to be more satisfied at work? Ideally, a manager shouldn’t be surprised if their employee resigns if they are having the right conversations in those 1:1 checkins.

These 1:1 meetings will help your team be more productive and help retain employees longterm. Regular checkins give managers a pulse on projects, challenges and uncover potential conflicts or engagement issues. These meetings also act as a way to give employee feedback more often and in a less formal setting than a review. Let employees vent, share concerns and fears in a safe setting.

  1. Don't wait for reviews to hold 1:1 meetings, talk regularly

  2. Keep meetings casual, employees will feel more comfortable, open and honest

  3. Check in on current projects, if they need help or feel overloaded

  4. Help your team set goals and prioritize tasks

  5. Ask about their personal lives. Have they had a major life event recently? How is their favorite hobby going? How was that event they attended? How is their family? Showing an interest in who they are as a person outside of work will show they are valued.

Here are some good questions to ask during employee-manager 1:1s:

How are you? How is life outside of work?

What projects are you working on right now? Do you need help?

How do you feel your work-life balance is right now?

Is there anything you need from me to be better supported?

Are you having any issues at work?

Do you feel challenged at work?

What skills would you like to be developing or utilizing more?

Is there an area of your work that you want to improve?

What do you want to be doing in 5 years? In 10?

Is there any additional training or education you would be interested in?

How often should you hold one-on-one meetings?

One-on-one meetings should ideally occur every week or bi-weekly. If your employee is having an issue, a full month (or a quarter) is a long time to wait to have it addressed. However, monthly meetings may be sufficient for more veteran team members.

Schedule a standing time with each of your team members individually, and in a private setting. Your meeting should be anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour, depending how often you hold checkins. If they are weekly, a quick 15-minute chat may suffice, but block off at least 30 minutes to allow the conversation to develop and not be rushed. Make sure you prioritize this time and really give them your full attention.

How Can You Tell if Your Virtual Employees are Struggling?

Without in-person office connections and water cooler chats, it's more important than ever to check in on those virtual employees and gauge their emotional well-being. Some red flags to look for in regards to virtual workers could be absenteeism, tardiness and lack of participation during meetings. Is their camera off during most meetings? Do they seem frustrated with virtual work processes? Is something going on in their personal lives? These personal checkins can help shed some light on possible issues at work.


What other tips do you have for employee 1:1 meetings? How often do you hold checkins?

What questions do you like to ask your team?


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