One-on-one meetings are necessary if you manage people. It's an effective way to check-in on your employees and offer them support, so they can perform to the best of their abilities.
Most managers find one-on-one meetings uncomfortable or difficult because they don't have a structure to follow. Employees also dread one-on-one meetings when they don't find them valuable. This causes meetings to be ineffective and a waste of time.
Using a one-on-one meeting template makes meetings less stressful, more effective, and, when done well, can increase trust between a manager and their team members.
You can utilize the free Nimbus one-on-one meetings template to keep you focused on the topics you need to discuss and avoid wasting time with unimportant details.

How to Use the Nimbus One-on-One Meetings Template

Add in the following details:

    User Information
  • Define what type of meeting it is, such as a quarterly performance review or a monthly progress update.
  • Mention the date / time of the meeting.
  • Identify who needs to attend, which is usually the person organizing the meeting with an employee.
  • Include the important topics to discuss.
  • Mention relevant issues that need to be brought up.
  • Capture anything interesting from your discussion that you want to remember. This can also include agreements reached.
  • Also, capture anything you want to remember that you would like to follow-up on during the next one.
    Action to Take
  • Record decisions made and what needs to get done, who to assign them to, and when they need to be done by.
  • Include any additional tasks that need to be done.
  • Close any loose ends, which means capturing anything else that may involve others in the company or need to be discussed further.

What is a One-on-One Meeting?

A one-on-one meeting is a scheduled appointment between a manager and employee, with discussion topics focused on the employee's priorities or projects, performance, challenges, and professional development.

It's an opportunity to raise issues that need to be addressed or answer questions so that both the manager and employee are satisfied with the outcome.

The frequency of a one-on-one meeting depends on the purpose of having one. If it's a performance review, that's usually done quarterly, and sometimes, even every six months.

If it's related to a project, it can be scheduled weekly or fortnight, or even daily, depending on what's happening.

What is a One-on-One Meeting Template?

A one-on-one meeting template is a document that outlines what's needed for a successful one-on-one session.

It's a tool a manager and employee can use as a meeting agenda and to capture notes they can refer to during future meetings.

A one-on-one meeting template helps a manager have a structured meeting to maximize the time available.

The Importance of Having Effective One-on-One Meetings

It's important to have effective one-on-one meetings if you're a manager for several reasons.

1. Get to know your team members better

You may have introverted and extroverted team members. Those who are usually quiet or reserved may not speak up or contribute ideas in a group setting. A one-on-one meeting offers a safe space for them to share what's on their mind and how they are dealing with issues and challenges. This will give you insight into how they work, what motivates them, and how you can support them in their professional development.

2. Build trust

Once you've done a few one-on-one meetings effectively, you will develop a level of trust with a team member. When there is trust between a manager and employee, they're more likely to take onboard feedback received without getting offended or having any resentment.

3. Make informed decisions

If you take notes during your one-on-one meetings, that will help you decide who to offer bonuses, pay rises, promotions, or other benefits. It won't be based on just your opinion, because you will have documented evidence.

4. Address problems quickly

One-on-one meetings are valuable information-gathering sessions. It's usually how managers find out about problems, which gives them the chance to address them quickly before they become bigger issues. It's also an opportunity for a manager to ask questions one-on-one with those facing a problem or challenge.

5. Improved team and company culture

When everyone is held to the same standard, it creates a culture of consistency and high performance. That will help improve morale, increase engagement, and lead to higher levels of job satisfaction among your employees.

The Benefits of Using a One-on-One Meeting Template

5. Improved team and company culture

When everyone is held to the same standard, it creates a culture of consistency and high performance. That will help improve morale, increase engagement, and lead to higher levels of job satisfaction among your employees.

    When you use a one-on-one meeting template, the benefits include:

  1. It will keep you focused. You will know what you need to discuss because you will have a structure to follow.
  2. It will save you time. You will not discuss items that are not relevant, which means you can reduce how much time your one-on-one meeting will take.
  3. Communication will improve. A template allows for better communication because everyone knows what will be discussed.
  4. More accountability. Having a template means each team member needs to come prepared. When they know what will be discussed, they're more likely to complete their action items by the due dates.
  5. Greater teamwork. Everyone knows what is expected of them when they attend a one-on-one meeting. They will know what they're doing is valuable, and they're contributing to the objectives of the company.

How to Structure a One-on-One Meeting?

The purpose of a one-on-one meeting is for a manager to communicate with an employee. A manager can provide updates and share information relevant to the employee. It's also for the employee to provide a progress update, identify challenges or issues they're experiencing, which they both then can work together to solve.

This is a reason to prepare an agenda for the meeting so both the manager and employee know what to discuss.

Here are some ideas to structure your one-on-one meeting.

1. Greeting and checking-in

Some managers prefer to get straight into the agenda. Others prefer a more casual start. Whichever style works better for you, also consider what works better for the employee. Adapting to the employee's style will help build trust.

    If you want to begin your meeting casually, consider these as prompts to start your discussion:

  • Ask how their day has been so far.
  • Ask what they're looking forward to that day or that week.
  • Ask them about something interesting that has happened recently.

    If you prefer a formal start and want to get straight into your agenda, consider these prompts:

  • State the purpose of the meeting.
  • Do an overview of the agenda and how long you expect it to last.
  • Ask if they have anything pressing on their mind that they would like to share.
2. Recap your previous discussion

To close the loop after your previous meeting, revisit the notes you took and check-in on action items that had been raised. This is an opportunity for the employee to provide an update and whether they had anything come up since that meeting. If an action item was not done, this is your chance to offer support or question why it was not done. This is part of holding an employee accountable and ensuring they are performing to the standard you expect them to.

3. Review previous and current priorities

If it's a quarterly performance review, ask them about their wins and what they have accomplished. It's a good practice to ask the employee to rate themselves and compare it to how you would rate their performance. This is a powerful way to manage expectations and avoid disagreements that could influence an employee's bonus, pay rise, or promotion opportunities.

If it's a regular check-in related to a project, ask them what they are working on at the moment and how are they progressing. Clarify what their goal is and whether it aligns with what you think it is. Find out if they're experiencing issues and, before offering suggestions, ask the employee how they think they can overcome them. This ensures they become better problem-solvers.

4. Clarify the next steps

Once you've discussed priorities, ask the employee what their next steps are. Capture them in your notes because that's what you will follow-up on during the next meeting. If an employee is unsure what their next steps are, ask them what their main priorities are and what they think they should focus on next.

5. Allow time to discuss other items

Life happens and sometimes, someone may be going through something outside of work that could affect their performance. Give the employee an opportunity to bring up anything they want to that may not be related to their work or their current priorities. You need to be mindful of the time you have left. If it's a sensitive issue, you can ask whether they would like to discuss it at that moment or whether you should schedule time specifically to discuss that issue. As a manager, when you show empathy, you will build a higher level of trust with your employees.

6. Wrap-up and agreements

This is where you do a quick recap of the meeting, what was agreed, and what the next steps are. Thank the employee for their time and mention when the next meeting will take place.

Ready to Use a One-on-One Meetings Template?

Now that you know what's involved in a one-on-one meeting, it's time to create your template. You can use the Nimbus one-on-one meetings template as a starting point. This template offers a simple structure you can use, then you can change it if you need to.

If others could also benefit from using this one-on-one meetings template, please share it with them.