Clear Review has joined Advanced - Discover our full suite of powerful and innovative people management solutions

Find out more
Back to Overview

One-to-one meeting template

One To One Meeting Template

Research from the likes of the Cor­po­rate Exec­u­tive Board and Deloitte found that hav­ing reg­u­lar one-on-one meet­ings (also known as check-ins” or one-to-ones”) with employ­ees had a much greater impact on their per­for­mance than annu­al appraisals alone. But what should be dis­cussed at these check-in meet­ings? How should they be structured?

We’ve cre­at­ed a one-to-one meet­ing tem­plate that you can use to help your employ­ees and man­agers struc­ture their reg­u­lar discussions.

Get our One-to-One Meet­ing Template

Enter your details to down­load the One-to-One Meet­ing Tem­plate straight away.

Download the template!

What is a one-to-one meet­ing template?

One-on-one meet­ings are a key part of effec­tive com­mu­ni­ca­tion between man­agers and employ­ees. They allow employ­ees to share their achieve­ments, set goals, and give and receive feed­back in a safe and sup­port­ive envi­ron­ment. A one-to-one meet­ing tem­plate can help to ensure that these meet­ings are pro­duc­tive and focused. 

The tem­plate should out­line the meet­ing for­mat, tim­ing, and objec­tives and pro­vide space for employ­ees to share their thoughts and ideas. By fol­low­ing a meet­ing tem­plate, man­agers can ensure that they are con­duct­ed effec­tive­ly, effi­cient­ly, and focused on the employ­ee expe­ri­ence.

Dos and don’ts of one-on-one meetings

One-on-one meet­ings are a cru­cial oppor­tu­ni­ty for man­agers to check in with their team mem­bers indi­vid­u­al­ly and address any issues or con­cerns. How­ev­er, they can also be awk­ward and stress­ful, espe­cial­ly if you’re unsure what to do or say. To help you make the most of them, here’s a check­list of dos and don’ts.

Focus on the employee

One of the most impor­tant things to remem­ber when con­duct­ing a one-on-one meet­ing is that it is designed to be about the needs and wants of the employ­ee. This is not the time for the man­ag­er to do all the talk­ing. Instead, focus on get­ting to know what the employ­ee is look­ing for from the company. 

How can you help them to achieve their goals? The one-to-one meet­ing tem­plate should be used as a guide to help pro­mote open com­mu­ni­ca­tion and ensure that both par­ties are on the same page. By focus­ing on the employ­ee, you can build a stronger rela­tion­ship and cre­ate a more pro­duc­tive work environment.

Be pre­pared

Any suc­cess­ful meet­ing starts with prop­er prepa­ra­tion. Lead­ing a one-on-one meet­ing means being famil­iar with your notes from pre­vi­ous meet­ings and hav­ing a clear plan for what you hope to achieve. The tem­plate is a great tool to help you stay organ­ised and on track.

By tak­ing a few min­utes to pre­pare before­hand, you can ensure that it will be time well spent. These catch-up meet­ings are an oppor­tu­ni­ty to build rela­tion­ships, solve prob­lems, and get feed­back. By being pre­pared, you can make the most of this valu­able time and come away with tan­gi­ble results.

Keep them private

To get the most out of one-on-one meet­ings, it’s essen­tial to ensure they’re pri­vate. That means book­ing a room to use or find­ing a dif­fer­ent area if you don’t have a ded­i­cat­ed meet­ing space. Both par­ties need to be able to talk freely with­out inter­rup­tion or dis­trac­tions, so a pri­vate room is essen­tial. Once you’ve found the per­fect spot, use your tem­plate to help struc­ture the meet­ing and get the most out of it.

Take notes

One-on-one meet­ings are reg­u­lar occur­rences in most work­places, but they can often be inef­fec­tive or even coun­ter­pro­duc­tive. One of the best ways to ensure that they are pro­duc­tive is for both par­ties to take notes. This way, each per­son has a record of what was dis­cussed and agreed upon and can refer back to it if there are any misunderstandings. 

