The Weekly Check-In: How to Do It and Why They Are So Effective

While it should not serve to replace quarterly and yearly meetings, the weekly check in has several unique benefits that make it essential for modern organisations. The short chat aims to assess how the employee has been faring at work on a week by week basis.

These weekly one-on-one check-ins result in improved communication between managers and team members, and this is just one of the reasons why they are very effective. Here are more reasons managers should consider instituting a policy of scheduled weekly check-ins:

They allow for fast resolution of issues

Why solve an issue three months from now if you can put it to bed today? Quarterly and yearly meetings are great but they cannot tackle abrupt road blocks that have the potential to derail a project. With a weekly check in, both manager and employee can remain on top of an arising problems in the projects they are working on and even suggest, in real time, changes to make the work better.

They build trust and loyalty

It is difficult to foster trust in group meetings where no attention is paid to one-on-one relationships. The nature of a weekly check in requires that a boss and employee spend some time together.

If the boss follows through and treats employee feedback with respect and confidentiality, it can be the start of a trusting relationship. When team members are loyal and trust their leaders they will feel free to share more honest feedback, whether it is growing concerns or new ideas.

They boost productivity of both managers and employees

One-on-one communication eliminates the back and forth and lack of clarity of other methods of communication like email. If you factor in the amount of time managers lose by having to respond to queries via mail, tackle impromptu conversations with employees to sort out issues as they arise, you will realize that scheduling a weekly check in saves time.

A scheduled weekly check-in also benefits the employees in that they will have ample time to organise their thoughts and questions. In addition, having a weekly check-in will help employees stay up to date with what is expected of them. One of the top reasons why employees go off-course in their work is because they are not aware of what they are supposed to do.

Weekly check-ins motivate employees to do better

“You’re on the right track.” “Have you considered approaching it this way?” Sometimes all employees need is specific feedback to give them the necessary motivation to complete a particularly challenging task. The next one-on-one meeting can start with an update on how the previous week’s advice/key points have worked out in the current week.

Improve your employee engagement

Improve your employee engagement in less than two minutes

Get started for free today.

Free sign up

This personal attention to their work can help employees feel valued and let them know that their specific efforts contribute to the bigger picture. This in turn boosts motivation.

They improve skills of both managers and employees

One of the roles of a good manager is to guide their team in achieving goals. They have a chance to do this in a weekly check in. The one-on-one nature of this meeting allows for managers to get down to the finer details of particular problems and, together with the employee, find solutions to them.

When this is done repeatedly, every week, both managers and employees improve their skills. Mangers will improve their leadership skills and employees will become adept at problem solving.

How to carry out weekly check-ins

The benefits aside, if organisations do not execute weekly check-ins with some thought, they run a risk of having them become a dreaded part of the employees’ weeks. Keep the steps below in mind to make weekly check-ins a success:

Introduce the idea

Like any new workplace initiative, the team needs to understand the gist of a weekly check-in. What do they need to do and what benefits do they, and the organisation, stand to gain from it? Set time aside to educate and train them on how the process will work.

Put the employee first

The focus of weekly check-ins should be to figure out how the employees are doing, what problems they are facing, and how they can be resolved. Many other meetings focus on bosses telling employees what to do; the weekly check-in eliminates this by allowing the employees to table their concerns.

It might be tempting to put the business ahead of the employee but when you solve the needs of the employee, you are inadvertently solving the needs of the business. Use that time to delve into the tasks they are working on that week and progress of the same.

weekly check-in

Image: Unsplash

Keep it short and private

One of the reasons that people dread meetings is because they are long. When the idea is introduced a format or agenda needs to be set up for weekly check-ins. This will help employees prepare ahead of time and save time. The meeting can be as short as 15 minutes. This will take the pressure off and make it more productive.

In addition, a weekly check-in should be in a private place where employees feel comfortable enough to share. It might seem natural for employees to run into a manager in the kitchen as they make tea and have a chat. But this will likely be interrupted by other people using the kitchen. Hold the meeting in a place where meaningful communication will happen from start to finish.

Be present

Keep your phone aside and pay attention to your employee. It is customary to take notes at a meeting, but constantly having to jot down things on a pad or laptop will interrupt the flow of the meeting. You might need to note important things but ensure that it doesn’t affect you listening actively.

With prior planning, an employee will be ready with their concerns and as a manager, you need to be ready to listen. This still applies if the check-in is virtual, via video conferencing.

In Summary

Sometimes managers neglect the need to interface with their employees and this can have disastrous effects. If human resource is a company’s most important resource, it is necessary that they get enough support and attention. A weekly check-in can achieve this very easily.

Gerald Ainomugisha

Gerald Ainomugisha

Gerald is a freelance writer with a pen that is keen for entrepreneurship, business and technology. When he isn't writing insightful articles on employee engagement and corporate culture, Gerald can be found writing for a number of media outlets.