Leadership / Professional Development

60+ Insightful 1:1 Questions For Managers and Employees

The cornerstone of a thriving workplace is the relationship between managers and employees. At the heart of this relationship lies effective communication, and one-on-one meetings are the perfect venue for fostering it.

These regular check-ins offer a unique opportunity to share feedback, address challenges, and align on goals. But they’re more than just business talk—they’re a chance to discuss career aspirations, check on well-being, and build trust.

The key to a great 1:1 meeting lies in striking the right balance between work-related topics and relationship-building. To help you make the most of these crucial conversations, we’ve compiled 50 insightful questions for both managers and employees.

These questions are designed to drive engagement, boost productivity, and create a culture of continuous feedback and growth.

Read More: What Would You Like Your Manager To Do Differently? Real Feedback From Employees  

The Purpose of 1:1 Questions

One-on-one meetings serve multiple purposes, each contributing to a stronger, more productive workplace. Let’s break down the key objectives these meetings aim to achieve:

Building Rapport

At its core, a one-on-one meeting is about strengthening the relationship between manager and employee. These regular check-ins create a safe space for open communication, fostering trust and understanding.

According to a Gallup study, employees who feel their manager is invested in them as people are more likely to be engaged at work. In fact, manager-employee relationships account for 70% of the variance in team engagement.

Performance Evaluation

One-on-ones provide an ongoing platform for performance feedback, eliminating the surprise factor often associated with annual reviews. This continuous feedback loop allows for timely course corrections and recognition of achievements.

Management expert Kim Scott, the author of “Radical Candor“, emphasizes the importance of providing timely and direct feedback to employees, rather than waiting for formal performance reviews. She also notes that feedback is often seen negatively, but “guidance” – which includes both praise and criticism – is something most employees long for.

“Guidance, which is fundamentally just praise and criticism, is usually called ‘feedback,’ but feedback is screechy and makes us want to put our hands over our ears. Guidance is something most of us long for.”

Goal Setting and Alignment

These meetings offer a chance to revisit and refine individual and team goals. They ensure that employee efforts align with broader organizational objectives, creating a sense of purpose and direction. It’s an opportunity to break down larger goals into manageable tasks and discuss progress.


One-on-ones are ideal for identifying and addressing challenges before they escalate. Whether it’s a workflow issue, a resource constraint, or an interpersonal conflict, these meetings provide a dedicated time to brainstorm solutions and develop action plans.

Career Development

Lastly, these meetings play a crucial role in supporting employee growth and career progression. They’re an opportunity to discuss learning opportunities, skill development, and long-term career aspirations.

A LinkedIn Learning report found that 94% of employees would stay at a company longer if it invested in their career development. One-on-ones are the perfect venue to have these important conversations and show your investment in your team’s future.

Read More: The Ultimate Guide: Building an Employee Development Plan in 7 Steps

Questions for Managers to Ask Employees

Asking the right questions during one-on-ones can unlock valuable insights and drive meaningful conversations. Here’s a breakdown of essential questions managers should consider asking their employees:

A. Performance-Related Questions

According to a study by Gallup, employees whose managers regularly communicate with them are nearly three times more engaged than those with managers who don’t communicate regularly.

These performance-related questions help maintain open lines of communication and keep both parties aligned on expectations and progress.

  1. “What’s the status of your current projects?”
  2. “Which task are you finding most challenging right now?”
  3. “What’s been your biggest win this week?”
  4. “Are there any tools or resources that could help you work more efficiently?”
  5. “How do you feel about your workload?”
  6. “What’s one thing you’d like to improve in your performance?”
  7. “Are there any skills you’d like to develop to enhance your current role?”
  8. “How can I better support you in meeting your goals?”
  9. “What aspects of your job do you find most engaging?”
  10. “Are there any processes you think we could streamline?”

B. Career Development Questions

Career development conversations are crucial. A LinkedIn survey found that 94% of employees would stay at a company longer if it invested in their career development. These questions demonstrate your commitment to your employees’ growth and help you understand their career aspirations.

  1. “Where do you see yourself in five years?”
  2. “What skills would you like to develop in the next six months?”
  3. “Are there any projects outside your current role that interest you?”
  4. “How do you prefer to receive feedback on your performance?”
  5. “What aspect of your job would you like to be doing more of?”
  6. “Are there any industry trends you’re particularly excited about?”
  7. “What’s one professional goal you’d like to achieve this year?”
  8. “How can we better align your role with your long-term career aspirations?”
  9. “Are there any conferences or training programs you’re interested in attending?”
  10. “Who in the company would you like to learn more from?”

C. Work Environment and Satisfaction Questions

Asking about work environment and satisfaction can help you identify potential issues before they become problems.