Tak­ing notes can also help to pre­vent them from devolv­ing into com­plaint ses­sions — instead, they can be focused and con­struc­tive con­ver­sa­tions. So next time you pre­pare for one, don’t for­get to bring a notepad and pen. It will make all the dif­fer­ence. Make sure that your notes are action/out­come-based, and after each meet­ing, you should take a few min­utes to jot down key points and action items.

Those notes will help to ensure that every­one is on the same page and that tasks are com­plet­ed on time. Addi­tion­al­ly, using a one-to-one meet­ing tem­plate along­side your notes can help to struc­ture future meet­ings more eas­i­ly and make them more pro­duc­tive. By tak­ing the time to devel­op a sys­tem that works for you, you can build strong rela­tion­ships with your team and fos­ter a pro­duc­tive work environment.

One-on-one meet­ing FAQs

What’s the point of one-on-one meetings?

One-on-one meet­ings are a reg­u­lar, struc­tured check-in between a man­ag­er and an employ­ee. They’re an oppor­tu­ni­ty for the man­ag­er to give pos­i­tive and cor­rec­tive feed­back and set expec­ta­tions for the com­ing peri­od. For the employ­ee, they offer an oppor­tu­ni­ty to raise any con­cerns, ask for help or clar­i­ty on expec­ta­tions, and give updates on progress.

When done well, they can help to improve com­mu­ni­ca­tion, per­for­mance, engage­ment and reten­tion. Of course, they’re also a chance to catch up on a per­son­al lev­el and get to know each oth­er bet­ter. Whether you’re using a tem­plate or not, invest­ing time in your dis­cus­sion can pay off in the long run. Well-planned meet­ings can help to cre­ate a strong bond between man­agers and team members.

As a result, one-on-one meet­ings are an essen­tial tool for any leader who wants to build a high-per­form­ing and col­lab­o­ra­tive team.

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

There are many proven ben­e­fits to hold­ing reg­u­lar one-on-one meet­ings with team mem­bers. First, it helps to improve engage­ment by ensur­ing that each team mem­ber feels heard and val­ued. Sec­ond, it can boost pro­duc­tiv­i­ty and staff sat­is­fac­tion by allow­ing employ­ees to share ideas and prob­lems in a safe and con­fi­den­tial setting.

Final­ly, reg­u­lar per­son­al meet­ings have been shown to reduce turnover, as they help build trust and improve com­mu­ni­ca­tion between man­agers and employ­ees and are vital for any man­ag­er who wants to get the most out of their team.

Using one-on-one meet­ings to sep­a­rate good man­agers from the bad

It’s a com­mon adage that peo­ple leave man­agers, not com­pa­nies. And there’s a lot of truth to that. A bad man­ag­er can make even the best job feel unbear­able. But a great man­ag­er can make even a tough job feel reward­ing. So what sep­a­rates the good man­agers from the bad?

One key dif­fer­ence is how they han­dle one-on-one meet­ings. A good man­ag­er will use them as an oppor­tu­ni­ty to build trust, give feed­back and ensure their team mem­bers are on track to hit their goals. They will have iden­ti­fied the dis­cus­sion points nec­es­sary for a per­for­mance con­ver­sa­tion, ensur­ing the meet­ing flows easily.

A bad man­ag­er, on the oth­er hand, will see them as a chance to micro­man­age and nit­pick. As a result, their team mem­bers will start to dread them instead of see­ing them as a valu­able oppor­tu­ni­ty to con­nect with their manager.

A good man­ag­er will use one-on-ones as an oppor­tu­ni­ty to get to know their team mem­bers on a per­son­al lev­el and under­stand what moti­vates them. They’ll also use them to give feed­back and help their team mem­bers trou­bleshoot any chal­lenges they face. 

What val­ue do one-on-one meet­ings bring to an organisation?

One-on-ones are ben­e­fi­cial because they help to build trust and com­mu­ni­ca­tion between employ­ees and man­agers. When every­one is on the same page, it can help to improve pro­duc­tiv­i­ty and morale. They also pro­vide an oppor­tu­ni­ty for employ­ees to receive recog­ni­tion for their work. In short, they are valu­able because they help to build sol­id rela­tion­ships and pro­mote a pos­i­tive work environment.

