Having a normalized schedule of check-ins is a central tenet to continuous performance management (CPM). Workplace productivity and staff morale can greatly benefit from managers and employees more regularly communicating and exchanging feedback and ideas, as opposed to waiting on annual reviews.
However, when businesses transition to a CPM model, they may at first encounter some difficulty in scheduling and organizing check-ins. How frequent should they be? How in-depth should they be? Especially tricky is moving from one annual review to multiple milestone check-ins, it can be hard to judge just how best to make use of CPM, while not causing too much shock to employees.
In the end, a company's own unique needs, wants and culture will determine how frequent check-ins should be – but there are still some guiding principles to work from. It's all about finding a balance, and ensuring CPM can be utilized to maximum effect.
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Ramp up check-ins when big projects are underway
Having monthly check-ins is a good place to start for most, but some organizations may want to increase that frequency when they're at a crucial stage in an important project. Whether the initiative is one aimed at overhauling internal processes or delivering on big client expectations, stakeholders need to up their communication when critical progress points are reached or deadlines loom. Having more open lines of feedback increases collaboration, as well as helps identify any potential snags before they negatively impact the project.
Be careful to not overburden employees with check-ins at these points however. Yes, you'll want to check in more often, but team members are likely very busy during these phases. A good balance to strike is making these meetings flexible. Maybe they take place in a quick email or a five-minute chat at a desk. The important thing is making the most of the time available..
Get a feel for employee preferences
Trying to peg down check-in regularity in a diverse office environment will take some time. CPM is in essence a human-based approach to performance management, and central to that theme is personalizing efforts and outreach to each individual. This means that although having a fixed schedule of check-ins and reviews is important to first establish, there will be some requisite fine-tuning and tweaking that leaders will have to undertake.
Some employees may not need as many check-ins as others, perhaps quarterly instead of monthly. On the other end of the spectrum, some may request even greater frequency than what the company initially set out. Tailoring the experience of each employee will emerge after only numerous interactions, but it's an important metric to track from the beginning. Start with the default schedule, and then after a series of conversations, craft a more personalized path by aligning with stated or implied preferences.
It won't happen right away, but eventually organizations will find their sweet spot of check-in frequency. But before they set out on that endeavor, businesses need to make sure they have all the tools need support check-in scheduling, tracking and documenting. For more information on what CPM solutions companies should consider, contact BetterWorks today.