Scheduling regular check-ins are incredibly crucial, particularly as the hybrid model of working is fast becoming the standard way of working for a majority of people.
For employees, check-ins are very important for their sense of stability, well-being, and visibility in a company. However, these conversations should not be thought of as just a luxury, but rather, a very necessary work conversation.
During these conversations, people may wish to discuss challenges, current projects, their rate of progress and various other matters. As such, increasing the frequency of check-ins has become one of the top priorities for most companies.
Why employers should check in
Check-ins offer employees and their managers more opportunities to build better relationships through normalising consistent communications, working together to accomplish set goals, and exchanging valuable feedback.
This will naturally create a more casual and open feel to the check-ins. However, managers must have some form of structure in mind to guide the conversations and make them as meaningful as possible.
These pointers will help you initiate insightful, supportive check-ins.
Go beyond ‘How are you’
The whole host of challenges that the pandemic has brought, such as worries about our health, our loved ones and what the future generally holds, means no one is particularly close to fine.
Yet, if you ask someone “How are you?” you’re likely to receive a similarly generic answer of “I’m fine, thank you”.
So make your question more specific and help people reflect on the last few hours by asking:
“How are you today?”
Show that you care
People feel more inclined to open up if they think the person they’re talking to, genuinely cares and wants to hear about where they’re at. Framing the question in this way can show your employee that they have cropped up in your mind, and this isn’t just a compulsory conversation you’re having with everyone.
“I’ve been thinking about you recently – how are you doing?”
Address the real issues
Sometimes, the only way to get to the root of a problem is to simply address it head on. If you suspect that your employee is struggling but they aren’t openly responsive to the above questions, consider using pointed questions about what you think they may be feeling.
It’ll also help let them know that no matter what the issue with, you honestly want to hear about it in as much detail as they’re comfortable sharing. That they aren’t required to pretend everything is okay or hold back for fear of oversharing or making the conversation awkward.
“Is there anything making you feel anxious?”
Share your own experience
If you want your employee to open up to you, leading by example. Everyone has their own challenges – including yourself. So instead of feeling the need to pretend you’re fine, be your authentic self and share some of your own vulnerability. As a leader, you’ll be role-modelling what’s acceptable, and giving the other person permission to authentically share, too.
For more questions to guide the types of conversations you’re having with your employees, download The Practical Coaching Toolkit For Effective Leaders.View the Blog