How We Run 1-on-1 Meetings at Fellow

A template for your first one-on-one meeting with direct reports and one creative way to use Fellow's feedback feature.

By Alexandra Sunderland  •   November 14, 2019  •   5 min read

Good morning! Today is Thursday, which means tomorrow is catered lunch day at Fellow! I’ll be sharing how we use Fellow to collect lunch orders, but first, I’ll talk about how I used our app to start off a great set of 1-on-1s.

This is part four of a five-part series, and if you haven’t been following along you can learn all about potlucks, imposter syndrome, and all-hands meetings in Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday’s posts.

⏰ 10:00 am: First 1-on-1 with Rachel

We literally wrote the book on the importance of having great 1-on-1s and how to do them right, and we practice what we preach!

Until Rachel joined Fellow, I’d only been having 1-on-1s with our CTO, Sam, so I had never used from a manager’s point of view – and I was very excited to get the chance.

To get ready for our very first 1-on-1 which would set the tone for the summer, I started by doing a lot of research through our own blog posts (one of my favourite resources being the list of 200 one-on-one meeting questions for managers). Pulling from all the blog posts, books, and my own previous internship experiences, I outlined what I thought would make for a great first 1-on-1. 

Use this template in your first one-on-one meeting with direct reports 👆

Everything ended up falling into one of two categories: getting to know each other and what to expect this summer – of course leaving a separate header for questions that I didn’t cover.

I saved this note as a template for future use, and set it up a day or two before the scheduled 1-on-1 so that Rachel could see what we were going to talk about and maybe start thinking of what to say (because who likes being hit with “What are your career goals?” out of the blue?).

Private notes took on a whole new light, because suddenly the flow of information was going in the opposite direction that I was used to and I had to remember far more details (while pretending to have a great memory).

Giving Feedback through 1-on-1s became important too, because I was invested in her growth – and when we ran 360-reviews, all of the feedback I received for her showed up right in the 1-on-1, so I didn’t have to lose context when I was summing it up. I was using the same 1-on-1 tool as with Sam, but the value it brought from the other side felt so different.

And as we mention often, recurring 1-on-1s are critical! We set up a weekly event in our calendars to get together, and whenever we finished a 1-on-1 we’d start up a new note right away for the next week, so that we could add any thoughts to it that come up throughout the week. I’ve learned that writing down questions as they come to mind throughout the week, results in much better conversations.

⏰ 2:00 pm: Lunch order collection

The longest tradition we have at Fellow is our Friday lunch. On Fridays, we order lunch for the whole company, and everyone puts down their work and eats together. It’s a great time to talk to the people you’re normally sitting far away from, and we all work together to set out the food and clear it all up.

That lunch can take a lot of prep though. Usually, we make it easy on ourselves and order enough shawarma platters to feed a small city, but sometimes we get a little fancy and order single-portion meals with a lot of customization options, like one of our go-tos, Bap by Raon’s bibimbaps.

When you order a bibimbap, you have to choose the base (rice, noodles, or rice and noodles!!), the protein, the vegetables, the sauces, and maybe even some additional toppings. Since we want to place all the orders together, we needed a way of collecting dozens of individual selections, remembering who asked for what, and figuring out who had not yet sent us their choices.

Well hey, what do you know, “Lunch Weekly” is an event on our calendars, which means that we can access it through Fellow! We want to make sure that we get our orders in with enough of a heads up to the restaurants, so we collect lunch choices on Thursdays. The first step is to add the menu information and restaurant details to the note in Fellow. Then, using the “Ask for feedback about this meeting” button, we create a feedback request like the one in the picture below:

Try out Fellow’s feedback feature to send feedback requests like this one! 👏

When this request is sent out, everyone will get a Slack notification about it and can fill in their lunch order right from there, and we’ll see the results start to pour in. If we’re still waiting on responses a bit later, we can use the “Send a reminder” functionality on feedback to see who hasn’t yet completed it, and then send those people another push.

Once we’ve collected all the feedback (which I share with whoever is placing the order), the food is ordered, and we get to keep this reference of who ordered what so that it’s easier to hand out the food when it arrives on Friday.

The lunch order collection and 1-on-1 took a lot of prep, so those are the only things on my calendar for today! Check back next week for the fifth and final post in this series, where we start to plan our first hackathon and talk about how we capture memories of Fellow’s story.

What is

Fellow helps managers and their teams have more effective 1-on-1s and team meetings, exchange feedback, and track goals – all in one place! Try it for free – your team will thank you 😉

About the author

Alexandra is a full-stack software engineer at, where she’s helping to build the future of work. In her spare time, Alexandra designs and sews clothes while incorporating tech by 3D printing custom elements and programming sewing machines. Alexandra is also a Twilio Champion and the new co-leader of Ottawa’s Slack Platform Community.

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