According to a study by Deloitte, organizations with a strong learning culture are 37% more productive and 17% more likely to be market share leaders.

By regularly checking in on these aspects, you can create a more positive and productive work environment.

  1. “How would you describe our team dynamics?”
  2. “Do you feel you have a good work-life balance?”
  3. “On a scale of 1-10, how satisfied are you with your current role?”
  4. “What’s one thing we could change to improve our work environment?”
  5. “Do you feel recognized for your contributions to the team?”

Questions for Employees to Ask Managers

One-on-one meetings aren’t just for managers to ask questions. They’re also an opportunity for employees to seek clarity, guidance, and support. Here are some essential questions employees should consider asking their managers:

A. Feedback and Expectations Questions

Seeking regular feedback is crucial for professional growth. A study by Officevibe found that 43% of highly engaged employees receive feedback at least once a week. 4 in every 10 employees lack engagement at the workplace due to little or no feedback.

By asking these questions, you’re actively participating in your own development and showing initiative.

  1. “How would you rate my performance over the past month?”
  2. “What’s one area where you think I could improve?”
  3. “Am I meeting your expectations for this role?”
  4. “How does my work contribute to the team’s overall goals?”
  5. “What skills should I focus on developing next?”
  6. “Can you give me an example of something I did well recently?”
  7. “Are there any upcoming projects where I could take on more responsibility?”
  8. “How can I better support you and the team?”
  9. “What metrics should I be focusing on to measure my success?”
  10. “Do you have any concerns about my current performance?”

B. Support and Resources Questions

Asking about available resources shows your commitment to improvement and helps your manager understand what you need to succeed. By seeking out resources and support, you’re setting yourself up for success.

  1. “Are there any resources or tools that could help me perform better in my role?”
  2. “What training opportunities are available to help me grow in my position?”
  3. “Could you recommend someone in the company who could mentor me in [specific skill]?”
  4. “Is there budget available for attending industry conferences or workshops?”
  5. “How can I get more exposure to other departments to broaden my understanding of the business?”

C. Company and Team Questions

Understanding the bigger picture can help you align your work with company goals and feel more connected to the organization’s mission. A Gallup study found that employees who strongly agree that they can link their goals to the organization’s goals are 3.5 times more likely to be engaged.

  1. “What are the company’s main priorities for the next quarter?”
  2. “How is our team’s performance impacting the broader organization?”
  3. “Are there any upcoming changes in our department I should be aware of?”
  4. “What’s the long-term vision for our team, and how can I contribute to it?”
  5. “How does our team’s work align with the company’s overall strategy?”

Asking these questions isn’t just about getting answers. It’s about opening up a dialogue with your manager, showing your commitment to your role and the company, and taking an active part in your own professional development.

Don’t be afraid to ask for clarification or follow-up on previous discussions. Your engagement in these conversations can lead to better performance, increased job satisfaction, and stronger professional relationships.

Universal Questions for Both Managers and Employees

Effective communication and collaboration are crucial for any successful team. Here are some questions that both managers and employees can ask to improve these aspects:

  1. “How can we improve our communication within the team?”
  2. “What’s one thing we could do to enhance our teamwork?”
  3. “Are there any unresolved conflicts or tensions we should address?”
  4. “How can we better support each other’s work?”
  5. “What’s one change we could make to our team processes to be more efficient?”

These questions open up dialogue about team dynamics and create opportunities for improvement.

According to a study by Fierce, Inc, 86% of employees and executives cite lack of collaboration or ineffective communication for workplace failures.

By regularly discussing these topics, teams can address issues proactively and build stronger working relationships.

Implementing Effective 1:1 Meetings

A. Frequency and Duration

The ideal frequency and duration of one-on-ones can vary, but consistency is key. Many experts recommend weekly 30-minute meetings.

Leadership coach Kim Scott suggests,

“The sweet spot of 1:1 meeting frequency is to meet every week or two for 30 to 60 minutes.”

B. Preparation Tips

  • Set an agenda in advance
  • Review notes from previous meetings
  • Come prepared with specific questions or topics to discuss
  • Allocate time for both parties to share updates and concerns

C. Follow-up Actions

  • Take notes during the meeting
  • Agree on action items and deadlines
  • Send a summary email after the meeting
  • Review progress on action items in the next meeting

D. Best Practices for Remote 1:1s

With remote work becoming more common, it’s important to adapt one-on-ones to virtual environments:

  • Use video calls when possible to maintain personal connection
  • Ensure a stable internet connection and quiet environment
  • Be mindful of time zones when scheduling
  • Use screen sharing for visual aids or collaborative work
  • Consider using digital tools for note-taking and action item tracking

A study by Harvard Business Review found that remote workers are more likely to feel that colleagues mistreat them and leave them out. Regular, well-structured one-on-ones can help combat this feeling of isolation and keep remote team members engaged.

