One-to-One Meeting Agendas: Templates + Guidance

September 22, 2021

example meeting agenda

Regular one-to-one meetings between managers and employees are crucial for improving performance, understanding and eliminating roadblocks, and strengthening relationships. 

Benefits aside though, there’s also a cost to not having them.

According to research, employees that don’t have one-to-one check-ins with their managers are four times more likely to be disengaged than those that do, and two times more likely to view leadership more unfavourably.

So, given their importance, why aren’t one-to-ones happening as frequently as they should be?

In short, because managers lack time and struggle with having meaningful and productive conversations.

In this article, we have provided ten key conversations that all managers should be having with their direct reports, complete with structured agenda questions that will help save time and boost employee engagement.

One to one meeting agenda templates

1. Your first one-to-one 🤝

Why is this conversation important?

To get to know each other and understand your employee’s preferred ways of working. Send the message that you want to be the manager they need. ‍

Supporting cliché: You never get a second chance to make a first impression.


  1. How do you like to communicate? (Phone, email, Slack, etc.)
  2. What does an ideal, productive work day look like to you?
  3. ​Do you have a clear idea about your role and the tasks you're working on?
  4. How do you respond to stress and what kind of support do you prefer?
  5. What’s most important to you in your career?
  6. What are your “red buttons”?

2. Re-defining role and responsibilities 🎖️

Why is this conversation important?

Roles and responsibilities can evolve unintentionally. As a result, we rarely end up doing exactly what was on the job description. This evolution can provide great opportunity for both the organisation and the individual, provided it’s thought-through.

Supporting cliché: Change is the only constant.


  1. Is this what you expected when you took the job? If not, which aspects are different?
  2. How do you feel about the way you allocate your time? Has it changed since you started your job?
  3. Are we making the most of your strengths? How could we use them more?
  4. Is there anything you're not doing which would improve your team's performance?
  5. Are there any undesirable tasks that you can simplify, automate, delegate or drop altogether?

3. 15-minute check-in 🕓

Why is this conversation important?

A 15 minute check-in can be all you need to ensure employees are on the right track and that you’re both on the same page.  

Supporting cliché: The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.


  1. Highlights of the last week
  2. What, if anything, is stressing you out?
  3. What are you focusing on next week? 
  4. Are there any blockers towards achieving your goals?

4. Checking in on stress 😰

Why is this conversation important?

Hopefully this discussion won’t become part of your routine, but sooner or later you will need to discuss stress with an employee. How you handle this critical conversation can make the difference between keeping them engaged or losing them. 

Supporting cliché: It's not stress that kills us, it is our reaction to it.


  1. What’s stressing you out at the moment?
  2. How much of it is internal (self-imposed) vs external factors? 
  3. How do you disconnect at the end of the day or during breaks?
  4. What would a good work-life balance look like for you?
  5. Thinking back over the past few months, when have your stress levels been at their worst and at their best?
  6. Do we have the right time and place to discuss mental health in our team? 

5. Checking in on remote work 💻

Why is this conversation important?

Those who aren't used to working remotely can face new challenges around how to work and communicate effectively.

Supporting cliché: The future of work is remote.


  1. What do you like most / least about working from home?
  2. What is your work setup like?
  3. What technology issues have you encountered?
  4. How do you disconnect at the end of the day or during breaks?
  5. How effective are our remote meetings (on a scale from 1-10) ?
  6. What new challenges have you faced compared to in the office?

6. Checking in on priorities and blockers 🚧

Why is this conversation important?

We all have competing priorities and sometimes it’s hard to know where to focus your time and energy. Talking through these questions will help your employee evaluate whether they’re spending their time where it matters most.‍

Supporting cliché: The key is not to prioritise what’s on your schedule but to schedule your priorities


  1. Are you clear on your priorities for the next month?
  2. How does each task impact our team/company goals?
  3. Is there anything you’re avoiding doing? If so, why and how can I help? 
  4. What feels harder than it should be in your day to day work?
  5. Is there anything slowing you down or side-tracking you? (e.g technology, tools, colleagues, meetings, disorganisation, skills gaps…)

7. Developing someone’s career 🌱

Why is this conversation important?

Investing in the development of employees is one of the most important things managers can do to retain their people. (Bonus: It also feels very rewarding).‍

Supporting cliché: Measure your own success as a leader by how well the people who work for you succeed.


  1. When have you been at your most energised and motivated? 
  2. Do you have opportunities to stretch yourself in your current role? What are they?
  3. What would you like to be better at?
  4. What are you most afraid of and what’s it stopping you from doing?
  5. What are your 1 year and 3 year career goals?
  6. What else can I be doing to help progress your career?

8. Discovering strengths 💪

Why is this conversation important?

When managers have meaningful discussions about employees' strengths every 3 months, employees perform better and are more engaged, according to Gallup.

Supporting cliché: People excel by maximising their strengths.


  1. What are you like at your best?
  2. Choose a family member, a close friend and a colleague. How would each of these people describe your strengths?
  3. Think back on your career. What strengths have you used in the past?
  4. What’s your personal Unique Selling Point (drawing on the strengths discussed in previous 3 questions)?
  5. How could you use these strengths more at work?
  6. Who can you ask for strengths-based feedback before we next meet?

Read our blog article on identifying strengths.

9. Review and set goals 🎯

Why is this conversation important?

Setting clear goals ensures everyone is pulling in the same direction. Involving your employees in the process is a great way to ensure accountability and to re-engage any employees who are losing motivation.

Supporting cliché: If you aim at nothing, you will hit it every time.


  1. Reflect on the last quarter: Where did we fall short? What roadblocks did we encounter? What did we learn?
  2. What are you proudest of accomplishing in the last quarter? 
  3. What are the 3 key goals you want to accomplish in the next quarter?
  4. What are the next steps towards achieving those goals?
  5. What can the department do to support you in achieving these goals (resources, tools and budget)?
  6. What could happen that would prevent you from hitting your goals?
  7. What can I do to support you and how can I be a better manager for you?

10. Asking for feedback ✍️

Why is this conversation important?
Asking for upwards feedback from your employees is a great way of showing that you are not perfect and that you want open two-way communication. It also helps you learn about how you could improve your management style.

Supporting cliché: Feedback is the breakfast of champions.


  1. Our feedback system: does it work for you and me? How do we each like feedback?
  2. What more do you need me to bring to the team?
  3. Where do you think I should be focusing more of my attention?
  4. If you were in my position, what would you do differently?
  5. What would you want to be different the next time we speak?‍

Saberr helps managers to navigate these crucial conversations and many more, whilst saving them time.

We use the 3Gets Framework to help teams Get Set, Get Safe and Get Strong.

Get in touch to learn more.

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Two male team members having a meeting