What Is A Weekly Check In? Definition and Tips

by Srikant Chellappa May 14,2023
Engagedly
PODCAST

The People Strategy Leaders Podcast

with Srikant Chellappa, CEO

Weekly check-ins are a great way to touch base with your team. They give managers and employees a chance to get on the same page without the stress of the check-in being treated like an actual meeting. Moreover, effective managers will use weekly check-ins to gain insight into how the employee works, what does not work, and what needs to change. And, considering the current times when most of the employees globally are still working from home, it is crucial to have weekly check-ins.

In order to be effective, weekly check-ins demand immediate action and acknowledgment. Rather than the employee or manager waiting for the right time to share something, be it an opinion or a grievance, weekly check-ins force everyone to take stock of everything around them.

What is a Weekly  Check In?

A weekly check-in is a brief, regular meeting or conversation that individuals or teams have to discuss progress, priorities, and challenges related to their work. It serves as a quick status update, fostering communication, collaboration, and alignment among team members. These check-ins are often used to ensure everyone is on the same page, address any issues, and keep the workflow moving smoothly.

Why is a Weekly Check In Important for Employees?

A weekly check-in is important for employees for several reasons:

  1. Communication and Alignment: It facilitates regular communication, ensuring that team members are aligned on goals, priorities, and tasks.
  2. Feedback and Recognition: Employees can receive feedback on their work, providing an opportunity for recognition of achievements and addressing any concerns or challenges.
  3. Collaboration: It promotes collaboration among team members, allowing them to share information, insights, and updates that contribute to the overall success of projects.
  4. Problem Solving: Weekly check-ins offer a platform to identify and address any obstacles or issues hindering progress, enabling timely problem-solving.
  5. Accountability: Regular check-ins help establish accountability as team members report on their progress and commitments, fostering a sense of responsibility.
  6. Team Building: It contributes to team building by creating a consistent space for open communication and building rapport among team members.
  7. Adaptability: In a dynamic work environment, weekly check-ins provide an opportunity to adapt plans and strategies based on changing circumstances or emerging priorities.
  8. Employee Well-being: Regular check-ins allow managers to gauge the well-being of their team members, providing support and resources if needed.

Structure Of A Weekly Check-In 

The structure of a weekly check-in works a little something like this. Managers and employees typically meet for 10 minutes and have a quick chat over the work done that week. Alternatively, a weekly check-in can also be done as a structured questionnaire, which can then succeed by a face-to-face meeting. The cadence of a weekly check-in can be based on what the organization is comfortable doing.

Weekly check-ins work better when they adhere to a basic structure that involves a set of questions. Managers can use these sets of questions as a framework to guide the check-in. This absolves the manager of having to stress about what they should ask, and it makes the employee feel more at ease when they know what to expect.

Here are a few tips that can help you in weekly check-ins with your employees

Also Read: Know How To Make Your Employee Feedback Work

Tips for Effective Weekly Check In?

Use the following tips to make your weekly check ins more effective and productive:

1. Don’t Mix Check-Ins With Employee Surveys

The urge to send out a long and detailed questionnaire might be very strong, but it is important to temper that urge. Weekly check-ins should be short and sweet. They shouldn’t take employees long to fill out. Don’t treat them like employee surveys. Those are a whole different ball game.

If employees are spending over 30 minutes filling out a weekly check-in questionnaire, then the point of the weekly check-in is lost. Aim for 8 questions or fewer, questions that can be answered in 2 to 3 lines or even questions that can be answered through multiple choice options, one word, yes/no, etc.

2. Involve Them In The Conversation

The whole point of a weekly check-in is for the employee to share any concerns they have and for the manager to offer them directional guidance. It’s not supposed to be a one-way street where the manager communicates down to the employee. It is important for questions to reflect this aspect of weekly check-ins.

Example: In what areas do you need to improve?

Rephrased example: In what way can I help you improve? Are there any certain areas you would like to focus on?

In the rephrased questions, you can see that the ball is in the employee’s court. It does not feel like they are being forced into something. Rather, it allows them to decide if they want to ask for help or not. It also allows them to objectively decide where they need to improve, rather than being told by someone that they need to improve in a certain area.

Also Read: 7 Ways To Curb Workplace Negativity

3. Be To The Point And Specific

If you want concise answers, your best bet is to ask specific and pointed questions. For instance, you want to know how much time your employee spends on certain projects. The way you phrase the question will get you answers that wildly vary in terms of how relevant they are.

Example: How much time did you spend working on all your projects this week?

This question seems fine, but it will not get you the answers you want. Because the employee is going to think to you want a detailed breakdown of how they spent their time. That’s time-consuming and off-putting for them and as for the manager, it’s going to look like an unnecessarily detailed answer.

Rephrased Example: To which project did you devote the most amount of time during this week? 

This question works better because it gives the employees to answer concisely and it also gives the manager the exact answer they were looking for.

4. Empathize With Your Employees

And they should play a big role in your weekly check-in questionnaire. Emotions affect the way we work, much like they affect other aspects of a person’s life. When employees are happy or content, they are more likely to be involved in their work. When employees are dealing with hard times, their distraction and stress levels are more than usual.

Is it really important to know how an employee is feeling? The answer is yes; it is absolutely important. Questions about morale help managers gauge how an employee is feeling without making it feel like they are probing. This also brings to their attention any issues that might have escaped notice. But as with all things linked to emotion, how you choose to phrase the question also plays a big role.

Example: How are you feeling this week?

While this seems like an innocuous question (and it is one in most casual conversations), it becomes a loaded question in a weekly check-in questionnaire, depending on how the employee is feeling. You also have to consider the fact that not everyone is comfortable answering a question like this.

Rephrased Example: Did you experience any events that made you feel either high or low this week? And how did they affect your work?

This question works because it directs the question back to work and frames it within the context of what an employee feels comfortable answering. Besides, this rephrased question also ties into the first tip: ask specific questions and you will get specific answers.

Also Read: 360 Degree Feedback: The Benefits And Challenges

5. Don’t Miss To Follow up

Any continuous feedback session is incomplete without a follow-up. The same goes for weekly check-ins as well. Based on the way employees answer the weekly check-in questionnaire, managers might want to schedule follow-up chats, meetings, etc. The point of a weekly check-in isn’t to only conduct a cursory survey of sorts for employees. It is an opportunity to create a conversation and open a channel of communication. By not following up on weekly check-ins, you risk breaking a connection that is just forming.

We hope these tips help you create an actionable weekly check-in template! And what other tips would you recommend when creating a weekly check-in questionnaire? Share them with us!

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Author
Srikant Chellappa
CEO & Co-Founder of Engagedly

Srikant Chellappa is the Co-Founder and CEO at Engagedly and is a passionate entrepreneur and people leader. He is an author, producer/director of 6 feature films, a music album with his band Manchester Underground, and is the host of The People Strategy Leaders Podcast. He is currently working on his next book, Ikigai at the Workplace, which is slated for release in the fall of 2023.

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