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30 Questions To Use During Your 1:1s

Sep 7, 2022| Reading time: 6min

BY Alex Hilleary

Principal Content Marketing Manager

Looking for a sure-fire way to increase employee engagement? Gallup points to the performance management process – specifically, regular 1:1s between employees and managers – as a way to potentially triple your engagement

When leaders manage employee performance on a continuous basis, they set their people up for success. That’s because regular check-ins (especially in the first 90 days) help build trust between managers and direct reports, and give visibility into current tasks and professional growth initiatives. 

But to make the most out of your meetings, you’ll want to use the right 1:1 questions to guide your discussions and pinpoint needs. Sharlyn Lauby, HR consultant, notes that 1:1s should involve a two-way dialogue in which both parties provide feedback and check-in on individual and team goals. She says: “Feedback meetings aren’t just where managers talk, mostly about negative stuff, and the employee listens. The feedback should be positive and constructive on both sides and help the employee perform at a higher level.”

You therefore want to equip your managers with the right 1:1 questions – and even standardized templates – to improve employee engagement and performance. 

standardized 1:1 template

When you use a standardized template within a people analytics platform, you can document your people’s progress and ensure 1:1 check-in alignment across teams. This helps solidify your performance management process across departments.

The Top 1:1 Questions to Transform Your Check-Ins

Ready to amp up your check-ins? Good 1:1 questions will help manage employee performance by helping your people feel supported, personally and professionally, as they work towards their goals.

Below are 30 1:1 questions for managers to ask throughout your performance management process. 

Pulse Check 

  1. How are you feeling since we last spoke?
  2. What is top of mind for you right now?
  3. What accomplishment would make you happy?

Last Month’s Reflection

  1. What was your biggest time waster?
  2. What was your biggest win?
  3. What was your biggest challenge this past month?

Working Style

  1. How can I or the team help you be more productive?
  2. What kind of work did you enjoy the most recently?
  3. When you are stressed or frustrated at work, how does that come out?

Manager Feedback

  1. What amount of feedback do you need to move forward in a project?
  2. What do you need me to help you with so that you are successful?
  3. Besides money, how do you like to be rewarded for a job well done?

Personal Development 

  1. What is your least favorite part of the role and how can we work to lessen that feeling?
  2. How would you like your career to grow, and what can I do to help you accomplish your goals?
  3. Is there anyone in the company you’d like to learn from or collaborate with?

Current Projects

  1. How are your projects going? What could we do to make them better?
  2. Which parts of your project are unclear or confusing?
  3. Are there any projects you’d like to work on if you were given the opportunity?

Quarterly Goals

  1. How have OKRs or KPIs shifted since they first started, and are you on-track to hit them? 
  2. What, if anything, is hindering your progress and how can I help you work through it?
  3. What’s one thing we could do today to help you with your goals?

Team Collaboration

  1. Do you feel confident in how your team is progressing?
  2. Who do you partner well with, and why do you think that is?
  3. Is there anything we can do to improve team dynamics and collaborative efforts?

Company Insights

  1. What follow-up questions do you have about the company’s most recent all-hands meeting?
  2. How do you view your role within the company?
  3. What’s not fun about working here, and how can we change that?

Closing Questions

  1. Is there something you’d like to talk about that we did not cover?
  2. Is there anything work-wise keeping you up at night that I can help alleviate?
  3. What can I help you with between now and the next time we meet?

Using 1:1 Questions to Manage Employee Performance

Managers that lead high-performing teams communicate openly and often to help their people do their best work. And since managers are the ones who truly foster engagement and trust among employees, it’s important that your performance management process allows them to create positive connections as often as possible. 

Luckily, by embedding the above 1:1 questions into your regular check-in process, you’ll do just that. When managers are intentional with their questioning, they’ll encourage two-way conversations around personal and professional goals. In turn, employees will feel supported and have higher levels of engagement, within regular 1:1s and throughout their employee lifecycle.

Managing your employee’s performance is always necessary, but it’s especially critical in their first 90 days at your company. Download our 30-60-90 day plan to help managers set the tone for new hires and create strong working relationships.

Read the plan here

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