Employee Motivation

21 growth and development one-on-one questions

3 min read

25% of managers don’t discuss growth and development in their one-on-ones, even though it’s proven to make employees more productive and engaged.

In our recent report, The 2019 State of One-on-ones, we surveyed over 200 managers across multiple industries, experience levels and departments to uncover how they approach one-on-ones. 

The report found that 75% of managers surveyed discuss growth and development within their one-on-one meetings. But, what about the other 25%? 

Gallup’s State of the Global Workplace found that when employees have consistent performance feedback, they become emotionally and psychologically attached to their work and their workplace. As a result, employees are more productive and perform at a higher caliber. One of the factors determined by Gallup is that employees need to fill their personal growth needs. This includes: 

  • In the last 6 months, an employee has discussed their progress with someone at work
  • In the last year, an employee has had opportunities at work to learn and grow

If you feel like you could be discussing growth and development more often with your direct reports, your one-on-ones are the perfect place to do it. 

To start talking about growth and development more, try adding at least one of these items to every one-on-one you have for the rest of the quarter. And then do it again for the next quarter and the next.

One-on-one questions for career growth and development

  • What areas of the company would you like to learn more about?
  • Do you feel you’re getting enough feedback on your work? If not, where would you like more feedback?
  • What’s something you’d like to focus on more next quarter?
  • What’s one thing you really wanted to do last quarter but didn’t get a chance to?
  • Who in the company would you like to learn from? What do you want to learn?
  • How can I better support you?
  • Where do you see yourself within the team in the next year?
  • What resources can I or the company provide that would help you excel further in your role?
  • What projects would you like to work on or be more involved in?
  • What are the biggest blockers affecting you from performing to your fullest potential?
  • At the end of your career, what is your dream job title?

One-on-one questions for personal growth and development

  • What skills would you like to develop right now?
  • If you could improve one skill between this meeting and the next, which would you choose?
  • How would you like to use your education budget this year? 
  • What conferences and/or events are happening in your space that you’d like to attend?
  • How do you feel your work/life balance is? What would you like to change, if anything? 
  • Outside of your role today, what areas would you like to grow more in? (I.e. leadership)
  • What professional goals would you like to accomplish in the next 6 to 12 months, and what makes you say that?
  • Where do you see yourself in 5 years? 10 years? 25 years?
  • What is the last professional book or blog you read? Why did you pick that one?
  • What is your favorite podcast? Why?

For the 75% of managers who talk about growth and development in one-on-ones, keep it up! For the 25% who don’t, it’s as simple as adding in an agenda item to every one-on-one.

With SoapBox’s AI-powered Meeting Insights, we’re focused on giving managers like you the insights and resources you’ll need to better balance conversations with your direct reports. Focusing on growth, communication, work and motivation. 


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