Effective one-on-one meetings are the gateway to better working relationships, increased employee happiness, and higher productivity. They’re the perfect venue for goal setting, constructive feedback, employee engagement, check-ins, and support.
The best one-on-one meetings are those with a clear yet simple agenda. An uncomplicated outline that covers top priorities, action items, and things to discuss (e.g. workload, career development, feedback).
The right agenda can help you focus on progress and problem solving, instead of getting lost in conversation. Plus, research shows that 64% of people enjoy a well-planned meeting — it scored higher than a free lunch.
If you feel like your one-on-ones aren’t working right now, or you want to revamp your process, you’re in the right place. We’ve pulled together 8 examples of the best one-on-one agenda templates for managers. All you need to do is find the perfect one and personalize it.
1. First-time 1-1 meeting template
Best for: Welcoming a new team member, discovering their preferences, and supporting their onboarding experience.
Suggested time: 45-60 minutes
You only get one first meeting with a new team member, so make it count! Research shows that 70% of variance in employee engagement scores is directly related to management. This is your opportunity to get the relationship off to a great start.
This first-time one-on-one template by the engineering company Hatica kicks off by asking about work styles and feedback preferences. Next, there’s room to discuss career development and their thoughts on future meetings. Finally, get to know each other better with a handful of relationship building questions:
Have you worked remotely before? If so, for how long?
What about our remote practices do you want to learn about?
Would you like to address any particulars from our team wiki or the onboarding documentation?
What's your preferred method of communication?
What do you like and dislike about communication and collaboration processes you've used until now?
How often would you like to get feedback?
What are your preferred methods of feedback? Personal, group, email, Slack, etc?
What about recognition?
What are your 10-year goals?
What are your immediate 30-day goals?
What are your goals and objectives for the next 6 months?
What are your expectations from the 1-1s going forward?
How often would you like to have 1-1s?
What are your hobbies? What do you do on the weekends?
What do you do to celebrate the small wins?
What do you do to fully disconnect at the end of the day?
Next steps and action items
For [name] [role]
[ ] Action Item 1
[ ] Action Item 2
For [name] [role]
[ ] Action item 1
[ ] Action item 2
➡️ Try this first-time one-on-one meeting template
2. Weekly check-in meeting template
Best for: Understanding what your team member is working on, solving blocks, and setting goals for the next week.
Suggested time: 30 minutes
Weekly check-in meetings are often used to share status updates, but they’re also an opportunity to tackle roadblocks and seek feedback. This template looks at your team member’s overall mood, how their work went last week, and what they want to achieve this week. There’s also space to discuss a themed topic, and room for manager feedback and questions:
How are you feeling this week?
How are your key projects going (pick 1-3)? Anything I can help with or give feedback on?
What are you hoping to accomplish this week? Is there anything you anticipate getting in your way?
Let’s check in on your quarterly OKRs/learning and development plans/career direction*
Is there anything else you want to discuss?
Any feedback for me? (e.g. What could I have done differently on XX project?)
* Rotate this to discuss one of these topics each week.
➡️ Get this weekly check-in meeting template
3. Empowering 1-1 meeting template (45 minutes)
Best for: Empowering your direct report, addressing blockers, and prioritizing constructive feedback.
Suggested time: 45 minutes
This meeting agenda template comes from the mind of Kristi Hedges, author of The Power of Presence and The Inspiration Code. Instead of you leading the conversation, the meeting opens with your direct report — giving them a chance to talk about their needs first.
Invite your direct report to talk about the past week, raise issues, and ask questions, then move into feedback and delegation. Finally, cover any long-term talking points and recap with action points:
Direct report: 15 minutes What your direct report needs to raise with you, get approved, get clarification on, etc.
Manager: 15 minutes What you need to raise with your direct report, delegate, provide feedback on, etc.
Free time: 10 minutes Free time to air any long-term concerns, progress toward development goals, etc.
Next steps: 5 minutes State accountabilities and make a plan for follow-up
Tip: Add more structure to this agenda by adding a few bullet points for the first two sections. This helps avoid any surprises and lets you both prepare for a more productive discussion on topics.
➡️ Try this Empowering 1-1 meeting template
4. Structured 1-1 meeting template (bi-monthly)
Best for: Less frequent 1-1 meetings, where you need more structure than other templates. It's also great for startups!
Suggested time: 45 minutes
This one-on-one template comes courtesy of Margaret Roth Falzon, Chief Operating Officer at Squadra Ventures. This template focuses on the 3 Ps — progress, plans, and problems. Use this structure to celebrate wins, understand work plans, and solve challenges:
Progress - What were your biggest accomplishments since we last spoke? Why were they a success?
