Skip to Main Content

Tips for a Productive One-on-One Meeting

Abraham Mendieta | March 10, 2023

Recent studies found 69% of managers were uncomfortable communicating with their employees, but 72% of employees said their performance would improve if managers would provide better feedback.

It’s clear employees want to grow, but managers are hesitant to start the conversations enabling this growth.

Is it possible to ease communication so you can tap into the valuable experience and insight your manager has accumulated over the years? Absolutely!

This is where one-on-one meetings excel.

Sometimes called check-ins, 1:1s or even 121s, these meetings offer the chance for a manager and employee to connect on work, career development and professional growth.

When they work, one-on-one meetings offer a regular opportunity for managers and employees to have larger discussions about performance without going over the minutia of day-to-day tasks. Not only do they help employees benefit from their managers’ experience, these meetings provide a great way to build trust between colleagues and help you connect with the organization that’s home to your career.

How can you make this interaction different from the other appointments on your schedule? Here are four ways to get the most out of your next one-on-one meeting with your manager.

Set an agenda

Like any meeting, preparation helps you achieve the best results. Create an agenda of discussion points and share it with your manager before the meeting. It doesn’t need to be elaborate. A simple email or instant message with a list of topics is enough to get everyone on the same page.

Focus on big-picture subjects

One-on-one meetings are ideal for discussing personal needs, professional goals or general work issues with your manager. Status updates about ongoing projects are likely to come up, but try to focus on larger topics surrounding growth and performance.

Embrace feedback

To grow as a professional, you need useful, effective feedback. Not every note you get will be positive, but opening yourself to negative feedback is a must for growth. If you’re willing to address your strengths and weaknesses, your manager can help you hone your skill set and clear obstacles from the path to success.

After all, it’s very likely your manager has already been where you are and understands the professional path you’re travelling. Take the good with the bad and you’ll keep moving down that road.

Be sure to follow up

Follow-through is as important as preparation. Sending a post-meeting message to your manager recapping your discussion is a simple way to stay on top of the salient points from your meeting. It not only provides a record of your discussion, but can also become the groundwork for topics to cover during your next meeting.

When one-on-one meetings become a regular part of an organization, they establish valuable channels of communication. Employees get the feedback they crave and managers have a viable pathway for mentoring the workers they oversee.

One-on-one meetings are popular in organizations prioritizing development. A side benefit is that these meetings help expose employees to the attitudes and operations expected from managers and team leaders. As an employee continues to develop, they have a positive role model to inform them as they transition into their own leadership position.

Organizations like Paycom make one-on-one meetings part of the employee experience in every department. It’s one more way this award-winning industry leader is able to champion the development and mobility of its workforce.

Paycom consistently ranks among the highest performers when it comes to the quality of our workplace. Just recently, we were named to Comparably’s Best Company for Women and Best Company Culture lists. Are you looking for an award-winning culture dedicated to your success as an employee? Apply to Paycom today!

About the author
Author picture, Abraham Mendieta
Abraham Mendieta
As an employer brand marketer, Abraham Mendieta helps the recruiting teams engage top talent and increase brand awareness. Mendieta is a proud graduate of the University of Oklahoma, where he earned degrees in both sociology and advertising. His efforts on Paycom’s employer brand team include company culture; careers; and diversity, equity and inclusion. Outside work, Abraham enjoys reading, going to the gym, spending time outdoors and hanging out with his family and friends.