What do your one-on-one meetings say about your culture?


February 10, 2021


Written by Maria Eugenia Raffaele

The pandemic is bound to be around us for a while, and in this semi-remote new normal, one-on-one meetings can become your best ally to make sure your team has clear objectives, proper guidance and, above all,  emotional support to stay motivated and be productive.

Now, I don’t know if you’ve ever reflected upon this, but one-on-one meetings can either support or totally sabotage the culture of your company. Employees learn and incorporate an organization’s beliefs, values and behaviours through daily interactions and, guess what, their meetings with you is one of them. We want to help you make the most of your teams so, in this article you’ll read about the importance of carrying out effective one-on-ones with managers to reinforce a culture where feedback is at the center.


Why 1-1s matter

There’s a common misconception about one-on-one meetings: They are time-consuming and there are more important priorities to include in our agenda. Let me just say this is not so… Especially in times of remote work, uncertainty and emotional stress, your team values and looks forward to scheduling these encounters more than ever. Actually, according to a study conducted by Gallup, when managers provide weekly feedback, team members are much more engaged and their work is outstanding. 

The truth is both employees and managers benefit from efficiently conducted 1-1 meetings for many reasons:

  • Team members can get useful guidance to be successful in their role and meet their objectives more efficiently,
  • Employees feel valued and listened to,
  • The manager becomes a partner and someone people can trust and rely on.
  • People are provided with a space to talk about how they are feeling, discuss alternatives, doubts, and make adjustments in time. 
  • Managers can get to unleash every individual’s potential, which is a valuable process for the company’s economic growth,
  •  Engagement and bonding among team members is fostered,

Yes, keeping a one-on-one meeting agenda takes time, but in an employee-focused culture, these encounters go far beyond mere status updates; meetings are about connecting. They should become the most important day of the week in which you’re reinforcing the foundations of a trusting, collaborative and productive organizational culture built upon the pillars of trust, empathy, and care.

How to reinforce a feedback culture through one-on-one meetings

We’d like to share some advice that can help you boost your organizational feedback culture in each encounter.



Make sure everybody knows their goals and objectives. Using performance management technologies can help managers set and define objectives and key performance indicators (KPIs). These objectives have to be efficiently communicated so that everyone knows what is expected from them. A 1:1 meeting can be a chance to go over these objectives and check everyone’s aligned to them.



Make sure you have all feedback and performance data in one place. Software can help a lot in driving  effective one-on-one meetings. A feedback program or acquiring a feedback platform can give managers valuable insight of each team member they can use to follow-up later.  Before the meeting, make sure you get an overview of the employee’s behaviours, results from engagement surveys,  360  feedback, and have a clear idea of how they are doing with their objectives. Having all this data will make it easier to refer to the employee’s performance during the 1:1 meeting. 


This is the key to check nothing worth discussing falls through the cracks.  Plan but don’t rush through a rigid agenda. Jot down some talking points you want to bring up and share them with the employee in advance. Also, encourage them to share some of their own. These notes will make you be concise and focused. When your employees perceive this from your approach, they will also prepare the same way for the upcoming 1:1meeting.



If circumstances allow you to have a physical meeting, make sure the place is private and comfortable. Otherwise, there is useful remote meeting software that allows you to share calendars and talking points with each other in advance, among other features.


  • Have a positive attitude all the time, listen and be supportive – this is the best moment to use your emotional intelligence.
  • When discussing professional issues, ask them about how they feel about their objectives and their work. Are you comfortable with your role and goals? Have you come across any difficulties?
  • Use probing questions to reflect together upon their performance so employees can identify what they need to improve by themselves.
  • Other than pointing out things they need to improve, remember to share feedback as a suggestion or opinion. This way, employees experience a sense of trust, which will lead them to express their points of view more freely.
  • Give constructive support. Help them know the way they can best achieve their objectives. Here’s where you make the difference – 1:1 meetings are the key moments where feedback becomes meaningful because you’re helping your team members to grow professionally.
  • Show you care and you’re here to facilitate, not to control.
  • By the end of the meeting, it’s a good idea to ask for feedback from the employee to find out how they experienced the meeting and detect possible flaws you might need to go over later.


Don’t forget to create a meeting minute and share it with every employee. Leaving a record of strengths and points to improve will help you set new short-term goals and keep everyone in the loop.


Make sure you are consistent with your one-on-one’s frequency. If you always meet once a week or every fortnight, your feedback culture becomes stronger and everyone looks forward to the next meeting. Agree on a possible date and anticipate some points you’ll be updating and keeping track of. 

Efficient 1:1 meetings can boost your organizational culture. Your employees will certainly become more productive and willing to share their views if they feel they are discussing with you their skills and behaviours, other than simply  “receiving feedback on how they’re doing in their job”.  We hope we’ve encouraged you to reinforce your feedback culture through every  meeting! Ready to plan your next one-on-one?


1:1, Leadership, Management, one on one


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