The Ultimate Checklist For An Effective One-On-One Meeting

Want to have more effective one-on-one meetings with your employees?

August 15, 2022
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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?

Picture this - you call a one-on-one meeting with an employee, but you don’t have a meeting agenda and didn't prepare properly. So, the meeting ends up as a generic conversation interspersed with awkward silences.

It can be better! 

A one-on-one meeting is helpful in keeping up with employees and boosting team productivity.  It’s also a great place to set expectations around performance and build connnections in the team. So, it’s always important to make the best of it.

This article will explore how to make the best out of these meetings with a compelling one-on-one meeting checklist.

How Do You Conduct A One-On-One Meeting?

The first step to conducting a one-on-one meeting is setting the date on your calendar. Ensure that it's a convenient time for you to avoid constant cancellations. Frequent cancellations and reschedules often send the wrong message - that the meetings are not that important. 

Once you have it in your calendar, the next thing is to have a plan. One-on-one meetings shouldn’t be freestyle sessions where you go in and hope for the best. To get the best of them, ensure to go in with a clear plan. 

In fact, your employee should know what you expect from them ahead of time so that they can come prepared. Preparation is the key ingredient to a conducting successful one-on-one meeting.

What Should Be Discussed In A One-On-One Meeting?

One-on-one meetings should be used to connect with employees. To know how they are doing in their roles, teams, and personal life. First, it’s essential to keep your questions open-ended. If all your questions only require yes or no answers, you'll not have the quality of conversation you ought to have. 

The general direction of one-on-one meeting questions is typically easy to navigate. But what do you discuss exactly? What kind of conversations do you have?

Here are 10 topics to get you started:

  1. Onboarding
  2. Motivation and work styles
  3. Check-in on team goals/ongoing projects
  4. Professional Development Opportunities
  5. Personal Development Plans
  6. Performance Reviews
  7. Feedback/Recognition 
  8. Periodic company surveys
  9. Support structures available - Mentoring programs, training opportunities
  10. Compensation Discussion

Why Is A Meeting Checklist Helpful?

Going into a meeting with a checklist is especially helpful when scheduling your one-on-one meetings because it forces you to think through your meeting agenda. It also helps you focus on necessary topics, ensuring that all items on the agenda are discussed. Keeping the meeting efficient and effective. It’s key for meetings to have a positive impact on employees, so having a structure is important.

Having a one-on-one meeting template to work with keeps unproductive meetings at bay.

15 checklist points that make an effective one-on-one meeting 

A one-on-one meeting agenda highlights things to do before, during, and after a meeting. 

Want to have more effective and useful one-on-one meetings with your employees? Check out these 15 checklist points for making sure each meeting count:

Before The Meeting
  1. Itemize the things you want to discuss

You'll have different one-on-one meetings with employees, and their objectives will be different. It’s essential to make a list of the things you want to discuss before each meeting. Having a list helps you organize your thoughts and clearly share how the meeting should go.

  1. Ask the employees if they have something they'd like to discuss 

You know what you want to talk about, but you also need to consider that employees often have things to discuss too. If they’re able to tell you before the meeting, you can add it to your agenda. In doing so, you're showing that you care enough to consider their concerns.

  1. Set an agenda and questions

Having an agenda will set the structure and tone of the meeting. And if things are going off track during the meeting, you can always refer to the agenda. Then set your questions based on the outcome you'll expect.

Need help with setting an agenda and your one-on-one questions? Get started with Assembly.

  1. Kickstart with a check-in

Set the tone of the meeting by checking in. Find out how employees are doing and where their heads are. You can connect with them by sharing how you spend your time outside the office. This will help them relax and set the tone for a successful meeting.

  1. Take down notes

You might have great mental recall power, but information could often fall between the cracks. 

Take notes throughout the meeting to properly document the important details and create follow-up questions. Having a note also ensures you don't go off track during the meeting because you can always go back to your questions.

With Assembly’s note-taking templates, you never have to lose track of meeting notes again. Book a Demo to get started.

  1. Let them express themselves

One-on-one meetings with employees are a time to listen to them and receive feedback. Ensure that the questions you set for the meeting allow them to talk about their work and welfare in the company as well.

  1. Acknowledge their wins

A great way to keep employees happy without spending a fortune is by recognizing their efforts. So talk about their wins in recent times, ask them how it made them feel and whether they enjoyed working on the project. 

Take it a step further by asking about the current project they enjoy and why. Conversations like this will make them feel good and feel appreciated by the company. Even if some complaints follow this, they'll be motivated to do better. 

  1. Talk about challenges

No matter how great the work conditions are, there's usually a hindering factor somewhere. From one-on-one meetings with employers, you'll know what their hindering factors are. 

Ask what challenges they face while executing their tasks and share how the company can help them. Even when you don’t have a solution, it’s important that they know you'll revert with practical solutions.

  1. Ask about their professional objectives

Professional death starts from doing things that don't align with one's professional goals. It is also to the company's detriment to have the wrong people doing certain projects. 

Use the one-on-one meeting to learn about their professional goals and ensure that employees are placed in teams that allow them to do their best work. You might need to ask this question during every one-on-one meeting with employees because goals change.

  1. Hold them accountable

Are they working on a project? Is there an approaching deadline? Ask them about it. You must reemphasize how important it is to keep to deadlines. Don't let this take a chunk of your meeting time, however. You'll probably hear it again during the next standup.

