Google’s famous Project Oxygen study identified that the most important thing that managers can do to be successful is to coach.  This includes asking questions versus providing answers, providing constructive feedback and holding regular 1:1 meetings. In fact, they found that higher scoring managers are more likely than lower-scoring managers to have frequent 1:1 meetings with their team members. 

While the time investment may seem great, there is no leadership activity that has more of an impact on employee performance than 1:1 performance check-in meetings. There may not be a need for a formal agenda for each conversation, however managers and employees should collaborate to determine a topic in order to stay focused. Over the course of the performance year, the following five topics should be addressed.


Goal Progress

Discussion Questions:

  • What has been accomplished? What is yet to be accomplished?
  • What is getting in the way of achieving goals, if anything?
  • How do goals need to be adjusted to align with changing priorities?

Coaching for Development

Discussion Questions:

  • What behaviors should the employee continue to demonstrate?
  • What behaviors should the employee start doing to achieve desired results?
  • What behaviors should the employee stop doing to achieve desired results?
  • How can we work together to accomplish our goals?

Goal Planning

Discussion Questions:

  • What goals were accomplished last quarter?
  • What are the 3-5 key priorities for the organization/business unit/department for this quarter?
  • What projects would you like to work on/lead this quarter?
  • What goals should be set to support these key priorities?
  • What support/resources do you need to be successful?

Team Performance

Discussion Questions:

  • What do you think about the overall effectiveness of our team?
  • Is there anybody on the team that you find it difficult to work with? Can you tell me why?
  • What do you think would help us work together better? Any suggestions for improvement in the way we work together?

Career Development

Discussion Questions:

  • What are your career goals/aspirations?
  • In what areas do you want to grow/develop in order to achieve your career goals? 
  • What experiences and opportunities can be provided to assist you in achieving your career goals?
  • What can the company do to support your development?

Download our whitepaper: Employee Development Through 1:1 Performance Check-Ins to learn more about these 5 topics and practical suggestions for mastering the check-in meeting.

Employee Development Through 1:1 Performance Check-Ins