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1:1s at Wonder

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TL:DR: this page explains how we do 1:1s and why they are essential to building productive and happy teams. It gives practical advice to employees and managers, as well a some tips and tricks.

What are 1:1s?

The 1:1 is a regular meeting between managers and employees (30 minutes every 2 weeks) that we consistently use at Wonder across teams. It's reserved for personal matters, such as personal development, feedback, work relationships or hopes and concerns. It is crucial to separate 1:1s from content-related discussions. People tend to avoid personal conversations, so letting content-related discussions creep into 1:1s usually leads to personal conversations being left out.

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The 1:1 is owned by YOU, not your manager. It's your space to discuss your progress and discuss any personal topics. You set the agenda and you define the topics.

At Wonder, we make our 1:1s more powerful by linking them to a tailored personal development plan that is based on our strengths (what we're good at) and our drivers (what motivates us). If you haven't written your personal development plan, follow this link to fill it out.

A suggested 1:1 agenda

  1. Check-in: start by sharing how each of you feel. Before talking about personal topics, you need to build trust. Asking someone how they feel and listening to them helps you understand where they are coming from gives them the confidence to share their concerns.
  2. Challenges and progress: discuss how you are progressing towards reaching your goals and whether you are encountering any challenges. Avoid going too far into the details of your work and try to talk about patterns instead.
  3. Review your development plan, strengths and drivers: discuss whether anything changed about your plan and how you're progressing.
  4. General feedback

Template for 1:1s

It's important to take notes during your 1:1s, so we prepared a little template for you behind this link: 1:1 template. Open up the document and create a copy that you share with your manager only. You should bring this document to each 1:1.

Do's and dont's

For Team Members

Do’s

  • Make sure you keep your commitments
  • Take notes
  • Ask how you can support your manager
  • Offer solutions

Don'ts

  • No content discussion or status updates
  • Never go to a 1:1 without anything to talk about
  • Don’t assume your manager knows everything
  • Don’t leave important matters for the end of the meeting

For Managers

Do’s

  • Let them share their topics first
  • Every now and then, ask about the self-development
  • Take notes
  • Check your notes from the last meeting
  • Bring ideas for action
  • Discuss next steps
  • Get to know them beyond work

Don'ts ❌

  • Never go without anything to talk about
  • Don’t treat them like robots that have to do their job
  • Don’t cancel, reschedule
  • Don’t be late
  • Don’t compare team members
  • No content discussion or status updates
  • Don’t rush the meeting