A Check-In is a great way for employees and their managers to have a more structured 1x1 that focuses on goals, growth, and progress.
These discussions are often more developmental and are usually conducted on a quarterly or monthly cadence.
What's the Difference Between a Check-in and a 1x1?
A Check-In is a more structured 1x1 and it's a chance for managers and employees to connect and see if they are aligned on the employee's goals and work priorities, and to have a growth-focused conversation.
Typical 1x1 Topics and Questions
Typical Check-In Topics:
A Check-In is not a normal "how's it going" conversation or a time to talk about day-to-day work, nor is it the only time to talk about growth and give coaching. Most of all, it shouldn't be scary!
Check-in Preparation for Employees
Before setting pen to paper and writing your check-in, the first thing to do is to make sure that what you think were your goals are up to date and written down.
Next, do some self-reflection. Some suggested questions to ask yourself:
- What did I learn the last quarter?
- What are some areas that I want to keep developing?
- Where can I take on more responsibility, and how does that add value to my team/my department/my company?
Lastly, think about how you're going to ask for feedback. We all have blind spots, and a check-in conversation is a time where you can uncover gaps between your perception of your performance and impact, and your manager's perceptions.
Check-in Preparation for Managers
Before reading your employee's self-assessment and writing your manager check-in, the first thing to do is to make sure that you're able to articulate the key projects and goals that this employee worked on this past quarter. That way, you will be able to see if there are any gaps between what you thought were priorities, and what your employee thought were priorities.
Next, do some reflection. Some suggested questions to ask yourself:
- What are this employee's key strengths? Are those strengths being utilized?
- Does this employee understand my expectations?
- What do I know about this employee's interests and vision for their growth?
- Is there anything that "I wish..." this employee would do? What's preventing me from giving him/her my feedback?
As you envision the check-in conversation, ask yourself what do you want your employees to:
- Know about their work, the company, you?
- Do more of, less of, start doing?
- Believe about themselves?
Now, read through your employee's assessment and start your own!
Delivering a Check-in for Managers
When preparing for the in-person conversation, be sure to:
- Take time to review all the feedback and think through your talking points before discussing the final assessment with your direct reports
- Share specific developmental points and success metrics; it's just as important to help your direct report understand what they should keep doing
- Be mindful of how non-verbal cues like body language and your mood can affect the conversation. If you have a remote workforce, it's highly recommended to use video conferencing technology to have a "live" experience.
- Submit the assessment to them through the tool after you have gone over the results with each of your team members in-person
- We DO NOT recommend submitting the assessment through the tool until you have reviewed the results one-on-one with your direct report
- Keep the conversation going, have your employee jot down action items and other follow-ups to revisit in the coming weeks
Finally, make sure you leave the conversation knowing that you're both on the same page, or have a way to get there together.