15Five's 1-on-1s 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...
- What are 1-on-1s?
- How they work
- How 1-on-1s impact HR outcomes
- Key components
- Roles and visibility
- Best practices
- Additional resources
Access and availability
⛔️ Required access to 1-on-1s.
👥 This article is relevant to all roles.
📦 This feature is available in the Perform, Total Platform, and Focus (legacy) pricing packages.
What are 1-on-1s?
1-on-1s are weekly 30-45 minute conversations that are held between a manager and direct report, or between any two employees in an organization. Effective 1-on-1s include relationship building, dialogue about goal progress and growth, feedback including appreciation and redirection, and agreements about who will do what by when.
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 a couple of times a year.
How they work
- Create a meaningful agenda: Managers and their reports add agenda items for 1-on-1s any time during the week.
- Schedule a 1-on-1 meeting: Put time on your calendar to hold your 1-on-1. We recommend scheduling recurring weekly 1-on-1s.
- Meet to discuss what really matters: During your 1-on-1, participants will discuss what's top-of-mind, guided by the 1-on-1 agenda. Both participants can take notes and assign action items so they can confidently go forward to the next steps.
- Repeat the process: Continue to hold weekly 1-on-1s to collaborate, discuss progress, celebrate wins, and remove roadblocks.
How 1-on-1s impact HR outcomes
1-on-1s are a form of continuous performance management— an approach to employee appraisal and development where feedback, recognition, and discussions related to performance are ongoing and frequent, rather than being limited to traditional annual or semi-annual reviews. Incorporating regular 1-on-1s into your managerial approach can significantly enhance 15Five's HR Outcomes: maximizing employee performance, increasing employee engagement, and decreasing regrettable turnover.
- 67% of employees report working harder for a manager who cares about their growth as a professional.
- Research shows that continuous performance management makes employees more competitive and engaged, enhances leadership development, supports higher transformational change, and contributes to higher levels of organizational performance.
- Organizations that effectively practice performance management are 1.3x more likely to have higher employee productivity.
- Employees who seldom or never have one-on-one sessions with their managers are more likely to be disengaged. Conversely, those who engage in one-on-one meetings with their managers twice as often as their counterparts have a 67% reduced likelihood of being disengaged.
- Only 15% of employees who work for a manager who doesn't regularly meet with them are classified as engaged, whereas engagement levels in employees who meet regularly with their managers is almost tripled.
- Great conversations between managers and employees are correlated with higher engagement, but only about half of employees are having them.
- A series of studies conducted by Professor Steven G. Rogelberg show that weekly 1-on-1 meetings are correlated with the highest levels of employee engagement, whereas monthly 1-on-1s are associated with smaller gains in engagement.
- Regularly discussing goal progress, removing roadblocks, and celebrating wins impact the "Goal Support" Engagement Driver.
- 36% of participants in a survey conducted by ADP Research Institute cited a poor relationship with their direct manager as their number one reason for leaving an organization.
- 1-on-1s provide a dedicated space for employees to voice concerns, share ideas, and discuss challenges. When employees feel heard and understood, they're more likely to stay committed to the organization.
- Instead of waiting for exit interviews to understand why an employee left, 1-on-1s provide a proactive and continuous platform for managers to address potential retention issues before they escalate.
- 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.
The 1-on-1 agenda allows participants to prepare talking points prior to the meeting— ensuring that the most important things are discussed. During the 1-on-1, both participants can take notes and assign action items so that they leave the meeting with a plan of action. Learn more.
Talking point bank
Need some inspiration as you craft your 1-on-1 agenda? Use our talking point bank to source impactful talking points with topics ranging from coaching, to career trajectory, to remote work. Learn more.
Roles and visibility
|Participant||Someone who participants in a 1-on-1. Can create, schedule, and end 1-on-1s and use the 1-on-1 agenda.|
|Global viewer for 1-on-1s||Can see 1-on-1 agendas for all users in their company. If you need global viewers in your organization to have visibility into 1-on-1s, an account admin can reach out to 15Five's Customer Support Team and request this added visibility.|
Only the two participants in a 1-on-1 can see the 1-on-1 agenda unless your organization has appointed global viewers for 1-on-1s. Within a 1-on-1 agenda, both participants can see every section with the expectation of items that a participant adds to the "Private notes" section of the agenda.
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.
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. 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.
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.
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.
Additional resources 📖
- 1-on-1 Deep Dive (22 min): In this video, we walk you through the ins and outs of 1-on-1s, including how they tie to Check-ins and how to use 15Five's 1-on-1 agenda in your 1-on-1 meetings.
- Check-ins and 1-on-1s setup (20 minutes): In this video, you will learn how to set up Check-ins and 1-on-1s to meet you company's needs. Recommendations and best practices will be provided along the way.
- The Manager's Guide to Check-ins and 1-on-1s (50 min): In this webinar, our Product Training team walks managers and others in supervising roles through how to effectively use 15Five's Check-ins and 1-on-1s features to empower their teams.
- Unlocking Growth and Success Through 15Five Core Platform Features (46 min): In this webinar, our Product Trainer and Senior 15Five executive Adam Weber trains admins and executives on best practices for implementing our Core Platform Features— Check-ins, 1-on-1s, HighFives, and Feedback— within your company.
- The Key to Growing and Retaining Top Teams: In this workbook, engagement expert and 15Five executive, Adam Weber, shares his 7 steps for building, engaging, and retaining top teams— including what elements make up a great 1-on-1. It also includes worksheets to help you answer the most important questions about your organization so you can build the foundation for a culture of engagement.
- Guide to Creating High-Performing Teams: Managing a team has never been more complex, and building high-performing teams can be difficult for companies that fail to stay agile. Modern workers are challenging status-quo leadership at every turn, and the unique demands of the modern workforce are evolving. In this eBook, you’ll find helpful management tips on everything from building better relationships with employees to supercharging meetings and performance reviews.
- 7 Tips For Making Every One-On-One Meeting Count (8 min read)
Enable your managers with Transform Microlearning
In 15Five's "Meaningful 1-on-1s: Goals, Growth, Feedback" Microlearning course, managers will discover what makes 1-on-1s the most powerful conversational practice for any team leader. In less than 15 minutes, managers will learn about common pitfalls and be provided with a framework to help them prepare for and drive meaningful 1-on-1s using relational skills, co-created agendas, goals, and accountability. Start learning with Transform Microlearning!