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25 Questions for One-to-One Meetings

Lynsey May Sutherland
Lynsey Sutherland
October 30, 2023
7 min read

Whether you’re a manager or an employee, make your meeting time more effective by turning check-ins into something special with effective questions for one-to-one meetings in the workplace.

One-to-one meetings with your manager can often feel daunting. They are also a great opportunity for growth and understanding. As a manager, one-on-one meetings may feel routine, even a chore. But they can be the catalyst for a great working relationship. 

How to Ask for a One-to-one Meeting With Your Manager

In a highly productive team, you may feel like you don’t want to bother your manager. But chasing the next deadline is no reason to avoid meetings. It’s a manager’s job to support you. Don’t worry about your request being an inconvenience; any manager worth their salt will recognise your request as a positive. 

Communicate your desire for a meeting. Include your purpose and, if appropriate, desire to find a solution.

If you have discussion points that are beyond the normal scope of your meetings, send them a quick heads-up. Maybe even suggest extending the meeting a little. This allows your manager to mentally prepare and ensure that they’re engaging with you. 

How to Prepare Your Employee for an Effective One-to-one

Are you a manager? Help your employee make the most of their time with you by telling them what kind of meeting you’re planning. People can get flustered when put on the spot, especially in work situations.

Working remotely can make employee interaction scarce. This adds pressure to an already intense encounter.

Share your plans with your employees beforehand. Make it clear that these meetings are collaborative. One-on-one time should be a chance to connect and work together. With planning, you’ll be able to make your meetings more meaningful.

Tips for One-to-one Meetings Between Managers and Employees

1. Share ownership of the agenda

No matter who schedules the meeting, a shared agenda ensures that you’re both getting what you need from the meeting. 

2. Create and follow a structure

Without structure, a meeting between an employee and manager can quickly turn into just another status update. If you don’t make space for honest conversations, it’s tricky to make progress and boost development.

Make sure to factor in time for personal connection, too. Their day-to-day lives are important. How are their children? Did they complete their marathon?

3. A personal touch makes all the difference.

At Mo, we’re passionate about employee connection. That’s why we champion reward strategies for busy managers that go beyond performance reviews. Build real connections between managers and team members with our employee recognition platform.

4. Ask the right questions

Good questions are often open-ended questions. Whether you’re a manager or an employee, be willing to engage with new ideas. High-performance work environments are open to tweaking their management style and receiving feedback.

To build trust with your team members, focus on short-term feedback and long-term goals. Develop action items together. We’re aiming to move forward together. 

Still stuck? Keep reading for our top meeting questions and answers.

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Mo helps managers engage their workers through positive daily habits

Employee Engagement and Motivation Questions for Managers

  • How do you feel at work?
  • What do you enjoy most about your job?
  • What are you most proud of accomplishing in the past month/quarter?
  • What do you need from me to be successful in your role?
  • Is there anything I can do to make your job more engaging or challenging?
  • How do you feel about the current workload and deadlines?
  • Do you feel supported by your team and manager/me?
  • Do you have any feedback on how we can improve the team or company culture?

How to Answer Engagement Questions: Employee Edition

Be honest about how you’re feeling. What do you enjoy about your job? What could be better? It can be tempting to cover up discontent to appease your manager but this can lead to long-term problems. 

Be honest about your career path. There’s nothing wrong with having goals and ambitions; your manager should be aware to give you the best support.

Think about how supported you feel and whether there are any practical things your manager can do to help. Be sure to share your suggestions and be open to hearing potential solutions from your manager’s side. 

These are questions that can help your manager understand what you’re working on and how manageable your workload is. Answer honestly. Check-in with your manager. It’s better to be clear about your workload struggles now before it’s too late. 

This is also the ideal opportunity to let your manager know if there’s any training you think would benefit you. Could members of your team support you? Consider chatting about accountability in your team and performance management. 

Questions About Employee Motivations and Goals: Manager Edition

  • What are your top priorities right now?
  • How can I help you to organise?
  • How are you feeling about your workload next week and next month?
  • Is there anything else I can do to help you achieve your priorities?
  • Are there any tasks that you could delegate?

Questions for managers to ask employees about challenges or roadblocks

  • Are there any roadblocks I can help you overcome?
  • Are there any parts of your job that you find frustrating or that prevent you from doing your best work?
  • What is the biggest friction in your day?
  • If you could eliminate one task, what would it be and why?

How to Answer Questions About Challenges: Employee Edition

When a manager asks you difficult questions, they want to find a solution, not to catch you out. They may also be looking ahead and hoping to help you achieve even greater things in the future. 

Be honest about the things that are holding you back. It might be your work set-up, work-life balance, or communication skills. Sometimes, those seemingly difficult conversations are the ones that open new pathways to career growth.

Questions About Feedback and Recognition: Manager Edition

  • How do you prefer to receive constructive feedback?
  • Is there anything specific you’d like feedback on?
  • What are some things you’re proud of accomplishing recently?
  • What areas would you like to improve on?
  • Is your hard work recognised
  • What would you change about managers and their direct reports?
  • Do you feel heard in team meetings?

How to Answer Questions About Feedback and Recognition 

These questions can feel tough to answer but don’t feel as though you have to know everything at once. Giving and receiving constructive feedback is a skill. Tell your manager if there are new methods you’d like to try. 

If you have a skill or process you’d like to improve, bring it up as your manager. This is the moment when they will be most receptive to your requests. Bring up ways to improve your motivation, such as regular feedback. Mo gives managers the chance to reward team members regularly.

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Feedback is essential for a positive company culture

Questions to Ask Your Employees About Career Development

  • What new skills are you interested in learning?
  • What are your career goals, and how do you feel like you’re progressing towards them?
  • What part of the business would you like to learn more about?
  • Are we sufficiently supporting your development as an employee?
  • Are you interested in attending any conferences or courses? If so, do you have any specific recommendations?

How to Answer Questions About Your Career Development

If your manager is asking questions about your career development, make sure to share your plans for the future. Don’t be shy! Dreaming big is something to be proud of.

That said, come to your meeting with realistic expectations. Your next step is up for negotiation.

Why not suggest taking on extra responsibilities? Have you suggested shadowing other members of your team? You never know where it will lead.

This is also an excellent time to say you’d like some mentoring or coaching.

Questions for One-to-one Meetings: Template

Prepare for your meetings with our sharable template. It’s perfect for structuring productive meetings. Discover our template from Notion. 

Tools to help you have better one-to-ones

There are also some handy tools out there that can help you have better, more effective and effective one-to-ones. A few of our favourites include:

  • Fellow – this handy app has a great function for building collaborative meeting plans. Fellow makes it easy to structure your 1-1 meetings.
  • Hypercontext – designed to be a great tool for managers, this has tons of templates and integrates well with various communication platforms. 
  • Peoplebox – perfect for strategising. Peoplebox ensures that you’re getting the most out of your meetings, as well as aligning on goals.

Transform your culture with Mo

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Book a free demo to learn how Mo can help you:
  • Improve employee engagement scores
  • Reduce employee churn
  • Build a collaborative culture
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Mo is a tried-and-tested way to reward your employees. We make it easy for busy managers to recognise, engage and connect with their teams.

We give managers weekly suggestions to energise and connect with their people. We help teams motivate employees with rewards and recognition that go beyond a boring gift card. Join companies like SHL, OVO Energy and William Hill in delivering meaningful improvement on engagement results with Mo. Book a free demo today.

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