One-on-One Meetings: Everything You Should Know

1 on 1 meeting with employees can be a powerful tool to build communication and foster engagement. With the right questions and right tools, it can strike the right note every time.

Employee 1 on 1's
Employee on on one's are important for communication and engagement.

Employee one-on-one is one of the most effective tools to strengthen employee engagement and communication. These 1 on 1’s are usually conducted between managers- employees, HR- employees, etc.

The concept is pretty straightforward: meet regularly to discuss progress on goals, engagement, professional development, and more. Thus, it is open-ended and straightforward.

How often should one on one-on-ones be conducted?

Conducting one on ones with employees can be done either- monthly or quarterly. It is suggested to be done as regularly as possible to increase trust and build regular conversations. It can also help the managers check on the employee’s progress, get real-time insights and clarify doubts.

From an HR perspective, one on one helps to measure the engagement level, gain employee insight, and as a general practice, help communication, especially in a remote or hybrid scenario. Usually, one on one work for HR is better when done at least once in a quarter so that pain points are worked as early as possible.

Why conduct one on one with Employees?

One to one’s can be crucial for a team’s success for the following reasons:

Checking in

One on One meetings can be done as a general check-in to get updates, understand how things are progressing, what employees are currently working on, etc.

As a manager, this time is solely dedicated to the employee- thus, it can be used to solve any time-consuming queries or grievances. Further, it enables private discussion and allows a psychologically safe space for employees.

They make employees feel valued

From an employee perspective, 1 on 1 team meetings are set as only for them. In this conversation, the manager mainly listens and works on gaining insight. They feel heard, their opinions matter and this increases loyalty and respect for the company.

On average, only 15% of employees who work for a manager who does not meet regularly are engaged; managers who regularly meet with their employees almost 3x that level of engagement.

Foster Engagement

From an HR perspective, 1 on 1’s is great for building relationships and working on engagement. HR gets qualitative, in-depth analysis on the effectiveness of their engagement programs, training, seminars.

Furthermore, it provides a platform for employees to let HR know about suggestions and challenges faced while using certain tools. The most significant benefit is that it is a safe space to address any issues that they aren’t comfortable taking up with the manager or team.

Employees who get twice the number of one-on-ones with their manager relative to their peers are 67% less likely to be disengaged. One-on-ones with new employees can be especially beneficial to help them ease into the culture. 


The secret ingredient for any successful team is to be people-focused. One-on-one’s are open-ended; thus, increase communication. This communication helps set the context and encourages employees to air their issues.

It also builds a problem-solving mindset, identifies the cause of the problem, and helps develop a culture of honesty and transparency. The key to a good one-on-one meeting is the understanding that it is the employee’s meeting rather than the manager’s meeting.

How to conduct one-on-one meetings with employees?


  • One-on-one is for employees rather than managers. Thus, the focus should be on understanding their perspective, collecting feedback rather than justifying the manager’s actions. Making one on one more effective is a common question; the answer lies in the right mindset and proper focus- don’t steal the limelight away from employees. 
  • A calendar invite should be sent at least 2 days before with the context of the meeting and a general outline, i.e., topics (Goals and personal development) that would be discussed. Additionally, it is beneficial if employees are asked to introspect before the meeting.

Documentation and Questions for 1 on 1’s

  • Establishing short- and long-term goals
  • Uncovering initial perceptions of the organization, their team, and their role
  • Making a detailed document about meeting notes, feedbacks etc so that nothing is lost in translation.

The questions should be divided into four types — or levels — of employees’ performance/ development needs:

  • Rapport building: To understand how things are going beyond work, family, and a general word of wishing well. (It also gives insight on how things are at home. It can help drive conclusions in case of diminishing productivity. )
  • Individual needs– Certifications, courses, any training which is required. Solving/ Connecting about tools or platforms that are used. Work-life balance, changes in daily tasks: individual goals and how the manager can help, KRA’s and what has been accomplished.
  • Teamwork needs- Relationship with peers, communication on the team, challenges faced during communication with the team (could be language, attitude, deadlines or technical issues), suggestions to increase the productivity of the team,
  • Personal growth needs: How is the employee’s growth at the company, learning curve, feedback process, company initiatives taken, and suggestions.


EngageWith is a reward and recognition tool that allows:

  1. Peer to Peer recognition: In the form of shoutout/kudos to anyone within the company. A little bit of empathy and recognition can go a long way. Remember, Karma is a boomerang!
  2. Social Recognition: EngageWith allows recognition both private and publicly. It will enable recognition from managers, teammates, and different departments. When championed according to your company’s values- it trickles appreciation to the roots of your company’s culture!
  3. Customizable Reward: EngageWith points can be redeemed to purchase whatever YOU like. Why settle for something that you wouldn’t want? Choose from the best of Amazon, Nike, Bath and Body works etc. We have all the range- I hope you’re ready with your choice!
  4. Dynamic Leaderboards: It ranks individuals based on appreciation sent & received. Keep your team’s engagements ticking and motivations lively.
  5. Pulse Surveys: Our newest feature, Employee Pulse Surveys lets you collect survey feedback company-wide or on a private slack channel hassle-free. This means more data , better insight and greater feedback on your fingertips. It can be anonymous/non-anonymous and allows various customizations according to different metrics such as Diversity&Inclusion, Team Building, Conflict Management, etc. Say goodbye to long, tedious surveys. Say hello to EngageWith Pulse.

Coming soon:

EngageWith’s 1 on 1’s:

Continuous feedback can pave the way towards more productivity. EngageWith is soon launching 1 on 1’s with features such as

  • EngageWith can share easy scheduling of recurring meetings, agenda, documents, and questions beforehand to boost productivity and improve focus.
  • The best part is that meeting notes can be shared/ viewed by both parties, and the host can store private notes made in the discussion – this means easy storage and more accountability.

There are many more features coming up!

One-on-one conversations can be scary, but with the right tools and the right questions, you can strike the right note every time. Happier employees= More productivity!

Anushka Vaishampayan

Yes, I study Psychology. No, I cannot read minds.

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