Your First 1:1 with an Employee

You’ve just hired a new employee and now, it’s time for your first one-on-one sit down. Going through the job duties is important but so is finding out what makes each of you tick – and get ticked off. To have a successful employee-employer relationship, knowing how each of you work and how you will work around potential issues is crucial.

Some topic you may wish to discuss:


Most of us don’t come to work each day in the same, fantastic mood. Home life, lack of sleep, other stress can affect how we show up each day and it’s a good idea to know what possible triggers might be. No need to go into personal details, but finding out how people handle stress, anger and disappointment can help avoid a future issue. Will they go quiet? Lash out? Have a mild temper tantrum? All good to know in advance.

Now that you know how they might react – how should you react to their mood? Perhaps they wish to be left alone until they are ready to discuss it. If so, hounding him/her with “what’s wrong?” wouldn’t be the best approach.


Find out each other’s preferred means of communication. It usually differs depending on what is being communicated – instructions, feedback, recognition. Having in-person and phone conversations should be part of the package yet you both might find a quick email more efficient for the day-to-day communication. Have that discussion.

For feedback, both good and constructive, discuss when this will happen. If something major occurs, feedback is usually quickly communicated but what about the smaller incidents? Decide whether you’ll discuss this as it occurs or elsewhere such as a monthly meeting or performance review.

Being singled out for a job well done can be uncomfortable for some. Find out if there is a preference on how he/she receives praise.


Knowing your management style and drawing the line between communicating and over-managing are topics we’ve explored on this blog previously. They’re a good basis to learn about your own management style but in conjunction, you need to determine what type of support and guidance your employees need.

Discuss what constitutes too much or too little support for your team and try to work within those boundaries. Of course these lines get blurred and move once you’re able to assess their skill level and ability to meet deadlines. Adjust accordingly and give your employee feedback as to why you feel they need more or less guidance from you.


Once you’ve had this initial sit-down, you should have a good basis to develop a solid foundation and relationship with your new employee. Having an open line for communication will help to keep both the employee and employer satisfied with their hiring decision.


Post by: Lynn McIlwee