Employees across businesses of different sizes and industries tend to have one thing in common. They don’t feel that there is enough communication. When receiving this feedback, this is often a source of frustration for managers and HR/Communications teams who can point to a litany of corporate communications that are provided to employees. Usually followed with “What else could be possibly do?!”

What I find employees are actually saying is that they are not LISTENED to enough.

So here’s one easy way to increase your listening, enable more effective communication, and drive engagement of your team members.

Have consistent, scheduled, 1-1s with your team.


Have a purpose  in mind for the meetings and let your team members know this. For example, if you haven’t had meetings before, you can talk to each team member and let them know something like:

“Hey Rob, I’d like to start setting up 1-1s with all my team members. I can see you calendar is free on Friday at 10am, so I’ll send through an invite. We can talk about how frequent may be best for us (weekly/fortnightly/monthly). It would also be great if you could think in advance about any current challenges you have, opportunities you may have identified, or anything I can do to assist you.”

You want to encourage your team member to lead most of the conversation, and your role is to listen, but also to have some coaching questions ready.

So opening up the meeting with something like “How’s your day?” ; and then “Should we chat about what’s happening for you at the moment?” can lead the conversation into their current workload. Which is important, but we want to take it a step further and to start to delve a little deeper from the day-day operations.

Coaching questions

We have a list of over 60 questions you can access (more on that at the end of this post), separated into categories of:

  • Short term goals
  • Long term goals
  • Team improvement
  • Self improvement
  • Manager improvement
  • Well-being
  • Team work
  • Work habits


For example, “If you had a million dollars, what would you do every day?” is a fantastic question to start to uncover the motivations of your team member. Or, “If you were CEO, what’s the first thing you’d change?” may give some fantastic insights into things going wrong, or undiscovered opportunities.

Besides the immense value that as a Manager you receive from asking these types of questions, your team member will feel listened to and respected, which of course builds trust, engagement and performance.



Meetings need to be scheduled at a frequency that suits you both. So don’t have weekly meetings with everyone in your team just because. Ask your team members what works for them, and also have your own thoughts on frequency.

Often, those in roles which are more “firefighting”, project based, or are new to the role or company will need weekly 1-1s. For others who have a more consistent workload, or are experienced in the role or organisation, they may only need fortnightly or monthly meetings. The key is to do what works for both of you ; and  check from time to time that the frequency is still appropriate.

The most important part of scheduling these meetings is ATTENDING them! If you schedule meetings and then continually reschedule, cancel, or just don’t turn up, what message is that sending to your team members?

Your 1-1 meetings should receive the same important level as a meeting with the CEO, or a customer. Only reschedule if you absolutely have to, and make sure you stick to the rescheduled time.


Need some questions for 1-1s?

If you’d like access to our list of over sixty 1-1 questions, plus other exclusive content designed to help you lower staff turnover, increase performance and keep highly skilled employees, you can sign up to our monthly newsletter here

You can also contact us if you’d like to know more about increasing the engagement and performance of your team. We’d love to assist!


The Boring Bits:
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