Check-in conversations are here to stay across industries – manufacturing or services.
Staying closely knit with one’s associates and learn the pulse in almost real time is the key to successful people management in today’s scenario in the traditional and new-age industries, alike.
User-friendly tools which have an informal social interface (look and feel) are becoming platforms where check-in conversation notes are being recorded and retrieved to consolidate from time to time.
How’s it going? Progress on goals? Feedback for me? – these are the typical constituents of a check-in conversation.
Check-ins can happen as frequently as weekly or monthly and definitely quarterly. Usually once a quarter or lesser frequency, the check-in conversation should be focused around performance where the associate gets to know whether she/he is meeting, not meeting or exceeding expectations.
With consistent performers, the manager also encourages them to learn of the associate’s career aspirations and other interests during the check-ins – these can be useful inputs to plan for promotions and individual development.
Check-ins are also a persuasive form of understanding pain areas and roadblocks in the associate’s performance and which may include cross-functional collaboration and other dependencies and the manager can intervene and help facilitate overcoming these hurdles supporting the associate.
Check-in conversations harness creativity and become a hunting ground for ideation. Check-ins also help in having crucial conversations with associates and giving strong feedback or areas of improvement to the associate in a safe environment where she/he is not threatened by the presence of a larger workgroup.
One of the most important benefits of check-in conversations through the year is that this eliminates any surprises in terms of expectations between the manager and her/his team member. If the interval between check-ins is going to be long – and usually once a year or once in six months it leaves enough scope for a lot of disconnection between what the team member (associate) thought were the team goals and her/his individual contribution versus what she/he hears from their manager during the bi-yearly or yearly conversation.
Check-ins increase employee engagement and motivation thereof. Frequent check-ins (making it a habit) combined with recognition (daily tacos or digital badges) directly impact retention of human resources.
Encouraging peer feedback apart from the manager’s feedback further removes bias and lends to building high-performance teams.
The need to avoid interpersonal discomfort prevents team members from holding each other accountable, the desire to preserve artificial harmony stifles the occurrence of productive ideological conflict, the lack of clarity or buy-in prevents team members from making decisions they will stick to and the fear of being vulnerable with team members prevents the building of trust within the team – all of these get addressed by the new game in town on performance management – the check-in conversations and keeping performance reviewed continuously thereof.