1-on-1s: 101

Our 1-on-1 feature is designed to help you get the most out of your meetings. Using our guided structure, it’s easier to focus on priorities, challenges, and progress so everyone’s aligned, motivated, and engaged.

In this article, you will learn...


The 'Why' behind 1-on-1s

Consistent communication through recurring and impactful 1-on-1s is the secret ingredient to effective leadership and engaged teams. Why? Because team members don’t want to have development conversations just once a year. And managers don’t want to wait until their next engagement survey to know where their team members are struggling.

Companies that continually focus on growth and development and regularly gauge employee morale through recurring, consistent, and effective 1-on-1 conversations will be able to respond to employee challenges and triumphs in real time instead of only once each year. 

Put effective 1-on-1s at the top of your list, and reap the rewards:

  • More Alignment: Use 1-on-1s to clarify goals and keep teams focused on them.
  • More Support: Help ensure that employees feel seen, heard, and valued.
  • More Time: See how high-impact meetings lead to more effective managers.
  • Better Management: Help managers better communicate with a solid conversation framework.
  • Higher Engagement: Surface the most important issues at the right time.
  • Increased Productivity: Transform your workplace into a hub of productive activity.

Key features of 1-on-1s

Sections in a 1-on-1 agenda

  • Talking points: Talking points are conversation topics that can be added by either 1-on-1 participant. When you add a talking point to a 1-on-1 agenda, it will be added to the other participant's 1-on-1 agenda in real-time. Utilize this section throughout your workweek to record important items that require discussion during your 1-on-1 meeting. You can also add items directly from your Check-in or from a Slack thread to your 1-on-1 agenda as talking points.
  • Action items: Action items are tasks that surface during a 1-on-1 meeting. Action items can be assigned to either participant, and appear on the responsible party's homepage in 15Five so they're kept top-of-mind. You can check off action items as you complete them. If an action item isn't checked off, it will roll over to the next 1-on-1 agenda automatically.
  • Shared notes: Shared notes are a collaborative notes section in which either participant can record what discussions took place during the 1-on-1. Anything you add to the shared notes section will be visible to both 1-on-1 participants.
  • Private notes: The Private notes section is where you can take notes about the 1-on-1 that are for your eyes only. This section is not included in the summary email, and the other participant has no visibility into what you record here.
  • Summary email: The Summary email will be sent to both 1-on-1 parties following the 1-on-1 meeting and includes all talking points, action items, and any shared notes.

Read more about each of these sections in our "Use the 1-on-1 agenda" Help Center article.

Additional features

  • Markdown: Markdown is supported in all sections of 1-on-1 agendas, making it easy to format and customize text.
  • 1-on-1s with anyone: Account admins can choose whether or not they want to allow anyone in their organization to have 1-on-1s with each other, or if they only want to allow 1-on-1s to take place between managers and their direct reports.
  • Search 1-on-1s: Use the search bar at the top of the 'My 1-on-1s' page to search through all of your 1-on-1 agendas for keywords.
  • Talking point bank: Need some inspiration as you craft your 1-on-1 agenda? Use our talking point bank to source impactful talking points that you can discuss with the other 1-on-1 participant. Topics range from coaching, to career trajectory, to remote work.

Best practices

Add a link to your current 1-on-1 to your calendar

The Copy link to 1-on-1 option can be found on your 'My 1-on-1s' page (in-app link) or on any 1-on-1 agenda.

What does it do? It copies a static link that will always take you and the other person to your current 1-on-1 agenda. This is especially helpful when the link is pasted into an existing calendar invite, as it will always direct both people to their current 1-on-1. Even better, do this for everyone that you have a standing 1-on-1 with so that you can easily get to your most current 1-on-1 agenda as soon as the meeting begins. 

Set your 1-on-1 to be recurring, just like your 1-on-1 calendar invite. Options are endless—weekly, every two weeks, monthly, or every other month. With recurring 1-on-1s, 15Five to auto creates, schedules, and ends 1-on-1s to help keep your agendas fresh and accurate. 

Establish a regular cadence

Consistent check-ins are vital because open and regular communication are the building blocks a healthy relationship. Research from Gallup shows that employees are 3 times more likely to be engaged at work if they have managers who hold regular meetings with them. We’ve found that checking in with each team member for at least 30 minutes once a week or every other week works best.

