As millions of people are working from home or in a hybrid environment, it can be difficult for facilitators and team leaders to connect with the team. The team members may also find it challenging to articulate their viewpoints or concerns. So, check-in questions are practical tools for engaging the team and giving everyone a chance to be understood.
Research indicates that companies with engaged employees witnessed increased revenue generation as compared to organizations having workers with low engagement levels. When done right, the check-in questions are a key to fostering healthy work relationships as teams connect across different locations and screens.
Check-in questions are powerful communication tools that help you connect with the team and get helpful feedback. They allow you to gauge team morale, the challenges they face, and the possible solutions.
Check-ins also help you recognize when you are on track with the plans and feel the joy of progressing toward your goal.
Also known as a scrum or a huddle, daily stand-up meetings are usually held in the mornings and are a great way to set the context for the day. They help you know the progress of every team member and provide the necessary information required for coordination.
Here are check-in questions for meetings that provide an understanding of what work has been accomplished and what is to be done.
What did you work on yesterday?
What are your goals for today?
How do you plan to achieve your goals?
Is there anything that is blocking your way?
Do you have all the resources for today’s tasks?
As more people are working from the comfort of their homes, regular team check-ins are becoming the norm. Weekly check-in meetings help you touch base with the team and provide an opportunity to celebrate wins and get updates on team members' progress.
Here are some check-in questions to support your team and get helpful feedback.
How is your work-life balance?
What are your priorities this week?
Is there additional training or mentoring to help you accomplish your current goals?
What is something that you are proud of this week?
What did you do this weekend?
What are you looking forward to working on next week?
Do you have any suggestions for improving productivity?
Have you been inspired by something or someone lately, and why?
Is there anything you would like to change about your current role and why?
Are there any tasks you have been procrastinating on for the past few weeks?
Project check-in meetings are essential in updating the progress of current projects and identifying the potential issues that need attention. There are many such meetings throughout the project to keep the momentum going. Here are some questions that will make your project check-in meetings effective.
What has been completed so far?
What are the things we are still working on?
How are you managing the workload?
Do you foresee any problems in producing your deliverables?
Is everything going on as planned, or are we behind schedule?
If we are behind schedule, have we taken any measures to speed up the deliverables?
What is planned for the next days or weeks?
How will you measure the success of your tasks in the project?
One of the quickest ways to know people in a group is to use questions that prompt them to tell their stories. So, icebreaker questions are a great way to engage teams and start a conversation to know everyone better.
Apart from building personal context, team ice breaker questions should be inclusive and fun; after all, no one looks forward to a boring meeting. Ask these questions to spark interesting conversation and know more about the team members.
What did you do this weekend?
What are the best and the worst parts of working virtually?
Which book, podcast or movie do you like the most and why?
If you had to eat only one meal all your life, what would it be?
If you could have coffee with a celebrity, whom would you choose and why?
Which pet did you have or wanted to have as a child?
What is the best piece of advice you have ever received?
What three things would you take if you were stranded alone on an island?
What is the most used emoji on your phone?
What do you want to be remembered for after you die?
Is there any favorite item that you have purchased this year?
Which new skill would you like to learn?
If you were to write a book, what genre would you pick?
If you had to sing karaoke, which song would you choose?
Investing in work relationships requires many things, but the most important is to give dedicated time to a team member, and that too without any outside influence. One-on-One meetings are an opportunity to talk to a teammate about their strengths and challenges. These meetings should be scheduled regularly, preferably weekly or bi-weekly.
The most common and beneficial discussion revolves around the nitty-gritty of work. You can talk about the current projects and how they are going. The following questions can help you open up the line of conversation with your teammate:
How is it going and what exciting thing has happened since we last met?
Is there anything that you would like to talk about?
What are the things that worked well for you this week?
What is the one thing we should start or stop doing as a team?
How can we support your career goals?
Are you getting enough feedback?
How well do you take constructive feedback?
What do you think about the frequency of these meetings?
Team building questions help you strengthen relationships with the team so that everyone works together to achieve a common goal. Effective team-building strategies result in a more engaged and productive team geared for success.
