Tracking progress is an amazing way to help your people and get to the bottom of how they really feel about their job. It’s also a great way for managers to stay in touch and keep an eye on employee performance, in a way that is a lot more progressive and positive than checking in all the time or man to man management.
Check ins with your employees are an essential part of good management – whether those check ins occur between management and employees or HR and employees or both. To help you make the most of employee check ins, here are our favourite employee check in questions to get the ball rolling.
1. If you could change one thing about your role, day to day, what would that be?
This question is subtle, but loaded with meaning. The ‘day to day’ element of the question is also very important as it allows the employee to pinpoint exactly how you could edit this part of the role in practice. Often in 1-1s we spend a lot of time talking about theoreticals, but this question gets your employee to really point out where they’re struggling and dig their teeth into the practical changes that could be made.
Sometimes these can be really quick and easy changes, and sometimes they are more long-term. However, if you don’t get your people talking about the bad parts of their role as well as the good, then you run the risk of them bottling it up and either leaving or becoming dissatisfied in the role.
Making small tweaks to make the role more suited to the individual is a sure fire way to keep them happy and motivated – and this question gives you the opportunity to do that. If you’re building leadership development plans for your managers, this is a good tip for you – encourage those team leaders to have these conversations.
2. What kind of training would be most helpful to you right now?
This question helps you stay on track with where your employees might be struggling, and might need some extra learning support. Ultimately, when it comes to learning and development, your people know what skills they need to excel in their role day to day, and this question gets to the heart of that.
Giving them the opportunity to voice what training they’d like to do shows that you care, gives them agency over their learning and gives you the opportunity to close any skills gaps before it’s too late.
3. Are you on track to reach your career goals?
This is such a loaded question, because it assumes that they have career goals. Immediately upon asking this, you’ll either be met by someone who knows exactly whether they are on track to hit their goals, or someone who looks at you slightly confused.
Either way, this is a great question to get your people talking about where they see themselves and what they want to achieve. It also helps them plan out how to get there, and gives you the opportunity to offer any extra steps they can take to achieving those goals. It might also simply come back to the skills people want to develop and how you can help them either reskill or upskill accordingly.
Showing your people that you care about their development and are willing to help them get there, is sure to boost engagement and overall happiness.
4. What was your biggest success story this month?
Short and sweet, this question allows your employee to share their success and gives an opportunity for the praise that we all deserve and crave when we’ve done something well.
Sometimes when work is busy and we have a lot going on, success can fly under the radar, however accountability and recognition come top of all employee happiness surveys – with 37% of employees saying that recognition is the most important thing a company can do to ensure they are successful!
5. What do you need help with?
This question not only allows you to reach out a hand to someone who may be struggling, but also allows you to show that you care and fix any skills gaps too. Helping your people seems like an obvious one, but it’s surprising how many employees feel that they aren’t helped. This can mean help in the role, help with their personal situation or even just with flexible working. People need to feel supported, and this question gives us the opportunity to be better.
If you can show that you care, and offer that helping hand, then employees will pay you back with loyalty and productivity. Studies show that 55% of workers who feel their employer cares about their well-being want to stay at their company for 10 years or more.
If you’ve asked these questions in employee check ins and are ready to really hear the answers, the next step is implementing those changes in order to help your people grow and flourish.