Plans - What are your biggest goals between now and when we next meet?
Problems - What are the problems that you are facing?
Tip: Ask your direct report to add a handful of bullet points for each section to the agenda, so you both have an idea of what you’ll discuss. This also means you can prepare ideas and feedback in advance, and share more valuable insights at the meeting.
➡️ Get this structured 1-1 meeting template
5. Effective 1-1 meeting template
Best for: Getting direct responses, encouraging feedback, and embracing simplicity in your communication.
Suggested time: 30 minutes.
This short yet effective 1-1 meeting template comes from Kim Scott, founder of Radical Candor. It’s a reminder that your agenda doesn’t need to be complicated to be successful. The template features direct questions around happiness and productivity, with a section for you to exchange feedback:
What’s on your mind this week?
How happy were you this past week?
How productive were you this past week?
What feedback do you have for me?
➡️ Try this effective 1-1 meeting template
6. Career development 1-1 meeting template
Best for: Identifying career goals, exploring additional support, and understanding what your direct report is excited about.
Suggested time: 60 minutes
When it’s time for a discussion about professional development and long-term goals, you want your direct report to feel ready and happy to share their goals, plans, and needs. This template starts by asking about those big goals and interests, then moves on to explore potential support needs:
What would you like to accomplish this year?
Are there any projects you’d like to implement, expand, or join?
Do you think any of your current duties could benefit from additional resources or training?
What professional job or career growth goals do you hope to achieve within three years?
What additional support can this organization provide so that you can accomplish these goals?
Tip: Share this agenda with your direct report at least a week in advance. This gives them more time to prepare, so they can ask for exactly what they want and be more strategic with their answers.
➡️ Get this career development 1-1 meeting template.
7. Coaching session 1-1 meeting template
Best for: Running an effective coaching session with your direct report.
Suggested time: 60 minutes
Coaching should be part of any great manager’s toolkit. It’s a powerful way to help high performing team members understand and reach their professional goals. This template comes features six key sections to work through for a productive coaching session:
1. Establish Coaching Agreement
What is the issue/goal you’d like to focus on today?
What is important about this for you?
2. Set the Goal or Outcome for the Session
How will you know you achieved what you want to accomplish today?
What will that look like or feel like? (subjective or objective)
Where are you now regarding what you wanted to achieve today?
3. Coach the Direct Report (Exploration)
What is the BEST solution for you in this situation?
What changes or differences might you or others notice?
4. Identify and Commit to Action
What might get in the way of accomplishing this?
How will you support your commitment to this action?
5. Record Key Outcomes
What are your take-aways from this session?
What new awareness or learning happened today?
How will this support you going forward?
6. Set Accountability
How will you hold yourself accountable to the goal(s) you set today?
How can I partner with you to enhance your accountability?
➡️ Try this coaching session 1-1 meeting template
8. Manager transition 1-1-1 meeting template
Best for: Introducing your replacement if you're leaving a job, discussing performance, and creating a smooth transition.
Suggested time: 45-60 minutes
If you’re moving on to a new role, a smooth transition can help your direct report feel settled and comfortable with their new manager. This manager transition template from Gitlab gives you room to make introductions, discuss performance, offer feedback, and set next steps:
Introductions and reason why the manager transition is happening.
Review most recent performance evaluations, OKRs, and goals.
Share any additional feedback since recent reviews.
Are there any follow-on 1-1-1 transition meetings needed?
Tip: This meeting can feel awkward for some people, as they’re meeting a new manager and having their performance discussed in front of them. Let your direct report know what to expect and send them details in advance, so they feel happy to discuss everything openly.
➡️ Get this manager transition meeting template
How to use agendas in Vowel
If you use Vowel's meeting software for your one-on-one meetings and want to use one of the above agendas, copy the text and paste it into the agenda from your Upcoming tab. Or go to the Meeting templates section from your dashboard to add a template you'd like to use over and over:
With Vowel, it’s easy for your direct reports to collaborate on the agenda because they'll see it as soon as you add one to the meeting. And if you create an agenda before the meeting, it'll carry into the meeting as your shared notes, so it's easy for you to both follow along and add action items. Sign up today for free!
Host productive meetings with these one-on-one meeting templates
A clear, concise agenda helps set expectations about your meeting before it begins. These one-on-one meeting templates give you a shortcut to more meaningful discussions by getting you and your direct report on the same page every time your meet.
Use them in a Google Doc, or copy and paste into Vowel for a more seamless and collaborative agenda-setting experience.