Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity” – Seneca

If done correctly, one-on-one meetings can prove to be one of the most significant feedback-generating practices for Human Resource (HR) managers. 

These meetings can provide HR managers enough time to discuss certain initiatives, remove roadblocks, analyze employee performances, and carry out many more important tasks. 

It also allows managers to know their employees better on a more personal basis.

Regular one-on-one meetings can enable managers to guide their employees on the right path, which would result in not only improved productivity but also overachievement of company goals.

Top 5 Ways HR managers can make one-on-one meetings more meaningful 

Unfortunately, not everyone seems to be on the same page, as far as the values of one-on-one meetings are concerned. 

Although they are a crucial element for the overall success of a business, many managers see them as just another HR practice.

Not focusing enough on one-on-one meetings can lead to missing out on valuable opportunities that include improving employee performance. 

On the other hand, canceling these meetings at the last moment may lead to detrimental consequences and a negative impact on the overall organization culture.

Employees and managers can improve their inter-departmental collaboration by communicating more often and exchanging two-way feedback. That is exactly what one-on-one meetings are meant to achieve. 

Then, how do HR managers engage with their employees through one-on-one meetings? 

Let’s figure it out.

one on one meetings

Photo by airfocus on Unsplash

1. Provide actionable feedback

Experts claim that positive-minded employees are always on the lookout for direct feedback from their bosses. 

The only way this can be achieved is through one-on-one meetings. While HR managers are undoubtedly busier than anyone thinks, they should not miss out on this opportunity to interact directly with their team members.

Only when you engage and interact with your employees in the right way, do you come closer to realizing your corporate vision, achieving company goals, and so on. Today’s corporate world is filled with so much multitasking and tight deadlines that employees often forget to discuss things on a personal level.

In this remote working era, companies can truly benefit if managers plan as minimum as 25-30 minutes meeting with each employee. 

During these sessions, the motto of the discussion should be everything related to work and career. If your company is still following the work-from-home culture, investing in a high quality 1 on 1 meeting software can prove to be a gamechanger.

The motto here should be to constantly remind your employees about the company’s core principles and vision. This will ensure that your team members are always focused and motivated to bring their best efforts to the table.

2. Utilize the right set of tools to solve challenges

We recommend starting each of your 1-on-1 meetings by “sharing a positive and motivating story.” 

You could, for example, congratulate a coworker on a presentation he delivered. Complimenting someone can be an excellent technique to bring a spark of energy and enthusiasm in the conversation a

One-on-one sessions are also ideal for delving into significant strategic issues and solving recurring problems by encouraging your staff to share their opinions. You must make them feel that their opinions matter to the company. 

For example, you may present a list of remote hiring tools. Now ask your colleagues to vote and choose a winner. This will ensure extensive collaboration from everyone’s end, making the meeting more productive and a positive one.

It’s worth remembering that you must establish the right “balance” between asking questions as well as listening to what your colleague has to say. 

To make your meetings more positive, you might ask your staff to come up with a template that lists the problems they would like to discuss. This would encourage the employee to think about a specific problem and look for a potential solution ahead of time. Then, as the manager, you must aim to provide constructive criticism.

3. Schedule regular time on your calendars

One of the most common questions people ask is how many times should they conduct one-on-ones. 

The answer may vary depending on a number of factors, including the size of your team, the scale of your business, how experienced your staff is, and your team’s current productivity level.

It really doesn’t matter how frequently these meetings should happen. Instead, what matters the most is whether you put them on your calendar religiously as a recurring event, and more importantly, follow the schedule.

One of the biggest benefits of scheduling meetings ahead of time is that your employees won’t interrupt you for feedback if they already know when a meeting is about to happen. 

To find the right balance, you should experiment with different frequencies. 

Also, as a manager, it is your responsibility to arrive on time, even if that means you are the first one in the conference room.

Your employee will not only be annoyed if you come late for a one-on-one meeting, but also it would send them the wrong message, which is often the exact opposite of what you want to deliver. 

Also, make sure that you do not cancel these meetings, at least in the last hour. Your employees might have been waiting for days to seek approval of a project or ask for feedback. 

Canceling the meeting would lead to discouragement. And that’s a big no.

4. Hold employees’ attention

Let’s face it. 

There isn’t anything called free time in today’s busy world. 

Add to it workplace stress, and there you go; the perfect recipe for a disaster. 

It’s very common to end up organizing a 20-minute meeting only to run out of topics to discuss within the first eight minutes. That’s the last thing you want, especially if your meeting is focused on improving productivity.

Your goal should be to define “why” this meeting is important. 

Make a list of topics you’d like to cover during the one-on-one meeting. This will ensure that you never run out of important topics. 

Also, this will ensure that your employees pay full attention to the session. You might want to read how to hold employee attention at meetings to plan more strategically.

You may also want to ask your colleagues to prepare similar lists of topics to discuss. This will ensure that all their queries are answered thoroughly and the meeting session is far more productive than general chat sessions.

5. Discuss career goals

While the crucial business and operational issues, those of strategic importance should take precedence in your one-on-one sessions, you may not want to overlook the personal touch. 

One-on-one meetings can be a great opportunity to encourage your team members to care more deeply about their job and overall career.

This is where you can make a difference as an HR manager. You must get to know your coworkers as they are beyond the realm of everyday work. 

Understanding how they are as human beings and what their interests are would allow you to come up with a more personalized plan that will not only improve the way they see their jobs but also be beneficial from your company’s perspective.

We recommend that you always encourage yourself to attend the meeting with an open mind. 

Some managers might prefer to discuss professional growth at every meeting, while others may skip it sometimes in favor of bigger and more immediate operational challenges. 

If you choose to talk about your staff’s career ambitions, it’s a good idea to let your employee speak with more thought and deliberation.

Always make sure that you ask open-ended and direct questions. This can help keep your employees motivated. 

Also, make sure that you assure your staff that your company respects their career goals and you would do anything to help them flourish. 

A little encouragement and assurance can go a long way.


People tend to remember the last few minutes of a meeting more than how it started in the first place. 

Therefore, make sure that you close the meeting on a positive note. We suggest concluding the meeting with a statement of gratitude and appreciation.

Thanking the participant won’t take much time but it can positively impact your staff’s attitude towards work. 

Make them understand that you value their presence and appreciate their contribution to the one-on-one meetings. 

It’s not a secret anymore that employees value words of affirmation. You may want to mention something that they have been doing well. That might even be something not related to work.

In case you are having a meeting with an introverted individual, get him to participate in the discussion. 

Whatever you do, just make sure that your staff knows that you have got their back. Get more personal with your team members and make them feel like a part of a family called ‘workplace’.

Even if you work remotely, conducting more personal one-on-one meetings will keep your employees’ focus intact and they will flourish in what they do. 

That’s what meetings should be all about, bringing the best out of your team members. Do you agree?