How to run a 1-2-1 wellbeing meeting for managers

A quick summary:

Being a manager isn’t easy, nor is it for everyone. It requires great communication, interpersonal skills, a forward-thinking approach, problem-solving, decision making, and that just scratches the surface. Most importantly though, the difference between a good manager and a great leader is people-centricity.

Across every industry, from healthcare to construction, 1:1 meetings are essential in helping businesses achieve more, build employee relationships and avoid unnecessary hurdles. Some managers opt for a swift 30-minute chat, others an hour. Regardless, what many fail to recognise is just how far down the list wellbeing appears. Instead, good managers choose only to discuss current workloads and timescales, before wrapping things up until next week. 

As we move forward through 2022 and beyond, the 1:1 meeting as we know it has begun to feel a little outdated. Managers and leaders alike should recognise that now is the perfect time to launch meetings regarding wellbeing in the workplace - meetings that focus solely on these three things:

  • How does my team feel?
  • How can I improve wellbeing in the workplace?
  • What needs to change for healthier, happier employees?

Making these questions the focus of the discussion will see some revolutionary results. Managers will build better relationships, move away from a toxic culture, and feel more appreciated and respected by their teams. Of course, these things don’t happen overnight, but with perseverance, good managers can become great leaders. So, how exactly should managers go about running 1-2-1 employee wellbeing meetings to discuss topics like mental and physical health?

Collaborate with employees to set out a plan for wellbeing meetings

A lot of managers and leaders fail to understand just how powerful collaboration can be for decision-making. In everyday business, decisions are thought out, planned, and executed by a select few. Yet, this doesn’t have to be the case, especially when it comes to 1:1 wellbeing meetings. 

With employee wellbeing being the focus of these meetings, it’s crucial managers listen to the ideas and suggestions of their team. 

  • How do they want them to work? 
  • How long should these meetings take? 
  • What are the measurable outcomes of these meetings? 

These are just some example questions of how to effectively plan out a wellbeing meeting that meets the needs of team members. However, you may find what works for one staff member, doesn’t work for another. Don’t be afraid to host wellbeing meetings in different and unique ways. 

In most cases, success starts with collaboration. The initial plan of action for these discussions will be tough. With enough time, communication, and dedication from both parties, managers can craft the perfect meeting - one that focuses on improving employee wellbeing. 

After all, happier employees drive higher engagement, and higher engagement drives better productivity, job satisfaction, and many more benefits. As a manager, try to look beyond these meetings at the bigger picture.

  • What kind of results am I hoping to achieve? 
  • How will these meetings bring out the best in my team?
  • How effective can I make these meetings to improve staff wellbeing?

Questions to ask employees in a wellbeing meeting

This wouldn’t be a great how-to article without diving further into the preparation for wellbeing meetings. As we’ve covered above, collaboration is key, but one of the biggest responsibilities of being a manager is in the title itself, to manage. 

So, how can you ensure equal collaboration with staff members, while setting out a plan for these wellbeing meetings? That’s where we’re here to help! We’ve compiled two lists of questions on crafting a plan, and the kind of questions to ask in these discussions themselves.

Initial meeting prep questions

Starting with the first phase of a wellbeing meeting, how exactly to run them with your team members?

  1. How long do you think our wellbeing meetings should last?
  2. Should our meetings be weekly, fortnightly, or monthly?
  3. What day of the week would you prefer them to take place?
  4. Do you have a preference for morning or afternoon?
  5. Would you like to host our meetings in the office or outside?
  6. Do you feel comfortable sharing personal information?
  7. Are there any topics we should avoid discussing?
  8. Are you happy for me to make notes on our conversation?
  9. How would you like to get the most out of these wellbeing meetings?
  10. Should we agree on measurable outcomes from our conversations?
  11. Where should we store the notes from our conversations?
  12. Are you happy for me to share details of our discussions with others?
  13. Would you like any other managers to join our discussion from time to time?
  14. Do you feel comfortable taking lead on the setup of these wellbeing meetings?
  15. What subjects are you happy to discuss regarding personal wellbeing?
  16. Should we look to make an ‘actions list’ off the back of each meeting?
  17. What are your genuine thoughts on regularly discussing personal wellbeing?

As you can see, there are so many angles to take with your questions as a manager. These 17 questions will give you a greater understanding of the direction for these meetings, but also how well received the initial idea has been from your team. 

Of course, this is simply a starting point, as your questions may change from individual to individual. Consider adding your own set of questions, removing some of the examples, and making the questionnaire as relevant as possible.

Regular wellbeing meeting questions

Once you’ve established the plan of action for these wellbeing meetings, ensuring they focus only on employee wellbeing, what kind of questions should you ask during the meetings themselves? Below, you’ll find some examples around personal wellbeing, self-care, mental and physical health, and wellbeing in the workplace.

  1. How have you been feeling leading up to our first wellbeing meeting?
  2. How have you been feeling this past week?
  3. What three words describe your common emotional state during work?
  4. What are your energy levels like after a day at work?
  5. Do you find yourself struggling with a healthy sleeping pattern?
  6. Have you ever left work feeling upset?
  7. Do you often find you have a lack of appetite?
  8. Have other commitments in life been affected as a result of work?
  9. Do you suffer from stress, anxiety, or depression outside of work?
  10.  What are the triggers causing these emotions outside of work?
  11.  Does your job amplify/trigger those emotions at all? 
  12.  Have you found ways to tackle these feelings both in and outside of work?
  13.  Have you ever considered or received help for mental health problems?
  14.  How are your relationships with others outside of work?
  15.  On a scale of 1 to 5, how physically active are you weekly?
  16.  Is there any way we can support a more active lifestyle in or outside of work?
  17.  How can work help with any mental health problems you may be facing?
  18.  Is there anything else you’d like to share or discuss that we’ve missed?
  19.  Are there any improvements to our discussions you’d like to suggest?
  20.  Is there anything I can improve on in delivering these wellbeing meetings?

Again, these are just basic examples of what to ask your team for a better understanding of employee wellbeing. You must tweak your topics of discussion to fit within the framework you both collectively agreed on. This is particularly relevant in terms of any boundaries set by your employee, such as not wanting to discuss mental health.

With enough time, many people open up and feel comfortable discussing themes like mental and physical health, wellbeing, and self-care. These questions might be a little too personal for a first wellbeing meeting, so use them appropriately and know when’s best to ask these personal questions.

If you want to get the most out of your team and help each staff member find true value in these employee wellbeing meetings, you must persevere as a manager. 

How can Heka help with employee wellbeing?

If there’s one thing we’ve established above, it’s the sheer dedication required to support employee wellbeing. Building healthier, happier teams doesn’t happen overnight, nor does it start or end with 1:1 meetings. There are a ton of other ways to increase job satisfaction, performance, and productivity, but having regular conversations away from workloads is one step in the right direction. 

We understand this level of commitment managers and leaders must make. In fact, that’s why we built Heka in the first place. Heka takes the weight of employee wellbeing off the shoulders of managers through access to 1000s of wellbeing experiences, services, and products. 

Over time, Heka learns exactly what works and what doesn’t on an individual basis. This allows Heka to make the right suggestions and ideas on what users will love and enjoy. Whether that’s life coaching, meal deliveries, vitamin supplements, vegan smoothies, or virtual therapy, there’s something for everyone on Heka.  

If you are responsible for a team and understand the benefits of prioritising employee wellbeing, book a demo with our wellbeing experts to find out more.