The performance review/appraisal for reviewing staff is under scrutiny and in many instances has been replaced with check-ins.

The performance review/appraisal for reviewing staff has been under scrutiny and in many instances has been replaced with check-ins. Performance Reviews/Appraisals historically are a once a year formal meeting between a line manager and an employee. The meeting discusses everything that went well and what did not go so well. It is an account of the past year.

Some companies are now recognising this as historical data and are moving to a culture of continuous performance management with frequent, recorded check-ins. Check-ins represent conversations, held at regular intervals, where feedback and notes are taken to record progress and build a plan of action for the future.

Check-ins do not have to be a long drawn out or difficult process. They provide employees with the opportunity to constantly receive feedback and grow. They also allow line managers to become coaches for their staff

Check-ins can fall into two main broad categories, performance check-ins and development check-ins.

Performance Check-ins

Performance check-ins are conversations that focus on goals and specific projects, they allow the line manager to correct and point staff in the right direction. They also acknowledge successes quickly and near immediately

Development Check-ins

Development check-ins are conversations that focus on the needs of the employee, skills gaps, development needs and personal career goals.

Why Check-ins?

Check-ins are more than a quick chat; the two way conversation provides an opportunity to discuss performance and development.

They ensure that there are no surprises and frequent communication and recorded notes make the process of reviewing a more productive experience for both the line manager and member of staff.

They will help with engagement as staff feel more valued and in control of their development. They also allow line managers to develop low performers and create a plan of action to allow them to flourish.

Structure of Check-in Meetings

In order to make the process more productive, check-ins should follow a loose structure, an example is below:-

  1.  Before the meeting
  • Line managers and the member of staff should prepare, they are two way communication meetings and the process should reflect this.
  • Review the notes from previous meetings, if applicable
  • Review the progress of the goals set previously and progress of projects
  • Make time for the meeting and ensure it is not rushed
  1. During the meeting
  • Get the member of staff talking
  • Update on the goals, long and short term
  • Recent accomplishments need to be acknowledged
  • Discuss any training & development that has taken place and the progress
  • Career development, what is the aspiration
  • Plan for the next week/month/quarter
  1. During the meeting use open questions for example: –
  • Tell me about your week/month
  • Tell me about what you have been working on
  • Are you on track to meet deadlines?
  1. At the end of the meeting
  • Summarise the discussion
  • Ask the employee if there is anything missing
  1. After the meeting, confirm the following
  • Record key discussion points, actioned items or feedback – this can be on a simple form, outlining the goals/challenges, how these are going to be achieved, who is responsible or who can help and finally the estimated date of completion.

Benefits of Check-ins

This process will be more productive than the annual appraisal and should take less time.

Check-ins will help in retaining top performers and help to develop them further, while helping to correct and help lower performers. Multiple touch points will increase engagement and will reduce and quickly identify low performance and should reduce labour turnover.


If you would like to review your performance review/appraisal process or paperwork, considering the check-in process or reviewing your check-in process, please contact me for a non-obligatory informal discussion.

Any performance review process should be complemented in conjunction with a competency framework which should flow from your job descriptions and talent management process.

Again, if you would like a discussion on competency frameworks or talent management, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Further reading on this topic which I found useful although there is a host of information, can be found on Forbes and the Knowledge Leader.










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