These days, our attention is a hot commodity. Companies and influencers are willing to spend a lot of time and money to grab it. Employers pay wages for it with the hope of reaping the benefit. While our attention flits from one topic to a meeting to an email to an article (cough, cough), perhaps it is worth turning our attention to where we can see a distinct return on our attention investment, checking in with our teams and gathering their feedback. But with so much already requiring our attention, why add more?
First let’s clarify. A check-in does not have to be long. It can be a five-minute daily standup (Pro tip: stand up, so no one gets too comfortable) or video conference. It doesn’t even have to be a meeting; it could be a Slack update or a simple feedback prompt. So while checking-in still requires your attention, perhaps it is not nearly as much as you’d think. Let’s take a look at why checking in regularly and often with your teams deserves some of your attention.
Each check-in is an opportunity for employees to feel heard
When companies provide a platform for employees to frequently and safely express their opinions, trust is built between the employee and leadership. Each check-in becomes an opportunity for the employees to feel heard and to build trust with leadership. As employees feel their opinions matter, they are more likely to engage in open dialog especially when they see their feedback make a difference in the organization.
Frequent check-ins capture employee sentiment in the moment
So many factors affect employee engagement and sentiment. Capturing issues and emotions as they happen provides a clearer picture of the cause and effects. If an employee has the opportunity to provide daily feedback, they have a better chance of recounting the issue or emotion and its cause as they are happening. Waiting a month or even a week for a check-in requires the employee to accurately remember and not unintentionally distort the issue.
Frequent check-ins help flag issues before they become problematic
In addition, to a more accurate recount, checking in more frequently helps teams catch and address issues as they are happening. It helps leaders see where employees are succeeding (to celebrate) and struggling (to support). If the feedback is negative, leadership has the opportunity to address the negative sentiment before it spreads. The good news: leadership can encourage the spread of positive feedback and announce the wins.
Frequent feedback gives managers an opportunity to improve their leadership skills
Encouraging the team to provide open and forthcoming feedback also helps the managers develop as leaders. With direct, actionable feedback from their teams, managers are better equipped to provide support, remove blockers and celebrate the wins as they happen. They are better able to identify and take action on the issues affecting morale. They can’t help fix what they don’t know about.
All these factors taken together help create a healthy work culture
As leaders, providing frequent opportunities for employee feedback helps employers build trust and helps employees feel supported and part of a broader vision. It clarifies what is expected of the team and how to achieve goals. When employees feel a part of something bigger, when open communication is encouraged and when goals and objectives feel achievable, the team is happier and more productive. The happier the team is, the stronger the trust and communication. The more productive the team is. And so the virtuous cycle builds.