What Is the Purpose of One-on-One Meetings?

By Jamie Birt

Updated February 25, 2022 | Published June 15, 2021

Updated February 25, 2022

Published June 15, 2021

Jamie Birt is a career coach with 5+ years of experience helping job seekers navigate the job search through one-to-one coaching, webinars and events. She’s motivated by the mission to help people find fulfillment and belonging in their careers.

As a manager, it's important to find time to communicate with your employees. One-on-one meetings offer an opportunity to develop better relationships with your employees and offer feedback to them privately and regularly.

In this article, we explain the purpose of one-on-one meetings and their benefits and provide tips for holding successful meetings in your own workplace.

Related: Planning Meetings: How To Manage and General Meeting Tips

What is the purpose of one-on-one meetings?

The purpose of one-on-one meetings is to create positive communication between managers and employees. By holding a one-on-one meeting with your employee, you can:

  • Give direct feedback on their performance

  • Coach them on areas of improvement

  • Motivate them

  • Get to know them on a personal level

  • Ask them for feedback about your own performance

7 benefits of one-on-one meetings

When having one-on-one meetings, consider the following ways they can help improve your workplace:

1. Improved morale

One-on-one meetings are an opportunity to let your employees know you see and appreciate the work they do. By acknowledging their contributions and importance to the team, you can increase their confidence and improve their attitude toward goals, the team and projects.

2. Increased productivity

These meetings allow you to talk to your employees about their day-to-day tasks. By coaching them about their performance, you can help them:

  • Understand company processes better

  • Perform their tasks more efficiently

  • Avoid common mistakes

  • Practice their problem areas to improve their performance

Increased efficiency can help your employees finish their work more quickly, giving them more time to accomplish other tasks.

3. Better quality teamwork

With performance coaching and increased productivity, your employees can have the time and knowledge to help each other accomplish their daily tasks. They might even coach each other on how to accomplish their tasks more efficiently. The increased morale can also create positive attitudes in your employees, potentially making them more understanding of their coworkers. A trusting environment can prevent conflict and soften potential issues.

4. Enhanced employee relationships

Having one-on-one meetings can help you understand your individual employees more personally. By using these meetings to establish a stronger relationship, you can learn more about each team member, including what motivates and encourages them. This may increase your mutual respect and improve your working relationship.

5. Communication opportunities

One-on-one meetings provide a chance to keep your employees up-to-date with operational information, such as:

  • New processes

  • New company goals

  • Project status

  • Feedback from executives and shareholders

  • Structural changes

  • Preparations for future projects

The friendly relationship you build with your employees can also encourage day-to-day communication between you and your team members. This consistent communication can help your team members feel more comfortable communicating openly with you, which can alert you to potential issues before they happen or current issues that need a solution, keeping you aware of the current status of tasks.

Related: How To Improve Management Communication

6. More effective management

One-on-one meetings are an opportunity for your employees to give you feedback on your own performance as a manager. Collecting this information from your employees can help you understand what you do well as a manager and where you can improve. If you make any changes based on their feedback, the meetings can also help you learn if your changes are successful.

The information you learn about your employees and the daily activities of your workplace can also help you improve in other ways. For instance, understanding your employees can help you resolve any conflicts that might occur between employees. It can also help you learn which employees can best perform certain tasks or solve specific issues. This way, you can assign work more efficiently or ask the most helpful employees when you need a solution to a problem.

7. Focused conflict resolution

If you work in an HR department, you can use one-on-one meetings to speak with employees experiencing a conflict. Whether it involves company processes or other employees, you can bring in all parties involved to generate a conversation focused on finding a resolution.

Tips for holding a one-on-one meeting

To improve your one-on-one meetings, consider some of the following tips:

Schedule consistent meetings

Holding cyclical one-on-one meetings, whether it's weekly, monthly or quarterly, helps maximize the positive effects for you and your employees. By doing this, you can consistently provide feedback on how well they improve, help them make adjustments if necessary and give them regular morale boosts by recognizing their work.

Related: Tips for Hosting Productive Meetings

Show empathy

Expressing empathy for your employees during these meetings can help them be more receptive to your coaching efforts. Trying to see things from their point of view can also help you understand how to help them become more productive and feel more comfortable communicating openly with you.

Related: Why Is Empathy Important In the Workplace?

Ask questions

One-on-one meetings usually work best when they take the form of a conversation. Instead of simply offering coaching advice to your team members, it's helpful to ask questions, including how they feel about their work, what they think they do well and where they think they can improve. Asking questions allows your employees to take an active part in the meeting and can help them feel accomplished and motivated once it's over.

Take notes

Taking notes before a one-on-one meeting can help you prepare by organizing your thoughts and deciding what points you'd like to discuss. You can even plan a structure for communicating these points. Taking notes during the meeting can demonstrate your active listening skills. It can also show your employee that you take what they say seriously and intend on following up with the points they make.

Be flexible

Although you may have a specific purpose for holding a one-on-one meeting with your employee, try to remain flexible and receptive to your employee's own meeting goals. This adaptability can help you guide the purpose of the meeting from one goal to the other and accomplish both.

Follow up

Following up with your employees after your one-on-one meeting can help reinforce your conversation and the benefits, such as increased productivity, that might come with it. You can use a brief conversation during the workday or devote a portion of your next one-on-one to following up with your employee on their progress and feelings about the coaching they received.

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