You can set up recurring 1-on-1s with someone by creating a recurring Google Cal event and including a static 1-on-1 agenda link in the notes. Maintaining accurate information on each 1-on-1 agenda is crucial to ensure meetings are organized and tracked properly.


Effective discussions are two way. There’s no one way street in 15Five. 15Five allows 1-on-1 participants to add action items and talking points to your 1-on-1 agenda. No matter who adds items to the agenda, we'll update both people's agenda in real time and save your drafts along the way. This hammers home the idea that the agenda is collaboration between the two people. It's not a manager driven (or one sided) meeting by any means. In fact, the contrary is usually true. 



Try adding a comment to a talking point or action item to ensure context from the 1-on-1 is captured in line with the item.

Focus on what matters

The most effective 1-on-1 conversations go way beyond status updates. 15Five makes it really easy and simple to strategize, focus, and prioritize talking points during your 1-on-1.

You can easily add items from your Check-in to your 1-on-1 with your manager. Or, if you're a manager, you can add important items from your direct reports' Check-ins to your 1-on-1 agenda while reviewing their Check-in. That way, when you meet for your 1-on-1, you can focus on what really matters. Items added from Check-ins will appear in the 'Talking points' section of your 1-on-1 agenda.

Enhance your content

There are ways to enhance your 1-on-1 agenda, allowing for deeper conversation and less tactical run around. The below enhancements exist across talking points, action items, and shared notes.

  • Make any talking point or action item private using the lock icon. 
  • Use the text formatting options to bold or italicize text.
  • Add a hyperlink to your text by highlighting the word(s) and using the link icon.
  • Create a bulleted or numbered list.
  • Add an attachment to your agenda using the paperclip icon.

When all content is organized and outside resources are included, 1-on-1 conversations can flow more freely. Both people can come prepared and informed about what is to be discussed. Not only that, but you may find a way to format your 1-on-1 content week over week so that you have a sort of "template" ready for each meeting.

Common questions

  • Who can I hold 1-on-1s with? This depends on settings selected by your account admins. You can either hold 1-on-1s with only your manager and direct reports, or 1-on-1s with anyone in the organization.
  • What options do I have for scheduling 1-on-1s? You can schedule 1-on-1s in 15Five, in your work calendar using a static 1-on-1 agenda link (preferred method), or in Google Cal using the integration.
  • Are 1-on-1s private? As a general rule, 1-on-1s are private to the two participants in the 1-on-1. The exception to this rule is that if your company has appointed global viewers, those viewers have visibility into all 1-on-1 agendas.
  • Can I delete 1-on-1s? Yes, you can delete a 1-on-1. You can also remove a 1-on-1 from view if you don't actually want to hard-delete the agenda.
  • What integrations can I use with 1-on-1s? Slack (to add talking points directly from Slack to your 1-on-1 agenda or to end 1-on-1s) and Google Calendar (to schedule 1-on-1s on your calendar). To use either of these integrations, they must first be enabled by an account admin in your company's account.
  • What sort of reports can I pull on 1-on-1s? Please refer to our "1-on-1s dashboard & reports" Help Center article for a full list of what reports and data you can pull regarding 1-on-1s.
  • What if I want a hard copy of my 1-on-1 agenda? You can download or print a 1-on-1 agenda.
  • What aspects of the 1-on-1s feature can I manage as an account admin? Please refer to our "Manage 1-on-1 feature settings" article for a full list of all 1-on-1 settings you can manage as an account admin.
  • How do 1-on-1s work with other features in 15Five? Using Check-ins alongside 1-on-1s help managers create high impact 1-on-1s that move beyond status updates, maximizing the quality of conversations between managers and their team members. Managers and direct reports can push Check-in items directly to their 1-on-1 agenda for further discussion, and quality Check-ins can serve as a roadmap for effective 1-on-1s. Read more on our blog. Managers can also add Objective, Best-Self Review®, and Engagement survey-specific talking points to 1-on-1 agendas for further discussion. Inspiration can be found in our talking point bank.

Related articles 📖

Watch and learn 🎥

From the blog 🕺

Dive deeper 🤿