30 Questions Managers must ask in One-on-One Meetings

one on one meeting

In professional work environments, the shift to remote work settings makes it imperative for companies to understand employee motivation and work ethic. While innovation has ramped up our capacity to complete work remotely and communicate at enormous distances, we have not yet been compelled to foster a bunch of best strategies for driving employees. Companies need to introspect and distinguish ways that can be employed to understand the remote working culture and enhance employee health and motivation. It becomes important for organizations to reinforce their employee’s abilities in a virtual setting.

One-on-One Meetings - How do they help?

As per research, just 15% of employees turn to work for a manager who does not hold routine meetings. For managers who consistently meet with their employees, significantly increase the degree of commitment three folds. Engaged employees show 41% low rates of absenteeism and have exceptional motivation to work towards organizational goals, with a productivity rate of over 17% compared to disengaged employees. 

Perhaps the most effortless approach to battle the hesitancy witnessed in one-on-one interactions for the manager is to ask the right questions to initiate genuine concern, trust and overall well-being for the employee. Posing the right questions drive the conversation more wholesomely. 

The Art of Asking Questions

The art of asking questions is a time-tested way individuals structure and form further bonds and develop common trust. Posing deliberate inquiries that are sensitively structured and at the right recurrence helps transform an interview into a success. 

This practice permits organization’s managers to effectively associate with their teams. In one-on-one interviews, managers have the added advantage of cutting out any disturbance and focus entirely on the employee. 

The current culture of work-from-home demands a need for relaxed and one-on-one spaces. Because managers have employees in a private setting with a respectable measure of time, ideally an hour or 30 minutes, managers can dive into employees’ reactions and truly investigate their answers, thoughts, disappointments, and input by asking interactive and sincere questions.

30 Questions Managers Must Ask in 1:1s

Asking the right questions not just helps in building a relationship, it also helps in identifying issues and supporting the team in a better way. While many teams are unable to voluntarily give up information, these questions help them share their thoughts and concerns and drastically improve their performance and efficiency. In this article, we have focussed our questions on 3 areas, including: 

Building a rapport

Career Progress


Question for building rapport

It is important for managers to see the employees as human beings with ample life and vigor, both inside and outside of work. Asking questions that bring out the human factor lays a common ground between the employee and the manager, which further drives the conversation and makes the employee feel the manager is genuinely interested. Some questions that can be included are:

  1. How are you feeling today? How is life in general? Are you and those around you keeping well and safe?
  2. How are you adjusting to the new work culture? Tell me something you like or dislike about it. 
  3. How would you rate your work/life balance is at the present time? 
  4. Name one thing we could change about work for you that will positively affect your life? 
  5. How are your folks/grandparents? How are they keeping up in the pandemic? Where do they live? Do you visit them? 
  6. If they have kids, How is (child’s name) doing? How are they adjusting to online school? Ask something identified with their age like beginning school, playing sports, or different interests.
  7. What do you do after work to get some of your own time?
  8. Since it seems we have been in the perpetual state of lockdown, what are your favourite TV shows, books or cinematic favourites that you had discovered? 
  9. What lockdown revelation did you have that keeps you energized? It can be any activity or thing. 
  10. What drives you? What propels you to come to work every day? Is it a quality you always had or developed?

Questions to understand Career Progress

Managers have to take a genuine interest in employees’ career paths and trajectories. It is important to understand their aspirations and assist them in providing suitable suggestions in areas of expertise away from a general discussion. The questions that can be included in one-on-one meetings are:

  1. What were your ambitions as a child? Do you feel satisfied with how things have turned out?
  2. Do you feel a sense of alignment with your personal ambitions and the company’s goals? 
  3. What part of your job here makes you feel more aligned with those goals? 
  4. Is there any new skill/expertise you want to learn? 
  5. If you have thought about it, draw a career trajectory for yourself in the next 5 to 10 years. 
  6. Who did you look up to when you were growing up or anything else that inspires you?  
  7. Hypothetically, if you were made a CEO of the company, how would you like it to progress? What would you alter and improve? 
  8. What is your wishlist for your career? 
  9. What would you want in your next job or any other path you’d like to take? 
  10. Do you feel your current work culture is exposing you to a learning environment?

Questions on Feedback

In the time sphere, from one meeting to the other, it is important that both the manager and employee make efforts to improve the next 1:1 meeting and understand each other and the goals of the meeting better. This requires constant diligent work and investment from both parties. Some questions below can be asked in order to initiate a healthy feedback loop:

  1. Has constructive criticism helped you in your job? If yes, how?
  2. How would you like to receive feedback? 
  3. Do you feel you are getting relevant feedback? 
  4. What aspect of your job would you like to enhance?
  5. When do you feel the most productive while working?

In a one-on-one meeting, as the manager holds the floor to pose questions and has to listen sincerely, it is also very important to reciprocate thoughts and feelings. If the conversation is sided, morale is reduced, and it may feel like an invasive interrogation for the employee. To ensure this doesn’t happen and the conversation is engaging and lucrative, managers must ask questions like:

  1. How can I better understand and support you?
  2. How can I work better for a motivated and dedicated team? What can be done to reduce burnout and excessive screen time?
  3.  What would you like to do as a manager? Can you give me feedback? 
  4. How can I make your work more comprehensive and adjustable? 
  5. What changes would you want in my management style, especially in work from home culture?

1:1 meetings are essential for managers to grasp employee’s overall status and outlook at the job and the organization. One-on-one meetings are a safe space for grievances, complaints, constructive criticism and overall feedback. Managers use the time and space to build employee trust, carry out a regular check-in on the clients’ overall life and job satisfaction.


Use HuddleUp to hold impactful 1:1s with preset agenda, suggested talking points, centralised notes & trackable action items


Huddle one-on-one meeting

Bonus: How can you make the One-on-One Meetings effective?

Having one-on-one meetings is a great start, but having effective one-on-one meetings is essential as well. Here are some tips on having effective 1-on-1s.

Never cancel a 1-on-1. Reschedule.

If a situation comes up wherein you are unable to attend the 1-on-1, do not cancel it. Always reschedule. This enables you to keep the conversation going as usual and address issues, if any. 

Keep 1-on-1s casual. 

The idea of 1-on-1s is to know more about each other. It is advisable to keep these meetings casual and not discuss work updates. 

Have an agenda. 

Always make a list of things that you want to discuss. Don’t let this time go to waste and discuss everything that you’d like to ask. A few areas of discussion may be self-improvement, interpersonal issues, work improvement suggestions, job growth, etc.

End the meeting with something actionable. 

A great conversation must end with something that both of you would like to do. For example, if you’ve discussed an interpersonal issue, make sure that the team member is left with an actionable solution that he must work on before the next meeting.

While all the questions pave the way for healthy discourse between the manager and the employee, it is the manager’s duty to read the mind frame or mood of the employee and ask sensitive and informed questions accordingly.