5 Tips to Make One-on-Ones Successful

Having a regular one-on-one with your employee or manager is very underrated. On the one hand - why have regular one-on-ones when

August 19, 2021
Press the button to generate random icebreaker questions.
There are 300 more icebreaker questions at the bottom of the article
How would you describe your job to a five year old?
What season would you be?
What is a weird food you have tried? Would you eat it again?
What is your favorite holiday tradition?
Would you go in the mother-ship with aliens if they landed on Earth tomorrow?
What is your favorite season?
Do prefer working from home or the office?
What is your earliest memory of this job?
What is the best thing you have bought so far this year?
What is the earliest book you remember?
If you had to move to another country, which one would you choose?
You are the best criminal mastermind in the world. What crime would you commit if you knew you would get away with it?
What is your favorite movie genre to watch?
What was the last thing you ate?
What person from history would you add to Mount Rushmore?
What is a weird fact you know?
What is your favorite part of working from home?
Were the Spice Girls a good team?
Imagine you can instantly learn any language. Which would you choose?
If you could live in any state, which state would you pick?
Which fictional team is the best team of all time?
What did you want to be when you grew up?
What do you usually eat for a quick lunch?
What simple food will you never eat?
Show us the weirdest thing you have in the room with you right now.
Would you rather stay at a hotel or an AirBNB?
What is your favorite movie genre to watch?
Are you more productive in the morning or at night?
Who is someone in your community that makes a difference?
Who was your most unique pet?
Choose one famous person from history you want on your team during a zombie apocalypse.
What is a good way to give back to the community?
Which song could you listen to over and over again?
Is Hugh Grant funny?
What is your favorite thing to eat for breakfast?
Would you want to have an imaginary friend today? Did you have one as a child?
What actor or actress would you want to play you in the movie about your life?
What is the best super power?
What is your New Years resolution?
You can only eat one food again for the rest of your life. What is it?
What is the best work holiday?
What is the first gift you remember receiving?
Would you rather join Metallica or Backstreet Boys?
What is the best example of a community you have seen?
What is an easy way to do something nice for someone?
Show us your phone background and tell the story behind why you picked this image.
What was your first job?
Pick any band to play at your funeral.
If you could have an unlimited supply of one thing for the rest of your life, what would you pick?
Which superpower would you give to your arch enemy?
What is the most obscure superpower you would want?
What emoji best describes how you are feeling right now?
If you could live in any country, which country would you pick?
Would you rather live in a city or a town?
What is your favorite holiday?
What is something you accomplished as part of a team?
What is your standard office lunch?
What is your most used phone app?
What is your favorite season?
Have you ever won something as a team?
Imagine you are a professional baseball player. What is your introduction song?
Beach holiday or ski trip?
Have you ever been to a funny comedy show?
Would you rather live at the North Pole or the South Pole?
What is your favorite song to sing?
If you could live in any state, which state would you pick?
Imagine you could teleport anywhere. Where would you go right now?
What is the most unusual job you have heard of?
What was the last thing you ate?
You can visit any fictional time or place. Which would you pick?
What do your family and friends think you do all day?
What movie do you wish you could watch again for the first time?
Show us your most-used emoji.
What was the most unique style or fashion trend you ever embraced?
What movie defined your generation?
You are stranded on a remote desert island. Are you alone or with your worst enemy?
What is your favorite knock-knock joke?
Have you ever told someone Santa is not real?
Do you know how to speak more than one language?
On a scale of 1 – 10, how much of a team player are you?
What is your #1 recommendation in this city?
What is your favorite holiday?
What bucket list item do you most want to check off in the next six months?
What is your favorite mythical creature?
What was the first way you made money?
If you could be great at any Olympic sport, which would it be?
Which song could you listen to over and over again?
When did you start liking/hating mushrooms?
Where is your favorite vacation spot?
Do you take your PTO all at one time, or another way?
Which show do you remember most from your childhood?
Which beverage goes best with pizza?
Would you want to have a personal assistant follow you around everywhere and do what you asked of them?
Have you ever met your idol?
What did you want to be when you grew up?
Would you rather live 100 years in the past or 100 years in the future?
What is your hobby?
When you are alone in the car, what volume is the music at?
Imagine you no longer have to work. How would you spend a Tuesday?
What is your favorite type of sandwich?

Having a regular one-on-one with your employee or manager is very underrated. On the one hand - why have regular one-on-ones when you probably talk to them throughout the day/week anyway? On the other hand - it's a consistent check-in point that helps more than it seems. 

There are ways to maximize the effectiveness of one-on-ones and make that valuable time for both parties. Here are 5 ways to get the most out of the 1:1s: 

1. Remember: it's a two-way street 

Managers often feel like one-on-ones are employee time to ask questions. Employees treat it as a check-in with the boss and their time to provide feedback on the job so far. As a result, both parties tend to focus on a question/answer format that stays high-level. Dig deeper. The Manager-employee relationship is just like any other relationship in your life, as in, it works both ways. Take this time to share, connect, and create the trust to help the employee grow and the manager inspire. 

2. Make it regular 

Things come up, and we get it. However, make it a habit to have one-on-ones with direct reports, regardless of how often you talk to them throughout the workweek. Did you know that some of the most successful managers prioritize one-on-ones over everything else they have to do? The reasoning behind it is pretty simple - regular check-ins that unblock employees lead to better productivity and overall success. 

3. Document and analyze over time 

Consistency is vital, but so is documentation. Having a place where all the notes from one-on-ones are stored and are together allows for reflection opportunities later on. Take a look back at one-on-ones when you are getting ready for the yearly review, performance evaluation, or even the following week. Take notes of what worked, what didn't, possible solutions, and next steps. It will create a sense of accountability and can be used as a plan of action. 

4. Utilize tools 

Of course, you can keep using Google Docs or Notes for your one-on-ones, but there are much better options that promote effective 1:1s, store the information long term, and are only visible to the responsible parties. Check out Assembly's One-on-One Workflow. It allows you to document essential goals, KPIs, and outcomes, create and edit talking points, collect feedback from the meeting, and have a place for all one-on-one notes. Employees who are actively involved by management in their professional development are 4x more likely to be engaged, and this One on One workflow will ensure engagement and show the commitment to growth.

5. Create a safe space 

We are all human beings with emotions, bad days, and life events, regardless of the company rank. As much as office work often prioritizes creating a work-only environment, make sure there is space for employees to be human and themselves. Whether it's sharing about your day beyond work, asking follow-up questions about their life, or letting an employee vent, make sure you are not only helping them grow as a worker but as a person too. Trust me, your employees will thank you. 


Browse our Free Employee Recognition Guide

Get the foundational knowledge on creating an employee recognition program that boosts employee engagement and helps them feel valued.

Explore Guide
Employee recognition guide