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One-on-ones are a great way to check in with employees, encourage higher performance, and foster higher engagement.

They provide a perfect opportunity to meet employees’ needs. When managers meet their needs, employees don’t just become happier — they become better performers.

The process is fairly straightforward: meet for 30 minutes to an hour about every second week for an informal conversation about expectations, engagement, workload, and more. During these regular conversations managers can develop trust and demonstrate care for employees as people rather than mere numbers. In return employees are more likely to become advocates for their employer. When employees feel cared for, they are more likely to experiment with ideas, support and collaborate with their coworkers, share information freely, be more motivated, give more to their manager and organization, and even create a better work-life balance.

Best yet, regular one-on-ones delivered with quality will enhance the manager-employee relationship. One of the Q12 employee engagement questions in the Gallup survey is, “My supervisor, or someone at work, seems to care about me as a person.” On this question only 4 in 10 U.S. employees strongly agreed. So we clearly have some work to do in this area.

In this, the first of five messages on how to achieve better one-on-one conversations, I will share a selection of questions you can try out during your one-on-ones. These questions are linked to my RAMPP model of motivation illustrated and described at right.


In this blog post, I will address the first motivation driver in RAMPP — Relatedness. All five posts will focus on asking questions. Rather than go over it again here, you can review what I’ve written about asking better questions in Talk it Up! Candidly with 3 kinds of questions.

In each post I also will recommend practical questions that have proven to elicit productive answers. Answers your leaders can use to open the doors to better and more effective one-on-one communication, which can raise productivity, lift customer stats, reduce absenteeism, and boost profits. Just remember when one asks a question — one must LISTEN.

We’ll start with Relatedness, because employees rate getting along with their peers, manager and others as the number-one reason for going the extra mile for their team and organization.

Questions that address Relatedness

  1. How well do you feel you relate to you coworkers?
  2. Who among your team do you consider a good friend? (Who not?)
  3. With whom would you like to work more closely?
  4. Who in the company do you look up to and admire?
  5. How much do you feel you have in common with those you work with?
  6. To what degrees would you describe our office environment cooperative or competitive?
  7. Do you feel your opinions are heard and well-received?
  8. How often do your teammates seek your help or advice?
  9. Have your peers offered you helpful constructive criticism?
  10. Do you feel comfortable giving me or any of your peers constructive criticism?
  11. If there is one thing you would change about our relationship (your manager) what would it be?
  12. Would you consider yourself someone your teammates like to work with?
  13. Can you surprise me with a fact about you that defies a typical cultural or gender stereotype?

Your leaders may also find help with questioning in 5 Drivers to Really Motivate Employees and The ROI of Better Conversations.

But to really help your managers put these practical questions into practice, consider having them attend our next Compelling Conversations workshop. Let’s Talk!

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Helanie Scott
Helanie Scott
Helanie (pronounced yeh-LAH-nee) Scott, CEO and founder of Align4Profit in Dallas, Texas, has driven stunning leadership and cultural transformations for an impressive list of organizations. She has mastered the ability to connect with her audiences in the boardroom, classroom, on stage, or in one-on-one coaching sessions. Helanie’s Align4Profit clients rave at the way her engaging programs freshen outdated mindsets and deliver results-oriented, aligned action.