The Importance of 1:1 Meetings — And What You Should Discuss in Them

4 min read
Mar 17, 2016

The Importance of 1:1 Meetings by TINYpulseIt’s true that technology and the evolution of business philosophies have drastically altered the way organizations operate today. To start, here are two examples as to how technology has changed business:

  • Instead of flying across the country to meet with team members stationed there, workers can hop on a quick video conference and meet virtually. It saves a lot of time and a lot of money.
  • Rather than having to walk across the office — or up a few flights of stairs for that matter — to talk to a colleague, workers can shoot them a quick instant message. This saves some time, which, over the course of a year and spread out across an organization, translates into significant savings.

And here are two examples of how philosophies have changed business:

  • In the past, organizations might have been comfortable reviewing their employees’ performance on an annual basis. But times have changed. Businesses now understand the importance of checking in with their employees regularly — and those check-ins, too, are aided by technology.
  • Employers of yore might have salivated at the prospect of working their staffs long and hard. Today’s decision makers understand the importance of work-life balance; employees won’t be productive when they’re exhausted.

With these things considered, because the medium has been around since the beginning of the modern business era, the one-on-one meeting might seem a little outdated.

Rest assured it’s not.


Importance of One-on-One Meetings

At TINYpulse, employees meet with their managers each week to talk about all aspects of work — not just the work itself. These meetings are extremely beneficial. In addition to building a better relationship with their managers, employees are able to share ideas and concerns. Employees are also able to vent — if they need to.

But in my experience, the frequency of one-on-one meetings is directly correlated to how much I need to vent; the more I maintain an open dialogue with my manager, the less there is to “vent” about.

First and foremost, one-on-one meetings help ensure managers and employees remain on the same page. Speaking for myself, it’s great to know that my manager always has my back — whenever I have a question, a comment, or a concern, I know I’ll get helped right away or we'll work on a solution together.

From an organization’s point of view, one-on-one meetings help employees stay engaged. Since engaged employees are more productive and more likely to stick around, it’s definitely in your company’s best interest to keep one-on-one meetings in place — or hold more of them if your company has been slacking in this area.

Beyond engagement, one-on-ones provide great opportunities for managers to coach and train their employees. You can discuss an employee’s weekly performance and offer a few tidbits of advice as to how they could do better next week.

Now that you understand the necessity of one-on-one meetings, it’s time to figure out what needs to be discussed in order for such engagements to be most productive.

Here are some ideas:


1. Ask how your employees are feeling at work

Happy employees are more productive than their forlorn peers. If you check in with your team members and they all tell you that they hate coming to work lately, it’s definitely time for you to reassess your operations and see what you can change in order to improve that statistic.

According to our Employee Engagement Report, less than 33% of employees feel valued at work. You might not know which of your workers fall into that category unless you ask them.


2. Are they meeting their goals? If not, why? 

It can be hard for any manager to keep track of the performance of every one of their employees. Managers have a ton on their plates as it is. As long as things are going smoothly overall, there might not be much reason to dig down into the minutiae.

No matter how well your team is doing collectively, nearly 70% of employees feel as though they aren’t able to get all their work done each week, according to our report. Maybe that’s because they have too much on their plate. Maybe it’s because they aren’t equipped with the tools they need to get the job done. Maybe it’s because they’re not motivated.

Whatever the case may be, if your employees aren’t meeting their goals, one-on-one meetings serve as the perfect opportunity to diagnose problems and prescribe solutions.


3. Find out what your employees are most excited about 

You know the old saying: different strokes for different folks. Some of your employees will prefer doing certain tasks, and they’ll hate doing others. You’ll have other employees who would sign up for the exact opposite workload.

Do you know if your employees actually enjoy what they’re doing? Or do they wish they involved with other kinds of projects? Ask your employees what things they’re working on that make them the most excited. This information should help you figure out how to most efficiently allocate employee resources.


4. Find out what they dread

There’s no sense in forcing your employees to do things they hate doing if there are other alternatives. When you sit down to talk to your workers in a one-on-one setting, find out what parts of their jobs they could do without. 

Who knows? Maybe someone on your marketing team will tell you they absolutely hate using Twitter but love writing white papers. You might find out another team member is their exact foil.


5. Is there anything you can do to help employees be more successful? 

You expect your employees to do their jobs. But it’s your job to give them the support they need to reach their full potential. One-on-one meetings provide the perfect venue to ask your employees what you can do to make their jobs easier. Ask them what you can do to help, specifically, after listening to what they have to say about everything else.

It’s true that one-on-one meetings have been a staple of the modern workplace for a long time. But many employees have relied on coffee to energize them for even longer. Some things just don’t go out of fashion.



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