The Do’s and Don’ts of Employee One-on-One’s

The Do’s and Don’ts of Employee One-on-One’s

by Lauren Molitor | June 23, 2017


one-on-oneCommunication in the workplace is often a point of weakness for most organizations. One-on-one meetings with your employees might seem like a time-consuming effort, but the return on investment is huge. You’ll improve your communication with your team, which is easier said than done, as well as receive feedback from your employees that will enable your own growth.

Take the time to meet with the members of your team – it will have a significant impact on their morale and motivation. Here’s a list of things that will help you make your one-on-one meetings more effective:


  • Make your one-on-one meetings recurring. Get them scheduled in advance! If you wait for the meetings to “just happen”, they probably won’t.
  • Make sure to meet with everyone. If you only meet with some of your direct reports, you’re sending the signal that only certain employees are worth your time. This may lead others to disengage from their work.
  • Limit the amount of time you spend at each meeting. Because these meetings are recurring, you don’t need to commit an excessive amount of time to each meeting. Thirty minutes is a good starting point, but remember to play it by ear and expect that each one-on-one with your employees will be different.
  • Ask questions. These regular one-on-ones are a great time to check in with how your employees are doing. If they are shy to share details, your role is to ask questions that uncover hidden obstacles or successes. Come to each meeting with something that you want to know about each employee’s work. If they don’t offer up the info, be prepared to ask.
  • Talk about their job satisfiers. One-on-one meetings are a great time to inquire about your employee’s career growth – how happy are they with their job? What do you need to be doing to keep them learning and growing? Your one-on-one meetings are a great way to develop team members’ strengths.


  • Hold one-on-one meetings in a public place. It is particularly important that you meet in a private area with limited distractions. You want your employee to feel comfortable bringing up any topics they’d like to discuss.
  • Fill the time with empty talk. You’re both busy. Leave the talk about the weather and traffic for the coffee breaks.
  • Rely on your memory. Take notes and follow up. Keep your meetings fresh, circling back to check on progress on previous discussions but also making sure each meeting brings forward at least one new topic. Your notes will help you follow up with your employees post-meeting.
  • In order for you and your employee to get the most out of your one-on-one meetings, you (both) need to be 100% present. This means turning your cell phones on silent, not checking your email, and shutting your office door.
  • Reschedule meetings not cancel them. If something urgent comes up, it is always better to reschedule than to outright cancel a meeting. Canceling sends the message that your employee and their time are not important and will ultimately impact their job satisfaction and performance.

According to a recent Gallup survey, managers account for 70% of variance in employee engagement. An effective way to ensure your employees stay engaged is to meet with them regularly and to listen to their feedback. The costs of employee disengagement are significant; lowered productivity and increased turnover can create a drop in morale across the entire team. Regular one-on-one meetings can strengthen your relationships with your direct reports, help you discover issues proactively, and provide an easy venue for discussing both performance concerns and providing your employees with the recognition they deserve.

Do you have any special techniques you use to run your one-on-one meetings?  Leave a reply below and let us know what you’ve done that has made a difference!

LaurenFor additional information and ideas about how to optimize your team’s productivity, email me at or give me a call at 425.654.8788. I’m Lauren Molitor, the Partner Services Specialist at the PACE Staffing Network. My job is making sure our client partners and partner- to-be are armed with the best practices on hiring and managing employees to optimal levels of performance.



The PACE Staffing Network is a leading Northwest staffing company who has been helping  local employers find employees and candidates fine jobs for over 40 years.  For additional ideas and information on how you can tackle the current marketplace – contact the PACE team at 425-637-3311 or email us at

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