Check-ins ins are periodic questionnaires that can be set by the manager to gauge the employee sentiment every week

Check-in questionnaires

Why are check-ins important?

It helps the management determine the outcome of their leadership policies and practices with the employees. When check-in questionnaires are sent across multiple locations. They help management decide which course to choose and find the appropriate course correction 

How do I ask my employees for feedback?

Soliciting feedback from a direct report is often a complicated process. Though the employees will feel comfortable giving positive feedback, the negative feedback is often left unspoken. Though as a manager, you have various ways to help your employees open up about their honest experiences, the easiest way is to send out check-in surveys across the company.

How often do you schedule check-ins?

The idea behind check-in questionnaires is for a periodic intervention that helps in gauging and rectifying concerns promptly. This interval is directly correlated to your goal cycle and the agility of your team. 

How do you keep check-ins interesting?

Some things are meant to be interesting, while there are somethings meant to be informative. Check-in questionnaires are offered for the sole purpose of being informative and providing actionable insights. The only way to make the check-in process enjoyable is to ask meaningful questions that tell your employees you wish to understand their concerns. 

Why should managers get to know their employees?

Managers need to know about what makes their employees productive and happy as it is the core driver of performance and engagement. Though 1:1 conversation offers the most up close and personal confrontation, modern leaders can seldom coordinate such a process and engage individually with every one of their reports. A check-in process comes in handy at this juncture as they provide a sense of personalization and informality. Employees find it easier to share their plans, progress, and problems to a questionnaire that is non-confrontational, but effective. 

What stops managers from doing check-ins?

Check-in practices are by no means a new addition to the performance management practice; however, the modern thought process embraces check-ins as a part of the continuous performance management framework. The method of sending out periodic check-in surveys has sparked a lot of doubt, on the best practices to send out these questionnaires, including what needs to be addressed in these questions. 

Check-ins and PPP

How are check-ins used? 

As such, we’ve observed some confusion around the use of Check-ins and field questions about whether they are helpful, and how best to do them. Even though most managers regularly check-in with their subordinates, the frequency of these meetings tend to be erratic, and the process not standardized. These can lead to multiple formats of registrations that are between five minutes to an hour-long

What are some best practices for Check-ins?.

As a part of best practices, managers come up with these check-in questionnaires that are to be answered by their reports. Companies can choose to follow a company-wide check-in or a team specific check-in policy. Though registration seems like a generic process, it does yield results when practiced with consistency and a structured process as a part of continuous performance management
Check-in practices are now a prerequisite in modern performance systems, and this process has become mainstream primarily due to the largescale shift from annual performance reviews to continuous performance management where there are reviews, feedback, check-in and one on one conversations at regular intervals

How do check-ins help me?.

If we cannot maintain a relationship with our friends by talking only once a year, how can the managers do the same with their employees?
Here is where periodic check-ins help you Check-ins allow the managers and employees to take a step back from execution to discuss whether the approach they’re taking works or not. Doing this allows an objective analysis of their current course of action while also planning appropriate recourse.

Gallup research survey points out that, organizations fail to address job growth and satisfaction within the organization for more than half the employees who were planning to exit within three months. When employee neglect becomes commonplace or when profitability takes higher precedence over employee happiness, the organization starts becoming a breeding ground of employee attrition. 

The most common reason attributed to not having meaningful conversations seems to be an overbearing schedule that renders the manager too busy to accommodate other tasks. However, with proper time management and frequent nudges through a software solution, these leaders can and will find ample time to address one employee a day. Some managers who handle multiple responsibilities are indeed preoccupied, however, at this juncture, the organizational policies and processes that are in place must govern a mandatory interaction with direct reports to ensure that their most valuable people do not churn out of the company.

Companies spend twice over when rehiring talent as opposed to retaining them. A weekly check-in process solves the communication issue that lies at the heart of the attrition problem. The check-ins process is employee-driven and not manager driven. Providing an honest platform to elicit candor, that sparks a hidden problem or an insight. The recommended best practices for check-ins involve questions that probe into your people’s plans, challenges, and progress for that given period. These questions should address where they are succeeding or stumbling with roadblocks so that the managers can intervene at the right time.

Conversations are most effective when they are had with context over having conversations based on assumptions. The common problems associated with roadblocks not being highlighted is that people often consider taking or asking for help as a sign of personal incapability. The check-in questionnaires are a more natural way to address this need as it provides a neutral channel to notify these problems to their managers who can take relevant actions.    

Why is it essential for your employee to write out their answers?

 When your employees fill your questionnaires through writing, it provides them with the time to gather their thoughts and formulate a response that is more honest and accurate. Writing forces clarity in answers and have a higher probability of pointing to a much larger issue at stake

Introvert and extrovert problem 

In case of an unannounced question and answer session, the introverts among your people would feel surprised and would recoil into a zone of safe and comfortable answers that they know would not land them in trouble which, however, affects the bigger picture. The extroverts may use this opportunity to share excessive irrelevant information that is not insightful or contextual to their current problem

Managers will have a harder time assimilating this information to gather actionable insights, for they could either be confounded by too many facts or tied down by lack of knowledge. This insufficient data also affects their ability to gauge and coach their employees.

How does Check-In process help managers? 

With check-ins, managers also have time to understand the employee’s point of view and come up with an appropriate response to their answers.Though check-ins are considered time-consuming, especially during the times of performance reviews, however, this time constraint can be easily overcome by using a periodic check-in software such as Upshotly, to efficiently collect and store answers while also contextually recollect previous check-in responses throughout the goal cycle.

The faster you can resolve employee concerns, the more motivated and engaged your employees tend to be. One small trick in the playbook to help them perform better would be to ask them coaching questions. By framing the issue in a way that offers to help them as opposed to directing them toward a specific task, will in-fact improve their interest and engagement. Once you take care of performance, commitment, and concerns, your organizations will have very few surprises from employees in case of unwanted or unmet expectations. 

And if we’ve already addressed performance or behavior concerns when they occurred, there’s no need to bring those up again, and no need for surprises for the employee on unclear or unmet expectations.

How to frame check-ins?

How to frame check-in questions?

A performance check-in question needs to emphasis progress over evaluation. Your aim as a manager is to find out the impediments and roadblocks that are holding back your team and provide them with learning opportunities while pinpointing areas of improvement. The leader assumes the road of a mentor or a guide who pinpoints positives of their employees while also cheering them towards larger goals, When your reporters get validated about their positives, it improves their self-confidence and also provides them an intrinsic motivation to drive themselves. Being self-driven will have a positive impact on their productivity while also ensuring long term profitability of the organization. 

A sample template about framing check-in questions 

  • Questions address previous accomplishments during this goal cycle (What have you done thus far?) 
  • A specified number of objectives that your employees are going to focus (How many items are in your focus?) 
  • A list of the goals as mentioned above (What are those?) 
  • Questions addressing avenues for providing help (How can I help you in the best way) 
  • Questions addressing company value and ethic (What does working here mean for you?)