Manager’s Complete Checklist to Staff Check Ins

by Srikant Chellappa Nov 9,2023

The People Strategy Leaders Podcast

with Srikant Chellappa, CEO

Checking in on the progress of your direct reports doesn’t need to be a long and stressful process. Employee check-ins are an easy way to keep track of the performance of your employees without making it seem like an actual performance review.

Employee performance check-ins are one-on-one conversations between managers and employees about their goals objectives and performance plans. These help you gain an understanding of what your employees are working on and the issues they face from time to time and help you resolve them without having to wait for annual performance reviews. This article will talk about the importance of staff check-in and some steps to make it more productive and engaging.

Also Read: The ultimate check-ins list for performance appraisals

What is Employee Check-In or Staff Check-In? 

Employee check-ins are scheduled meetings between an employee and their manager to discuss a range of topics related to the employee’s work and progress toward their goals. Held regularly, check-ins provide an opportunity for employees to receive feedback, guidance, and support from their manager.

The purpose of these check-ins can vary depending on the organization and the individual employee’s needs, but common topics of discussion can include workload management, career development, feedback and guidance, work-life balance, team collaboration, and progress toward goals. Employee check-ins are an important tool for fostering open communication, building trust and accountability, and supporting employees in their professional growth and development.

Also Read: Benefits of employee check-ins in organizations

Conducting Effective Employee Check-ins 

We believe that effective employee check-ins require a structured and consistent approach. That’s why we’ve created this manager’s checklist for employee check-ins. By following these steps, you can ensure that your check-ins are productive, focused, and valuable for both you and your employees.

Step 1: Set clear expectations 

Before the check-in, make sure that you and your employee are on the same page about what will be discussed. This includes the meeting’s purpose, the agenda, and the outcomes you hope to achieve. By setting clear expectations, you can ensure that both you and your employees are prepared and can use the time effectively.

Use the following discussion points to set clear expectations for the check-ins:


Workload and Responsibilities:

1.How are you feeling about your workload and workload management?

2. How have you been prioritizing your tasks and responsibilities?

Career Development:

3. How are you feeling about your career progression and development?

4. Are there any training or learning opportunities that you’re interested in pursuing?

Feedback and Guidance:

5. Is there anything you need from me or the company to better support you in your work?

6. Are there any areas of your job that you’d like more feedback or guidance on?

Work-Life Balance:

7. Have you been able to maintain a healthy work-life balance?

Policies and Procedures:

8. Are there any company policies or procedures that you have questions or concerns about?

Team Collaboration:

9. How are you feeling about the team dynamic and collaboration?

10. Have you been able to build positive relationships with coworkers and managers?

Company Culture:

11. Is there anything you’d like to see change or improve in the workplace?

12. How are you feeling about the company’s overall direction and vision?

13. Have you had any opportunities to provide feedback or input to the company?

Benefits and Perks:

14. Have you been able to utilize any company benefits or perks?

Upcoming Projects and Initiatives:

15. Are there any upcoming projects or initiatives that you’re excited about?

Strengths and Skills:

16. How have you been able to apply your strengths and skills in your work?

Goals and Objectives:

17. Are there any goals or objectives you’re working towards in the short or long term?

Open Discussion:

18. Is there anything else you’d like to discuss or bring up during our check-in?

Challenges and Accomplishments:

19. Are there any challenges or roadblocks you’re currently facing in your work?

20. Have you had any recent successes or accomplishments that you’re proud of?

Conversation Starters: Help Employees Open Up

Employees must open up and discuss in these meetings to get the most out of them. Here are some sample questions that you can use as conversation starters:

  • How are you feeling about your work and progress towards your goals?
  • What accomplishments are you most proud of since our last check-in?
  • Are there any areas where you feel you’ve made significant progress?
  • What have been some challenges you’ve faced since our last check-in?
  • How have you been able to overcome any obstacles or roadblocks in your work?
  • Is there anything you need from me or the company to better support your progress towards your goals?
  • Have you identified any new goals or objectives since our last check-in?
  • How have you been able to apply any new skills or knowledge to your work?
  • Are there any areas where you’d like additional training or development opportunities?
  • How do you feel your progress toward your goals aligns with the company’s overall objectives and direction?

Step 2: Create a comfortable environment 

Effective check-ins require a comfortable and safe environment where employees can share their thoughts, feelings, and concerns. It’s essential to create a positive and relaxed atmosphere where employees feel comfortable discussing their progress and any challenges they’re facing.