One-on-one meet­ings are impor­tant oppor­tu­ni­ties for lead­ers to con­nect with their team and get to know them bet­ter. They are also a chance for lead­ers to iden­ti­fy emerg­ing lead­ers in their ranks. In today’s com­pet­i­tive busi­ness land­scape, it is more impor­tant than ever to pro­mote from with­in the company.

Emerg­ing lead­ers bring fresh per­spec­tives and new ideas to help the com­pa­ny grow and thrive. Addi­tion­al­ly, pro­mot­ing from with­in helps to build morale and loy­al­ty among employ­ees. Employ­ees who see that there are oppor­tu­ni­ties for advance­ment are more like­ly to be engaged and moti­vat­ed in their work.

When one-on-one meet­ings are used to iden­ti­fy and devel­op top tal­ent and emerg­ing lead­ers, it is a win-win for the com­pa­ny and its employees.

What’s the dif­fer­ence between one-on-one meet­ings and per­for­mance reviews?

One-on-one meet­ings and per­for­mance reviews may involve a man­ag­er meet­ing with an employ­ee, but they serve very dif­fer­ent pur­pos­es. One-on-one meet­ings are typ­i­cal­ly held reg­u­lar­ly — such as week­ly or month­ly — and pro­vide an oppor­tu­ni­ty for the man­ag­er to give feed­back, offer sup­port, and help the employ­ee set goals. In con­trast, per­for­mance reviews are usu­al­ly held annu­al­ly and are focused on assess­ing an employ­ee’s past performance.

Those annu­al per­for­mance reviews can often cre­ate ten­sion and anx­i­ety, as employ­ees wor­ry about being judged or crit­i­cised. Per­for­mance reviews may also be less effec­tive, as they can occur too infre­quent­ly to pro­vide mean­ing­ful feed­back. As a result, per­for­mance reviews need to change, as one-on-one meet­ings are gen­er­al­ly seen as more ben­e­fi­cial for man­agers and employees.

Using the one-to-one meet­ing template

One-on-ones can also be eas­i­ly derailed if they’re not prop­er­ly planned. That’s why we’ve cre­at­ed a one-to-one meet­ing tem­plate to help you make the most of them.

  • The fre­quen­cy of one-on-one meet­ings tends to vary by organ­i­sa­tion from week­ly to quar­ter­ly. Month­ly meet­ings are a good start­ing point.

  • One-on-ones are most like­ly to hap­pen when they are ini­ti­at­ed by the employ­ee. This is the approach that Deloitte advo­cates for its own employees.

  • One-on-one meet­ings have the most impact when the employ­ee owns the agen­da and runs the meeting.

  • The meet­ing will be more effec­tive if the employ­ee reads the prompt ques­tions and pre­pares some points for dis­cus­sion in advance of the meeting.

  • The employ­ee should do the bulk of the talk­ing with the man­ag­er ask­ing ques­tions and active­ly listening.

  • Not all ques­tions in our one-to-one meet­ing tem­plate need to be dis­cussed every sin­gle time. Ide­al­ly both par­ties should read through the prompt ques­tions, but only dis­cuss the most rel­e­vant items. This keeps the meet­ings from get­ting too long.

  • Meet­ing appoint­ments should always be kept when­ev­er pos­si­ble. If a meet­ing must be post­poned, it should ide­al­ly be resched­uled for the same day or the next day.

  • Agreed action points should be fol­lowed up as soon as pos­si­ble after the meeting.

  • One-on-ones will have a greater impact on employ­ee per­for­mance and employ­ee engage­ment if man­agers are trained in how to give effec­tive feed­back and use coach­ing techniques.

For more infor­ma­tion on how one-on-one meet­ings and per­for­mance man­age­ment sys­tems are evolv­ing, explore our blog.

Book a Demo

Track One-to-Ones and Capture Action Points With Our Innovative Performance Management Software.

Book a Live Demo