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Checking in on check-ins

Roly Walter
11th June 2019

Employees want regular check-ins with the line managers, 84% rate them as important

Our new research has revealed that employees really do value regular conversations with their line managers. 84% of respondents rated check-ins, also known as 1-2-1s, as important, with around a third viewing them as very important.

Focusing just on the responses from those aged 18 to 24, or Generation Z, there is a significant increase in these numbers. Nearly 90% rated them as important and 40% as very important.

These results send a clear message to organisations that employees want this regular contact with line managers and that check-ins are an essential element of a successful performance culture and employee well-being.

The frequency of check-ins varies wildly

The survey revealed that the regularity of the check-ins varies massively across the workforce. Some employers are clearly embracing the benefits of check-ins with 12% of employees saying they have them fortnightly and a further 33% reporting having them once a month. At the other end of the spectrum, 8% say that they have them less than every six months and a shockingly high 12% say that they never have them at all.

Check-ins are happening more frequently in larger organisations. 48% of employees working in companies with more than 1,000 employees are having them at least once a month, compared to 39% of employees working in businesses with less than 250 employees. In these smaller organisations, the number of employees never having check-ins increases to 17%.

Younger employees want more frequent check-ins

Just over 1 in 5 employees (22%) who responded to the survey were not happy with the regularity of their check-ins and would like to have them more frequently. This is figure is significantly higher for the younger members of the workforce, with a third of those aged 34 or under wanting to see their line managers more often. It seems that both generation Z and millennials expect far more interaction with their line manager. They are hungry for feedback to find out where they are performing well, and how they can improve and develop.

Where does this leave the annual appraisal?

“The report of my death was an exaggeration” This famous quote from Mark Twain could be used to describe the annual appraisal. Much has been written about its decline in the last few years, but according to this survey it’s still a reality for many employees. 36% of respondents said that they still have an annual appraisal. A further 4% said they have appraisals less often than once a year and 8% said they have never had an appraisal at their current employer. This means almost half of those surveyed are not have the opportunity to review objectives more regularly than on annual basis, if they are being set objectives at all. This situation means that many employees are likely to be working to irrelevant goals that are no longer useful or aligned to the overall strategy of the business.

Roly Walter, Founder of Appraisd, said “How and where employees work has changed massively over the past decade. Expectations have evolved too, and employees now expect far more interaction and involvement from their line managers. There may still be some merit in taking a step back once a year to reflect and look at the bigger picture but it’s certainly not enough in itself. Providing an opportunity just once a year to review objectives and development plans is simply not practical or effective. It’s great to see that a large number of employers have already adopted check-ins, but there are still many businesses that are not putting the needs of their employees first and creating a performance culture based on regular dialogue between managers and employees.

To find out more about what employees want from check-ins, take a look at the full report Checking in on check-ins