As a manager, team performance is bound to be a high priority. Yet so many managers try and make do with an annual performance review and the occasional ad hoc intervention. That’s never going to lead to top-level performance. Here’s why an employee check-in benefits everyone, and helps your team excel.

It’s no big secret that corporate over-reliance on annual performance reviews is on the way out. Both managers and employees hate them. And, to make matter worse, their results are questionable at best.
Feedback is most effective when it’s timely. And that’s where our weekly check-in for employees comes in!

The importance of continuous performance management

We’re not kidding when we say occasional performance management doesn’t cut it. Just last year, stats from Zippia showed that continuous feedback is the way forward:

  • 65% of employees reported a desire for more feedback.
  • Companies investing in regular feedback have roughly 15% less turnover than employers that don’t.
  • Of employees that get little to no feedback, 4 in 10 are actively disengaged.
  • 69% of employees report that they’d work harder if their efforts were recognized in feedback.
  • 43% of highly engaged employees received feedback at least once a week.

Millennial and Gen Z staff are leading the push for more regular feedback. But that doesn’t mean they’re the only ones who stand to benefit from workplace check-ins. A workplace check-in is the only way to go if you’re serious about continuous performance management. There are many excellent employee check-in benefits to reap, but if you’re unsure, here’s a quick round covering the advantage of an employee check-in.

Set goals often and check-in regularly for maximum benefits

Long-term goals are fine at corporate level. But smaller, more frequent targets are a better motivator for teams and employees. If this sounds familiar, that’s because it’s basically SMART Goal philosophy in action. But it still applies to our weekly check-ins for employees, even if you choose OKRs. Setting employees quarterly, monthly or even weekly targets provides attainable goals. So, rather than burning out on one big aim, employees take encouragement from each consecutive milestone.

Less is more

This might sound like a mixed-signal, seeing as we’ve also told you to set goals frequently. But hear us out for a moment! Old-fashioned engagement surveys tend to bury employees. They’re expected to answer dozens or even hundreds of questions. And they’re usually mass-produced. That means every employee has to answer the same set of generalized questions. As a result, they’re generally characterized by poor response rates and dishonest answers.

Giving each staff member a set of 5-10 personalized questions every week is much more effective. A small number of questions is much easier to get through. Their customizability means you can hone in on the issues affecting specific team members. And finally, their regularity means you can check up on reoccurring issues each week.

How an employee check-in benefits performance

So, obsolete methods are out and employee check-ins are in. But you might be wondering what exactly a weekly check-in for employees actually brings to the table.

Review goal progress on a weekly basis

Weekly check-ins have plenty of advantages. One of them is the built-in opportunity for progress updates. The question set concerns employee wellbeing and engagement specifically. But, with that taken care of, the second half of the check-in addresses goal progress.

Managers have their choice of SMART Goals and OKRs. Both definitely have their advantages. As we’ve already pointed out, SMART Goals help to make large tasks much more manageable.

On the other hand, OKRs connect these tasks to grander company goals. 91% of businesses with effective performance management link employee goals to business priorities. But whichever one you pick, you’ll gain three key benefits:

  • You can assess employee productivity at a glance, and observe performance trends over time.
  • Regular goal updates serve as a motivator for engaged employees.
  • These regular progress updates help to curb micromanaging tendencies.

Asynchronous feedback through a check-in is the real employee benefit

Managers can often be reluctant to engage in ongoing, regular performance management. One of the main reasons for this is worry over the potential time investment. Performance review season is always such a headache, partly because it means everybody has to carve out time for 1:1 meetings. And when it’s everyone in your business, that amounts to a huge time cost.

But the benefit of a weekly employee check-in is that it’s completely asynchronous. So, when an update gets submitted, you can just review it at your next opportunity. There’s no need to schedule a meeting unless one of you decides there needs to be further discussion. Asynchronous communication is a real life-saver, and not just for your remote staff!

On top of that, we’ve designed the whole thing to be incredibly light-touch. It only takes a few minutes to submit an update, and a similar amount of time to review one. So, they won’t disrupt anyone’s work day, even if you run them on a weekly basis.

Comprehensive documentation to support performance conversations

The other major reason people hate annual performance reviews is how difficult it can be to reflect. You’ve got to try and look back on a whole year’s worth of work. Being unintentionally biased towards the events of the past few weeks or months is a trap lots of managers fall into.

But a weekly check-in for your workplace removes that doubt. Each question and objective has its own update history. This makes it super easy for either of you to look back over any amount of time. That way, you’ll be able to reach a shared understanding with employees about their performance. They’ll be able to highlight their accomplishments. And in turn, you’ll be able to point out the areas they can improve on.

Hopefully, we’ve made the case for why you should have a weekly check-in for your team. But remember that, like any performance management tool, you’ll get out what you put into it. If you’re willing to put the work in, checking in regularly can help you to fully engage your staff.