In leadership, your schedule is packed, your workload is heavy, and everyone seems to need your attention. Unfortunately, all of this can make it challenging to connect with your employees and genuinely lead them in the ways they need you to.
For that reason, recurring check-in meetings exist. They’re an opportunity for you to get status updates on projects, offer feedback, and provide coaching; they’re also a chance for your employees to get the information and answers they need to continue doing their job as best as possible.
In the following article, we’ll review the definition of a check-in meeting and why they’re important, provide a list of employee check-in questions, and leave you with a check-in meeting template you can apply immediately.
What Is a Check-In Meeting?
A check-in meeting is when a leader meets one-on-one with each of their employees to receive updates, offer feedback or support, and generally build rapport. This type of meeting typically occurs weekly or bi-weekly and requires 30-60 minutes to complete, although this can vary depending on your schedule and your employee's unique needs.
You might also hear check-in meetings, referred to as one-on-one meetings, touch base meetings, or catch-up meetings.
Why Are Check-In Meetings Important?
First off, check-in meetings are essential for employees because, depending on how busy you are and the nature of your work, it might be one of the few chances they have to speak with you directly and privately in a given period. Therefore, employees will rely on your check-in meetings to provide you with updates, get your approval, ask questions, receive feedback, and seek help or guidance to do their job to the best of their ability.
Not to mention, check-in meetings are vital for you as a leader as they allow you to monitor and assess your employee’s progress, engagement, and performance. It also allows you to provide timely coaching, discuss professional goals, course-correct employees, and initiate career conversations.
What Are Good Check-In Questions For Meetings? 16 Examples
A big part of effective meetings is asking good employee check-in questions that encourage honest, two-way communication. To give you an idea of meeting check-in questions you should be asking; we’ve put together the following list you can pick from.
- How are you coming to this meeting? (ex. energized, stressed, burned out)
- What’s been working well for you? What hasn’t?
- Is there anything you’re particularly proud of or have accomplished since we last met (big or small)?
- In our last meeting, X challenged you? How has that been going?
- What is your top priority between now and our next meeting?
- What roadblocks are you currently facing? How can I help remove them for you?
- How confident do you feel in your progress towards your goals?
- How can I best help you between now and our next meeting?
- Do you feel your current role/responsibilities align with your professional vision?
- What part of your job feels most in line with your professional goals?
- Is your role making you feel challenged? What in particular makes you feel that way?
- How are you feeling about your work-life balance currently?
- Is there something you want to work on or someone you want to work with more often? If so, why?
- What aspect of your job would you like to improve or need support with?
- Are there areas in your role that you would like more or less direction from me?
- What could I do to make your life at work easier/better?
Check-In Meeting Template
Now that you know the purpose of a check-in meeting and have a list of good questions to ask, you may wonder what your meeting agenda should look like.
Ideally, your check-in meeting will consist of three parts: small talk and relationship building, status updates, and the big picture.
Part 1: Small Talk and Relationship Building
In the first part of the meeting, focus on getting to know your employees as people with lives and interests beyond the office. Whether you spend this time talking about their family or the latest hit show on Netflix, be sure not to skip this or rush this part, as this is where strong working relationships form.
Part 2: Status Updates
During the next part of your check-in meeting, your employee should provide you with status updates on their current projects or problems and come prepared with a list of things that they either need your feedback or approval on. Also, at this point, you should begin asking questions (such as questions 1-8 above) to gauge how they are handling their workload and how you can help them.
Part 3: The Big Picture
To conclude your check-in meetings, take some time with your employees to discuss the bigger picture, including their career goals, professional vision, and learning and development needs. This is referred to as a “career conversation” and is highly valued by today’s workforce. In fact, 82% of employees who have career conversations with their manager more than once a month said they felt highly engaged compared to 53% of those who only talk about their career once a year or less.