More and more organizations are introducing check-ins as a way of encouraging regular coaching conversations between employees and their managers and as a way of helping managers to get better visibility into their teams.
You can think of a check-in as a customisable set of questions that are put to each member of your team on a regular basis. Typically, check-ins will include questions that are designed to start a coaching conversation. Questions like:
- What big wins have you achieved since your last check-in?
- What is your biggest challenge right now and how can I help?
- What obstacles are you facing and how do you plan to overcome them?
- What is your plan for the next few days?
- What one thing would make your job easier or more productive?
There are a number of benefits to establishing a culture of check-ins. These include:
- Providing managers with a clearer insight into their team
- Providing a platform to help managers coach their employees
- Improving team collaboration around achieving outcomes
- Growing the engagement your staff
- Helping managers better understand the motivators of individuals within the team
- Helping managers communicate more effectively with remote workers
- Helping remote workers feel more part of the team and therefore less likely to become disengaged.
Check-ins are a particularly effective way to regularly follow up with team members on their progress towards goals. Conversations may be started around a particular issue preventing the team from achieving a desired outcome and most check-in tools provide a way to include multiple people in a collaborative discussion around a topic.
Some organizations use check-ins as a replacement for the annual performance appraisal. An annual appraisal focuses on activities that took place over the previous 12 months. Whereas a check-in focuses on recent activity and targets future activities and planning.
But what is the ideal cadence for a check-in? How often does it make sense to have your staff regularly answer a set of questions?
The answer depends on your primary purpose for using check-ins and the culture within the team. For instance, if you are using check-ins to create a regular cadence for reporting on the status of quarterly goals, the recommended frequency of check-ins should ideally be weekly. Any more frequently than weekly becomes unproductive and your team would likely experience check-in fatigue. Any less frequently means that issues preventing successful outcomes may not be dealt with in a sufficiently expedient manner.
If the team are working towards longer term goals, for instance goals that stretch over a period of 6 months or more, then it might make more sense to choose the frequency of check-ins to be bi-weekly, rather than weekly.
If check-ins are used as a replacement for the annual appraisal or as a way of helping your managers to more effectively coach their employees, then a cadence of anything between 1 week and 4 weeks would make sense.
For a team with several remote workers, a weekly cadence of check-ins is recommended as it would ensure frequent touch points with those members of staff and help them feel less isolated from the team and their manager.
The good news is that Workteam now includes a feature enhancement that lets you choose the cadence of check-ins to a frequency other than weekly – although a weekly cadence is still our recommended choice.