  1. Give feedback

Even great employees have areas they could improve at. The best way to give feedback is to keep it simple, honest, and kind. A harsh criticism could be met with defensiveness and that defeats the purpose of this meeting. Let them know what areas they need to work on in a kind, empathetic and firm way.

  1. Create a to-do list

You have come to the end of the meeting by now. Create an action plan for both of you based on the meeting. You can use these action points to hold them accountable and find ways the company can help them improve.

After The Meeting
  1. Follow up on action points

Ensure to follow up with employees about things you discussed and the action plans you made in the previous meeting. This shows that the meetings are in fact, useful tools for employee and company growth.

14. Planning against the next meeting

As you go through meetings, priorities change as new situations to tackle come up. So, prioritize the topic of discussion for the next meeting. Remember that it's an ongoing process, so don't attempt to solve several issues simultaneously.

15. Tie-in with the company's objectives

After the meeting, you should have learned more about the employee goals and vision and its alignment with the company. If it aligns, how can the company help them to be better? If it doesn't, what steps can the company take to change that.

Create A Personalized Meeting Agenda

How one-on-one meetings are conducted often comes down to the personality of the team member or manager. What works for one team won't necessarily work for another. 

That's why we recommend you create a personalized checklist online based on what has and hasn't worked so far.

Another recommendation is a one-on-one meeting template. It is an effective way to take the dread out of the one-on-one meeting process, giving you a clear idea of what needs to be done and how it could be done.

Assembly’s one on one workflow allows you organize successful meetings without hassle. Check out the video below to get started. 

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

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Assembly SOC 2 compliant?

Yes, at Assembly, security is a top priority. Each quarter, we have ongoing security work that is everyone’s responsibility. While we maintain a strong security posture, it was important for us to prove to our customers that we do everything we claim to do. This led us to pursue a SOC 2 Type II report that would provide evidence of our compliance with industry gold-standard security practice.

What's the ROI for employee recognition?

There is study after study showing that employee recognition leads to increased engagement. This in return creates an environment where employees are happier and more motivated which increase productivity and reduces voluntary turnover significantly. In order to filled critical roles, companies tend to spend nearly twice the value of an annual salary. Assembly is an investment in your employees that supports your bottom line.

Does Assembly offer longer-term contracts?

Yes, we will offer contracts for companies with longer-term agreements to help larger customers have more certainty around future costs.

The minimum agreement term is a 12-month subscription.

Does Assembly offer onboarding support?

We do and for FREE! Any new customer needing further support to get started with Assembly to ensure you're set up for success can request custom onboarding support. Improving your employee experience is about much more than just using our amazing software; it’s about transforming your business to create a workplace that people love. That’s much easier to do with the personal support and advice from our passionate people experts.

Is there a free version of Assembly?

Yes. We offer a completely free plan for up to 50 team members. This plan is intended for teams or organizations that are looking to get started with an employee engagement tool. Keep in mind, this plan is limited in features.

All customers can open an Assembly account for free and get started without a credit card. Then you can change plans as necessary.

How much do rewards cost?

At the time of redemption (when your employees exchange their points for a paid reward) you'll pay face value. If a reward is a $10 Amazon gift card, your cost will be $10. All paid rewards are billed for on a monthly basis.

The good news is that you don't have to pay for rewards upfront because we only charge you when points are redeemed, not when they're earned.

Does Assembly offer discounts?

We offer discounts or educational or charitable organizations. In order to secure a discount, you'll first need to book a demo with a customer support specialist.

For all other organizations, we are willing to consider longer-term agreements in exchange for discounts. To set up annual plans or longer, you will need to book a demo with a customer support specialist.

How do I cancel my plan if needed?

If you're on a month to month plan, you can go here and cancel anytime. If you're having concerns or need help setting up your account for success, you can always book a demo with a customer support specialist.

If you're on a longer-term custom plan, you'll need to reach out to your customer support specialist to cancel your account or email us at

What customizations are available?

Great question! You can customize your core values to match your organization's to boost and track alignment. You can change your currency from the 🏆 emoji (our default) to any emoji of your choice. You can swap our logo for your own. You can also set up company culture rewards such as, "Lunch with the CEO," "Buy a book on us," and so much more!

Who can give or receive recognition?

While we recommend a peer to peer set up where anyone in your organization can give or receive recognition, you can set up Assembly however you want. If you need to limit the people who can give or receive recognition, that's perfectly fine and can be done from your Admin, here.

What integrations are available?

Assembly connects to the tools your employees use every day to offer an easy, seamless experience with minimal change management.  

Assembly has integrations with HCM/HRIS systems like ADP, Google, Office 365, and Slack. We also integrate with communication tools like Slack and Teams so you and your employees can access Assembly wherever they work now.

What's your average adoption rate?

That depends on the company's permissions set up. That said, over 90% of the employees on Assembly's platform are recognized on a monthly basis. That means nearly every employee across all of our customers are receiving regular recognition from their peers, managers, or leadership. We're extremely proud of this.

Must rewards be set up to use Assembly?

They are not required. You can use Assembly without having rewards set up. However, we don't recommend it if you intend to have a high adoption and usage rate. You can always keep the costs down by offering internal culture rewards that are fulfilled by you internally.

Are points required to use Assembly?

No, you can remove allowances from anyone or everyone. It's up to you but we do recommend using points whether they're worth a real dollar value or not. Companies that use points have a much higher engagement rate even if those points don't exchange for real dollars.

Could find the answer you are looking for?

Please schedule time with an expert and we will help you to get all your questions answered