When the going gets tough, are you checking in with your employees enough?
Engagement 4 minute read

When the going gets tough, are you checking in with your employees enough?

Megan Orr | September 13, 2022

Are you checking in with your employees the right way? It’s not just about frequency and the questions you ask, but also about the care you deliver. Here’s what we mean.

As you can imagine, we care a lot about better employee-manager check-ins. It’s a built-in feature in our performance management tool, allowing users to set up regular check-ins to gauge employee sentiments and satisfaction. 

Checking in with your employees is undoubtedly valuable. However, a lot of the time, the focus is too much on the checking-in process and the benefits to the organization rather than what employees are getting out of it. There are so many articles about “getting the most out of employee check-ins,”—and while it’s important to understand and embrace the process, it’s equally important to not treat check-ins as a chore that needs to be made more efficient. Checking in shouldn’t just be about going through the motions of asking some quick questions, but about actually connecting with employees. 

Recent studies show that “more than half (53 per cent) of employees believe their work is suffering because of poor mental health”. That’s nearly a guarantee that someone on your team is struggling with their mental health. Unfortunately, further research indicates that “thirty-seven per cent of Canadian employees feel it’s unsafe to talk about mental health at work”. 

That’s why checking in with your employees is so important. Not only is it a great opportunity to touch base with them about their ongoing projects and responsibilities, but it’s also an opportunity to ask how they’re doing—really doing—and start a dialogue about their wellbeing and offer a line of support if they need it. 

As a manager, it’s important to come prepared when checking in with your employees. 

HR Reporter recommends a number of things, but first is considering where you host your check-in meeting. You should ensure that it’s somewhere private, where employees won’t have to worry about being overheard. 

Additionally, HR Reporter advises managers to consider all of these questions before meeting with employees to check-in with them:

  • Do you have enough time to devote to this conversation?
  • How are you feeling? Are you in a calm state?
  • Are you able to self-reflect and have a clear conversation with somebody who could be needing some support?
  • What are the changes that you've noticed in this employee?
  • What resources can you offer?

With burnout being reported at high rates, your employees might not be doing as well as you think. 

A recent survey found that 84% of employees are experiencing burnout, with 34% reporting “very serious or extreme burnout symptoms”. If you’re not checking in with your employees, not only are you at risk of them leaving, but you’re also risking that they’re suffering with you none the wiser. 

Of course, there are many signs of employee burnout, such as disengaging from tasks or social events they previously enjoyed, decreased performance, absenteeism or presenteeism, etc., but not every employee who’s struggling will show obvious signs. If you’re not checking in with your team regularly—or doing only surface level check-ins—you might be allowing your employees to continually go unsupported. 

It’s the topic du jour right, as organizations and leaders worry about things like quiet quitting. Especially as the world, companies, communities, and people are working to recover and recalibrate post-COVID. Many people are just now coming to terms with the long-term consequences of the global pandemic and are finding themselves a little bit worse for wear.   

Managers should ask open-ended questions and be prepared to listen. While there are some obvious ways that employers can help—such as shifting responsibilities, offering more flexibility, or allowing employees to take time off as needed—employees really just want to know that you care about them and have their back if they need extra support. 

Don’t focus too much on what’s bogging employees down, but rather look for a way forward. What do solutions look like to them and to you as their manager? It’s also important to help employees set goals for themselves that link back to organizational goals so that they have something to work towards and are able to align their work with tangible metrics of success. 

Within Rise’s performance management solution, employees and their managers can set goals, track their progress, and check-in all in one place. Find out more about Rise Performance and our upcoming goal-setting feature here.

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