25 Examples of 1:1 Employee Check-In Questions

Effective communication is the backbone of a well-functioning workplace, and one of the most effective methods of fostering open communication is through a 1 on 1 meeting. These personalized interactions provide a unique opportunity to break away from the routine of group meetings and mass emails, allowing for an intimate, focused, and productive exchange of ideas, feedback, and planning.

One-on-one meetings are significant for both the employee and the employer. These meetings provide the employee with a safe and private platform to discuss personal goals, challenges, and ideas. It is also an opportunity to seek guidance, express concerns, and receive feedback on their performance. Spaces like 1 on 1 meetings can keep a workplace productive and functional. 

For the employer, these meetings offer insightful perspectives from the ground level. Employers gain firsthand knowledge about the triumphs and tribulations faced by their team, making them better equipped to make informed decisions and plans. It allows for preemptive action on issues before they escalate, keeping the work environment healthy and reducing turnover rates.

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However, not all of these meetings are equal. The questions that are asked in a 1 on 1 meeting are the deciding factor of how good a meeting is. Example questions an employer should ask can fall into categories, such as:

  • General check-in questions
  • Communication questions
  • Professional growth questions
  • Relationship questions
  • Questions about challenges

General Check-In Questions

When starting a one-to-one, it is important to remember these meetings are not exclusively about work. You might try to also contextualize your employees’ work lives with their personal lives, and discuss how certain aspects of work are affecting each.

A few introductory questions, such as these examples below, can reveal a lot about employees’ well-being inside and outside of the office:

  1. “How did last week go? Did you accomplish the goals you set out to complete at the beginning of the week?”
  2. “Are there challenges that will most likely be present this week? What are those challenges?”
  3. “How is your day going? What are your goals for the coming week?”
  4. “What tasks are you going to prioritize this week?”
  5. “What’s on your mind heading into this week?”

Communication Questions

Effective and mutual communication is fundamental to the smooth functioning of any organization. By probing into this aspect, managers can identify potential roadblocks or misunderstandings that might be hindering progress.

Questions that focus on communication ultimately foster a healthier, more efficient, and more effective work environment. Examples include:

  1. "Do you feel that the communication within our team is effective? If not, what aspects do you think we could improve?"
  2. "Are there any messages or instructions that you've found unclear recently? How could we have communicated them better?"
  3. "Do you feel comfortable voicing your ideas and concerns within the team? If not, what steps could we take to make you feel more at ease?"
  4. "How well do you feel updated about changes and developments in our project or the wider organization? Is there anything more you would like to know about?"
  5. "What communication tools or methods do you prefer for different types of information? How can we better cater to your communication preferences?"

Professional Growth Questions

Commonly, questions regarding an employee’s career are reserved for meetings that happen bi-yearly or yearly. However, employees can be easily motivated if they remember the goals that they are trying to achieve in their work.

Giving employees professional guidance and a space to talk about what they want in the future on a regular basis can greatly improve their motivation and energy in the workplace. For example, consider the following:

  1. "What are your short-term and long-term career goals, and how can we support you in achieving them?"
  2. "What skills or competencies would you like to further develop or acquire? Are there any training programs or resources that you feel would benefit you?"
  3. "Are there any specific projects, roles, or responsibilities you are interested in taking up that you believe will contribute to your professional growth?"
  4. "Can you identify any personal achievements or improvements since our last meeting that you believe have contributed to your professional development?"
  5. "Is there any feedback or guidance that you feel you need from me or the organization to better support your career progression and professional development?"

Relationship Questions 

Employees must have stable and civil relationships with each other and their manager, but obviously some employees have stronger relationships with each other. Putting team members that get along together can greatly increase the motivation, satisfaction, and productivity of workers.

1 on 1 meetings can be utilized to uncover these inter-workplace bonds and to create and maintain positive work environments. Examples of questions focused on relationships include:

  1. "How would you describe your relationship with your colleagues? Are there any conflicts or issues that you'd like to discuss?"
  2. "Do you feel that your ideas and contributions are valued and respected by the team? If not, can you give an example?"
  3. "Are there any improvements you would suggest to enhance teamwork and collaboration within our group? Are there any improvements that  you would like me to make?"
  4. "Do our meetings feel useful and helpful? Are there certain aspects of your work that you would wish to talk about more?"
  5. "How do you feel about the overall team culture? Are there any aspects of it that you think we could improve?"

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Questions About Challenges

One of the manager’s most important jobs is to alleviate the stresses and challenges of his or her employees. All of these stresses are not fixable, but the manager should try to address the problems as best as he or she can.

The manager can ask if someone needs some assistance with a project, an extension on a deadline, or some form of general support and motivation. Moreover, long-term and large-scale projects can be stressful and overbearing, and a genuine attempt to help an employee can be just as motivating and valuable as actually helping them.

Example 1:1 questions focused on challenges include:

  1. "What are the biggest challenges you are currently facing in your role? How can I help address these challenges and concerns?"
  2. "Are there any obstacles or barriers in the current workplace environment or work processes that are impeding your productivity or job satisfaction?"
  3. "Is there a recent situation or project that didn't go as planned? What were the challenges and what did you learn from the experience?"
  4. "Are there any skills or tools you think you need to overcome current or future challenges in your role? How can I support you in acquiring them?"
  5. "How do you manage stress and maintain work-life balance given the demands of your role? Are there any aspects in which the organization could provide better support?"

Improve 1-1 Meeting Efficiency with Performance Management Software

The benefits of 1 on 1 meetings are valuable, but organizing these meetings can be very difficult if you do not have an organizational system. Especially if there are high numbers of team members, organizing meetings for every team member can be incredibly difficult.

Performance management software, like PerformYard, can greatly streamline the process. This type of software solution can establish a standard meeting agenda so that every meeting can have fair, yet specific, questions. Additionally, this agenda-setting feature can often be customized for each meeting, allowing managers to focus on particular areas based on the employee's needs or business objectives.

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After 1:1 meetings, tasks or action items can be set and assigned with due dates, which enables managers to effectively monitor follow-ups. Additionally, this assists employees because it gives them a centralized location with all of their due dates and goals for the week, month, and year. 

Finally, the accumulated data from these meetings can be used to gain insights into the employee's performance, growth, and engagement over time. This can inform individual development plans, performance reviews, and even broader team or organizational strategies. By using performance management software in this way, managers ensure they are effectively conducting 1 on 1 meetings and maximizing the value derived from these essential interactions.

To learn more about how PerformYard can help streamline your 1:1 meetings, complete our demo request form.

PerformYard lets you streamline a custom review process with 1:1s and more.Learn More