Step 3: Provide feedback and support

Feedback is a crucial part of performance management, and check-ins provide an excellent opportunity to offer constructive feedback. Remember to provide specific examples and suggestions for improvement. Additionally, ensure that your employees receive the support they need to achieve their goals, whether it be training, resources, or other assistance.

Step 4: Review progress towards goals 

Check-ins are an excellent time to review progress toward goals and ensure that employees are on track. By monitoring progress, you can identify any challenges early on and work with your employees to find solutions.

Step 5: Plan for the future 

Finally, use the check-in to plan for the future. This includes setting goals, discussing career development opportunities, and identifying any support your employees may need to achieve their objectives. By planning for the future, you can ensure that your employees remain motivated and engaged.

Step 6. Set up cadence for the check-ins

Setting up a regular cadence for employee check-ins is an important aspect of fostering strong communication and feedback within a team. By establishing a routine schedule, employees can feel confident in their ability to voice their concerns, share their successes, and receive guidance from their managers.

Consistency in the frequency and format of check-ins can also help ensure that no important issues are overlooked or forgotten. Additionally, regularly scheduled check-ins can help build a sense of accountability and responsibility for both employees and managers, as they are encouraged to regularly review progress towards goals and take steps to address any areas that may need improvement.

Also read: Employee check-ins for remote employees

Engagedly’s Check-in Module for Ongoing Conversations and Growth

Traditional performance management often relies on infrequent, formal reviews, overlooking the crucial value of ongoing dialogue and feedback. Engagedly’s Check-in Module bridges this gap, enabling regular, informal conversations between managers and employees that foster growth, engagement, and alignment.

Regular Pulse Checks for Continuous Improvement:

  • Flexible Cadence: Set up recurring check-ins tailored to your team’s needs and preferences, whether weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly. This ensures regular touchpoints and timely discussions to address emerging issues or celebrate achievements.
  • Structured yet Adaptable: Pre-defined topics and prompts guide the conversation while allowing for customization based on individual goals, projects, or challenges. This flexibility ensures relevant talking points without stifling organic dialogue.
  • Real-time Feedback Exchange: Both managers and employees can provide open feedback during check-ins, creating a two-way communication loop that builds trust and fosters a culture of continuous improvement.

Enhanced Employee Development and Engagement:

  • Goal Tracking and Adjustment: Regular check-ins help track progress towards individual and team goals, allowing for course correction, resource allocation, and adjustments as needed. This sense of direction and agency keeps employees engaged and motivated.
  • Skill Development and Learning Opportunities: Check-ins offer a platform to discuss learning needs and identify opportunities for skill development. Managers can recommend resources, training programs, or mentorship support, empowering employees to take ownership of their growth.
  • Early Problem Identification and Resolution: Regular conversations facilitate the early identification of challenges or roadblocks faced by employees. This allows for timely intervention and support, preventing issues from escalating and impacting performance.

Improved Communication and Alignment:

  • Open Dialogue and Transparency: Regular check-ins foster a culture of open communication and transparency. Employees feel heard and valued, while managers gain valuable insights into team dynamics and individual needs.
  • Clear Expectations and Feedback: Check-ins ensure clarity on expectations, priorities, and deadlines. This alignment between managers and employees minimizes confusion and miscommunication, leading to smoother workflows and improved efficiency.
  • Strengthened Team Collaboration: Regular conversations between manager and team members bridge communication gaps and promote collaboration. This fosters a more cohesive and supportive work environment, where individuals feel comfortable sharing ideas and requesting assistance.

Engagedly’s Check-in Module transcends simple conversations:

  • Data-Driven Insights: Check-in data can be analyzed to identify trends, patterns, and areas requiring attention. This provides valuable insights for strategic decision-making and performance management initiatives.
  • Performance Management Integration: Seamlessly connect check-in data with performance reviews and development plans, creating a holistic view of employee performance and growth.
  • Scalable Solution: The module adapts to teams of all sizes and structures, catering to both individual and team-based check-ins.

Staff Check-In: Conclusion

Effective employee check-ins require a structured approach that sets clear expectations, creates a comfortable environment, provides feedback and support, reviews progress toward goals, and plans for the future. By following these steps, you can help your employees perform at their best and achieve their objectives.

We believe that regular staff check-ins are critical for maintaining a motivated and engaged workforce. By using our manager’s checklist, you can ensure that your check-ins are productive, focused, and valuable for both you and your team members.

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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 2024.

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