Choosing the right meeting cadence for your 1:1 meetings

Emerald Nwanne
March 22, 2022
5
Minutes

Meeting with your team regularly is vital to establishing and maintaining trust, building a friendly rapport, and preserving accountability, but just how regularly should you meet with your team? What’s the right meeting cadence for one on one meetings? And what is meeting cadence anyway?

Learn why consistent meeting cadence is important, what cadence options are available, and how to choose the right meeting cadence for your one on ones. 

What is a meeting cadence and why is it important?

The meeting cadence definition is a simple one; meeting cadence simply refers to how frequently meetings occur. For example, a meeting cadence could be weekly, bi-weekly, bi-monthly, quarterly, yearly, or daily. 

A consistent meeting cadence is essential to a productive team, especially when it comes to one on one meetings. If your direct report isn’t accustomed to one on one meetings with you, asking to meet with them one on one out of the blue will catch them off guard and make them anxious. Why do you want to meet with them? Did they do something wrong?

But if your direct report knows they will meet with you every second Thursday at 2 pm, for example, they won’t be suspicious of why the meeting is occurring. 

Assess how often you need to meet based on the type of meeting and the needs of your team and direct reports, then set a consistent meeting cadence. Review this cadence and your team’s preferences now and again to find out if adjustments to the meeting cadence are required.

Meeting cadence options 

Yearly meetings

Yearly meetings are best reserved for performance reviews and larger all hands meetings. For example, a year-end staff meeting or new year staff meeting will occur only once per year.

This is not the type of cadence required for one on ones, as 1:1s should be scheduled regularly in order to build a strong rapport with your direct reports. If you only engage with your direct reports once a year, it’s a good idea to rethink the cadence of your one on ones. 

Quarterly meetings

Quarterly meetings occur once every three months or once every quarter of the year (Q1, Q2, Q3, and Q4.)

You might have a performance review or an all hands meetings with a quarterly cadence. Regular all hands meetings and performance reviews ensure the entire company is on the same page year-round, but you might not have the time or resources to meet in this way more frequently.

While you could schedule your one on ones on a quarterly basis, it’s recommended that they occur more frequently so that both you and your direct report can get the most out of the meetings. It’s difficult to truly keep up-to-date on an employee’s progress and needs if 1:1s only occur on a quarterly basis.

Monthly meetings

Monthly meetings occur once a month, which means these meetings will happen twelve times a year. You might schedule a team meeting at the start and end of each month so that members can report goal progress and maintain alignment. 

This could also be a useful cadence for managers with larger teams who may not be able to meet with each team member on a bi-weekly or weekly basis. 

A monthly cadence is fine for one on ones, but a more frequent cadence is ideal if you can manage it.

Bi-weekly meetings

Bi-weekly meetings occur every two weeks, which is an excellent cadence for smaller team meetings and one on ones. Meeting with your direct reports this frequently can help you keep up with employee progress and concerns, and it helps to build rapport. 

Trust is the most important part of a successful team. In order to build this trust with your direct reports, you must communicate with them and offer them feedback frequently. When this communication and feedback is expected, it’s much less intimidating, and the more comfortable your team members are with you, the better. 

Weekly meetings

Weekly meetings occur once per week or four times per month. The meeting cadence might also occur on a specific day each week, for example, every Tuesday morning, which means some months will have five meetings.

Weekly meetings help to eliminate time-consuming synchronous communication throughout the week that can interrupt the flow of work. Instead of calling or direct messaging to ask a question that isn't time-sensitive, both the manager and the direct report can save these questions for the weekly recurring meeting.

Daily meetings

Daily meetings occur once a day. These types of meetings are usually short and involve multiple team members, project teams, or smaller business teams.

Daily meetings are often called daily stand ups, and they’re quite common for agile teams. They allow for a quick overview of what was accomplished in the previous 24 hours, as well as what everyone hopes to accomplish within the next 24 hours. This consistent check-in helps the team spot potential roadblocks before they occur, gets everyone on the same page, and helps everyone communicate openly about work.

Daily meetings are not ideal for one on ones. Meeting this frequently for one on ones will waste time—and they could be a sign of micromanagement.

📚 Unlearning micromanagement: How to become a better leader with macromanagement.

Choosing the right meeting cadence for your 1:1

How often you meet depends on a number of factors. How large is the team reporting to you? How long has the team worked together? New employees may need to meet one on one with you more frequently as they become more familiar with your processes.

Some factors to consider when choosing the cadence of your one on ones:

  • How often do you meet for other issues?
  • How frequently do ad-hoc topics come up?
  • How often do you need to check in on coaching?
  • How self-sufficient and self-reliant is the direct report?

If a team member is struggling in any way, such as not being able to meet deadlines or showing signs of low morale, you might want to increase the frequency of your one on one meetings.

On the other hand, if you have a great rapport with your direct report, they are continually making progress on their goals, and they consistently exceed their day-to-day duties, you might be able to decrease the frequency of the meeting.

But be careful not to brush successful team members aside. You should still have a one on one meeting at least once per month to ensure nothing changes and to give each team member the attention they deserve from their manager.

💡 One on one questions you should avoid (and what to ask instead).

Shake things up with a new meeting cadence

If your meetings are proving to be ineffective, sometimes the fix is a new meeting cadence. Continually assess the success of your meetings. Did you reach your meeting goals? What’s the feedback like from your team members? Is the meeting providing a benefit to all attendees? Is everyone attentive and engaged during the meeting?

Communicate with your direct reports and ask for feedback. What day of the week works best for them? What time of day works best for them? How can you adapt the meeting to better suit the needs of your team?

Planning effective one on ones

WorkPatterns helps both managers and employees execute one on one meetings with collaborative functions, transparent scheduling, and intentional goal-setting. Our platform allows you to structure your one on ones with a consistent meeting cadence, ensuring every step is clear and nothing is forgotten.

Reach out to our team at any time if you have questions about our articles, guides, or products. We have a wealth of resources on our website dedicated to improving one on one meetings, including a manager’s guide to one on one meetings and an employee's guide to one on one meetings.

Start having meetings that work together with WorkPatterns