Are you someone who believes one-on-one meetings are a bit too bossy and intimidating for employees?

Well, it’s not as rigid as it sounds.

Such meetings help build a proper bond between managers and employees, enabling them to understand each other.

Individual meetings are crucial to any company's success. These sessions are crucial for open communication between managers and workers, which boosts teamwork and organizational coherence.

Managers must hold effective one-on-one meetings to improve their employees' careers and maximize their potential. Let's discuss the benefits of conducting one-on-one meetings and look at 10 tips that help you and your employees get the most out of these meetings.

Are One-on-One Meetings Beneficial?

One-on-one meetings really do matter! If you have been putting it off, then it's high time you stopped.

You might be missing out on relevant information about your employees, which could help you see them in a better light!

One-on-one meetings enhances communication, teamwork, and employee growth. It provides a platform for open dialogue, enabling managers to understand their employees better, and offer guidance. Don't delay these valuable sessions – they foster a supportive, united work environment.

It also helps each individual know that the organization takes their thoughts and feelings into account.

When individuals feel that way, they work more and stay longer. When Adobe switched up their one-on-one meetings to every two weeks, they benefitted from a 30% reduction in voluntary turnover.

One-on-one meetings between managers and their team members may not address all issues, but they can be a powerful tool for managers to tackle common workplace challenges, including:

  1. Improper communication
  2. Lack of constructive feedback
  3. Stunted personal and career growth opportunities
  4. Declining trust in management
  5. Unresolved concerns
  6. Interpersonal and interdepartmental disputes
  7. Uncertain job objectives

10 Tips for Successful One-on-One Meetings

One-on-one meetings are essential for workplace communication and engagement. Its actually fun once you get on with it. Here are 10 tips for maximizing these interactions:

1. Establish a routine

Set a weekly, bimonthly, or monthly one-on-one schedule. Consistency in meetings gives employees time to voice issues, obtain advice, and receive feedback. You may organize 30-minute Friday morning meetings with each team member.

2. Provide a safe, positive atmosphere

Encourage transparency and compassion in one-on-one conversations. Make it obvious that employees may freely discuss their concerns and solutions.  Respect employee concerns about a project and work together to develop solutions.

3. Make one-on-one meeting agendas beforehand

Rather than just winging it, create and circulate an agenda before the meeting to guide the conversation and cover all essential subjects. Allow staff to suggest topics. This makes it easier for you and the employee to arrive prepared and utilize time to the utmost extent.

4. Prioritize employee development

Discuss professional objectives, ambitions, and progress in one-on-one sessions to grow employees. Give honest comments to enhance your employee’s abilities. Identify areas for development and provide coaching or training to further their career.

360-degree feedback systems offer employees a comprehensive perspective on their strengths and areas needing improvement by gathering input from various sources, including peers and managers. This well-rounded approach ensures a balanced assessment of performance, rather than solely relying on the manager's judgment.

5. Ask open-ended questions

Ask questions that invite thoughtful replies to spark meaningful conversations. Avoid asking "yes" or "no" questions. Instead of "Are you satisfied with your current project?" Ask, "What aspects of your current project do you find most satisfying, and which areas could be improved?"

Here are 19 such questions that every leader should ask their employees to improve performance, and enhance engagement.

6. Follow up on previous discussions

Fulfilling prior session action items shows your commitment to employee achievement. Celebrate triumphs and discuss issues since the last meeting. This indicates you care about their progress and achievements.

7. Celebrate successes

Celebrate successes in one-on-one sessions. When efforts are rewarded, workplace morale and good behavior rise. Praise them for finishing a difficult assignment or showing great collaboration.

8. Address issues

Discuss personnel issues one-on-one. Now this is a bit of a danger zone, so tread carefully.

One wrong question can bring down all of your hard work. Only ask personal questions that you think are relevant in the professional setting or that affect the productivity of employees.

Make sure the employee is comfortable enough before you ask such questions as well. 

9. Encourage two-way feedback.

To promote positive criticism, encourage personnel to discuss team dynamics, work procedures, and company performance.

Take criticism with grace and make improvements to show you value their thoughts. One-on-one meetings don't mean that the manager does all the talking. Make it an equal platform where the employee finds it safe to voice their opinion. 

Incorporating feedback surveys is another valuable tool for gauging your employees' thoughts and sentiments. Anonymous surveys, in particular, encourage honest and transparent feedback.