“Teamwork is the ability to work together toward a common vision. The ability to direct individual accomplishments toward organizational objectives. It is the fuel that allows common people to attain uncommon results.” -Andrew Carnegie.
It is interesting to know that simple questions for team building can create excellent team bonding moments. Here are some questions that will help you connect and build relationships within the team.
Who deserves a shoutout, and what did the person do?
Have you ever worked on something that you struggled with, and how did you manage?
According to you, which technology has the power to transform the future?
What would you like to do if you got a free hour each day?
Do you have a best friend in the office, and what attribute do you admire in the person?
Which skill of yours do you feel needs to be utilized more?
What characteristics in your work environment will make you feel more engaged?
Check-ins have become a regular practice at the start of a meeting and create a space where even the most introverted team members can easily communicate. They promote an ongoing feedback culture within the organization and keep communication lines open among team members.
An effective check-in meeting is one where people can share how they feel and whatever is at the top of their minds, whether related to work. It goes a long way in building trust within the team so that people feel comfortable connecting and working productively.
Here are some tips that will help you make the most out of check-ins:
Many organizations realize the importance of understanding your teammate's emotions to keep them motivated. Creating an emotional culture where you take the time to learn how each team member feels improves overall productivity.
You can open the meeting by asking your colleagues what they enjoy about working in the team, what keeps them motivated, and what they dislike in the current working environment. Getting a head’s up on people’s outlook toward their jobs and satisfaction levels helps create a culture where they can thrive.
To keep the meeting focused, the participants should get an outline of the plan beforehand. Agile meeting templates help teams stick to the crucial points of discussion.
Moreover, everyone gets the time to think about the discussion topics, which helps them prepare the required materials. They can also come equipped with relevant questions.
If they don’t have prior intimation, people miss out on the essential things they want to say. So, giving them the necessary prep time is a good practice.
Apart from discussing the tasks at hand, you can also use check-ins to bring up the problems people face. It is okay if you do not have a quick-fix solution to their blockers. A separate brainstorming session can be scheduled, as the idea is to keep the check-in meetings short and structured.
Check-in meetings start with a personal check-in with each member, followed by a discussion about the main topics. It is impossible to discuss each item on your agenda. You need time to answer questions, give approvals and listen to feedback. It is essential to remember that you cannot prepare everything in advance.
You can utilize your time efficiently by taking a call on what is essential and what’s not. For instance, the team can provide regular email updates if they don’t have any questions or concerns, saving time for other crucial topics on the agenda list.
Your check-in questions should spark a conversation and be specific so that your team members have clarity on what is being asked. For instance, rather than asking them how a project is going, it is better to ask something that digs deeper. So, you can ask them to mention what is on track or the challenges they are facing.
When brainstorming for a solution, you can ask them to list the options they can think about. Also, getting creative with your check-in questions is the key to a productive meeting. Ask your team members how they would approach a problem if they were in your shoes.
Meeting notes are an essential resource for teams and help them share information on action items and disseminate information within the organization. Moreover, if any team members miss the meeting, they can always get the updates through these notes.
Airgram offers a live transcription feature to jot down notes and create action items using videoconferencing tools such as Google Meet and Zoom. We focus on making your meetings fun and engaging by ensuring that you don’t miss out on the critical points during the discussion.
The check-ins should ensure that people are on the same page regarding action items. By the end of the meeting, everyone should be aware of the tasks at hand and who is responsible for them. Having a clear takeaway is beneficial in tracking the performance of the team members as they are aware of the goals to be accomplished.
After the meeting, you should shoot a recap email to reiterate the takeaways and the critical points discussed in the check-in.
Check-in meetings are brief and focused. Although it may be tempting to ask more questions and provide in-depth feedback, it is best to stick to the schedule and keep it specific.
If items require brainstorming, it is always good to schedule a separate meeting. Similarly, if a teammate has specific questions that may not be relevant to the entire team, you should use one-on-one checking to discuss such topics.
A check-in is an excellent opportunity to touch base with the team members and focus on day-to-day needs and progress. Frequent check-ins are great for getting the team's pulse and ensuring that the work is aligned with the team's goals.