Adapting Questions to Different Scenarios

One-on-one meetings aren’t one-size-fits-all. Different situations call for different approaches:

A. New Employee 1:1s

  1. “How’s your onboarding experience going?”
  2. “Are there any areas where you need more clarity or support?”
  3. “How are you settling into the team?”

B. Performance Review 1:1s

  1. “What accomplishments are you most proud of since our last review?”
  2. “Where do you see opportunities for growth in your role?”
  3. “How can I better support your development?”

C. Crisis or High-Stress Period 1:1s

  1. “How are you coping with the current situation?”
  2. “What resources do you need to manage your workload?”
  3. “How can we prioritize tasks to reduce stress?”

D. Project-Specific 1:1s

  1. “What’s the current status of the project?”
  2. “Are there any roadblocks we need to address?”
  3. “How does this project align with your professional goals?”

Adapting your approach ensures that one-on-ones remain relevant and valuable. As management expert Marcus Buckingham notes, “The best managers are those who can calibrate their style to each individual.”

Measuring the Impact of 1:1 Meetings

To ensure one-on-ones are effective, it’s important to measure their impact:

A. Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)

Track relevant KPIs before and after implementing regular one-on-ones. These could include team productivity, project completion rates, or individual performance metrics.

B. Employee Satisfaction Surveys

Regular surveys can gauge how employees feel about their work, team, and manager. Look for improvements in scores related to communication and support.

C. Productivity Metrics

Monitor changes in individual and team productivity. Are tasks being completed more efficiently? Are there fewer delays or roadblocks?

D. Retention Rates

Keep an eye on employee turnover. Effective one-on-ones can improve job satisfaction and retention. A study by Gallup found that employees who have regular meetings with their managers are three times more likely to be engaged at work.

Common Pitfalls to Avoid in 1:1 Meetings

Even with the best intentions, it’s easy to fall into these common traps:

A. Lack of Preparation

Walking into a one-on-one without an agenda or clear objectives wastes valuable time. Always come prepared with discussion points and questions.

B. Dominating the Conversation

One-on-ones should be a two-way street. Managers should aim to listen more than they speak. As leadership coach Lara Hogan advises, “Aim for a 70/30 split in favor of the employee talking.”

C. Focusing Only on Task Updates

While project updates are important, one-on-ones should also cover career development, job satisfaction, and personal well-being.

D. Neglecting Follow-up Actions

Without follow-through, one-on-ones lose their impact. Always end meetings by summarizing action items and commitments from both parties.


One-on-one meetings are a powerful tool for building strong, productive relationships between managers and employees. By asking insightful questions, adapting to different scenarios, and consistently measuring impact, these meetings can drive engagement, improve performance, and support career growth.

The key to successful one-on-ones lies in preparation, active listening, and follow-through. Whether you’re a manager or an employee, embracing these practices can transform your one-on-ones from routine check-ins into valuable opportunities for growth, alignment, and success. Make the most of this time – your career and your team will thank you.


How long should a 1:1 meeting last?

Typically, 1:1 meetings should last between 30 to 60 minutes. This duration allows enough time to cover important topics without becoming overwhelming.

However, the exact length can vary depending on the needs of the individuals involved and the frequency of meetings. Some managers prefer shorter, more frequent check-ins, while others opt for longer, less frequent sessions.

How often should 1:1 meetings be held?

The frequency of 1:1 meetings often depends on the team’s structure and individual needs. Weekly meetings are common and generally effective for maintaining regular communication.

However, some teams may benefit from bi-weekly or monthly meetings. The key is consistency – whatever frequency you choose, stick to it to establish a reliable rhythm of communication.

What should I do if an employee is reluctant to open up during 1:1s?

If an employee is hesitant to open up, try creating a more comfortable environment. Start with lighter topics, demonstrate active listening, and show genuine interest in their perspective.

Ask open-ended questions and be patient. It may take time to build trust. Also, consider if there are any underlying issues causing their reluctance and address them sensitively.

Should I stick to a strict agenda in 1:1 meetings, or allow for flexibility?

A balance between structure and flexibility often works best. Have a general agenda to ensure important topics are covered, but allow room for spontaneous discussion.

This approach ensures that critical items are addressed while also giving space for employees to bring up unexpected concerns or ideas. The key is to remain adaptable while still maintaining a purposeful direction for the meeting.

About Author

Founder of With over 20 years of experience in HR and various roles in corporate world, Jenny shares tips and advice to help professionals advance in their careers. Her blog is a go-to resource for anyone looking to improve their skills, land their dream job, or make a career change.

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