For instance, leveraging employee engagement platforms like ThriveSparrow empowers managers to foster candid feedback. Such platforms help dispel employees' fears of being overly candid or worrying about peer perceptions.

A screenshot of ThriveSparrow's anonymous survey response section
A glimpse into ThriveSparrow's anonymous survey response section

Create a customized survey in just a few clicks using our research-backed question bank. Receive candid and transparent feedback effortlessly. Sign up for free today and take action to build trust and supercharge employee engagement!

10. Respect others' privacy and time 

Attend the meeting on time and don't cancel unless it's essential. Maintain the secrecy of critical information disclosed throughout the session to build employee trust.

Do not cancel the meeting and reschedule it unless and until it is absolutely unavoidable.

Also, make sure to not use the information provided by the employee during the meeting in a public or open setting. If not, it diminishes the integrity of the meeting and the trust the employee places in the company and the manager. 

Some One-On-One Mistakes to Avoid

One-on-one meetings with managers are surely useful, but every manager should be aware of several pitfalls they must avoid in order to guarantee the effectiveness of such meetings. Avoid these common mistakes:

1. No proper preparation

Without proper planning, one-on-one meetings might be useless and miss employee development opportunities. Never start a meeting without reviewing the employee's performance, goals, and previous meeting notes.

2. Center of attention

Two-way interactions are so much better than monologues. Allow the employee to show their thoughts and concerns without dominating the conversation.

Attend to their words without interrupting. Keep in mind that the meeting is more about the employee than the manager. 

3. Just negative feedback

Constructive criticism is necessary for progress, but focusing on negative input can demoralize and hinder personnel.

Maintain a balance between constructive criticism and praise. Only giving negative feedback can do more bad than good when it comes to this type of meeting. 

4. Ignoring employee growth

Growth and professional goals must be discussed in individual sessions. Avoid neglecting these talks and prioritize employee development. Always include elements that direct to opportunities for employee growth and development. It makes sure that the employee feels seen and heard.

5. Changing or canceling frequently

1-1 sessions must be successful to be effective. Regular postponements or cancellations may make participants feel that the meeting is unimportant, lowering their confidence.

But in cases where you do cancel the meeting, make sure to let the employee know that beforehand and give them a valid explanation for the same. 

6. Ignoring employee input

Encourage employee input, but also take their recommendations seriously and execute them as appropriate.

They may feel neglected and uninterested if their offers are rejected. Remember, this type of meeting places emphasis on both the participants, and maybe a bit more importance on employees.

7. Failure to set goals

One-on-one interactions may lack focus without goals. Set specific objectives and communicate them with the employee for each meeting to ensure a productive dialogue. Do not seem unprepared and aloof during such meetings as employees quickly catch on to such gestures. 

8. Micromanagement 

One-on-one meetings should not be used for micromanaging staff members. Avoid over-analyzing their task or monitoring their progress to avoid aggravating them and diminishing their liberty.

You're Ready for One-on-ones

Adding vitality and interactivity to one-on-one meetings may boost trust and employee engagement. An "Employee Engagement Boost" button may not exist, but encouraging a supportive and engaging workplace is where the magic happens.

Fun moments and meaningful talks may inspire your team to achieve goals. So, take some of these tips to add wit to your next one-on-one. Your employees will thank you, and your organization will surely benefit from this as well.

We at ThriveSparrow believe in strong leadership and transparent communication. If you feel stuck or confused at any point, just click the chatbot in the corner, and we will be there to help you with it.


1. What are the benefits of one-on-one meetings?

One-on-one meetings include several advantages such as:

  1. Enhanced communication
  2. Increased employee engagement
  3. Improved relationships with each team member
  4. Increased productivity
  5. Accurate feedback and actionable tactics

2. What should a one-on-one meeting include?

A one-on-one meeting should include an open conversation between a manager and an employee. It's a chance to discuss goals, provide feedback, address concerns, and promote professional growth.

3. What is the importance of one-on-one meetings?

One-on-one meetings fosters communication, trust, and understanding between managers and employees. They enhance teamwork and employee morale, leading to a more cohesive and productive workplace.

4. What is the meaning of one-on-one discussions?

A one-on-one discussion is a private, individualized conversation between a manager and an employee. It allows both parties to exchange ideas, feedback, and insights, promoting collbaoration and fostering a better working relationship.