Current State

Brandon Hall Group research shows most employers understand that managers and employees need to connect more frequently and effectively to improve performance. Regularly scheduled check-ins have the potential to be a great vehicle for coaching, feedback and career conversations. But that’s not the current case. Four in 10 organizations say managers and their team members have check-ins quarterly or less. Fewer than one-quarter meet at least weekly, which should be closer to the norm.

When check-ins do occur, employee development sits toward the bottom of discussion frequency.

High Frequency of Discussion During Manager-Employee Check-ins*


Check-ins should an important part of employee development. They are a great way for managers and employees to collaborate and improve employee performance for the benefit of the employee and the organization. But competing priorities get in the way. Check-ins generally focus on short-term work priorities. Coaching, learning and goal-setting get scant attention compared with status reports of ongoing work.


An overreliance on performance to assess potential means organizations identify many people without high potential as high-potentials.

Top Priorities to Improve Performance Development

Critical Question

• How can we change manager behaviors at scale to develop a culture of coaching and continuous feedback?

• How can we enable managers and employees to collaborate better and more often on performance goals?

• How can technology help change the quality of check-ins?

Brandon Hall Group POV

Check-ins should be focused on employee development and held frequently enough so that there is an ongoing process of setting and revising goals, coaching, feedback and discussion of employees’ career aspirations. (We recommend at least biweekly.)

Technology can be a great enabler. Most goodHCM suites and performance-management point solutions include tools to help managers and employees connect virtually to address short-term work priorities, provide status updates and set workflows for the next several days or weeks.

If you can handle day-to-day work issues through technology, that clears time during check-in meetings for employee development. That does not mean current work priorities can’t be discussed, but they should not dominate.

Right now, according to Brandon Hall Group research:

  • 95% of organizations use check-ins to review current work
  • 72% use them to discuss upcoming priorities.
  • But only 40% use them to coach and provide learning opportunities or discuss performance goals
  • Only 9% of organizations report discussing career advancement even periodically during check-in meetings

Technology also can ensure managers and employees are on the same page before the check-in meetings. The best tools enable either manager or employee to suggest agenda items, pose questions or provide background information so valuable check-in time can be used for meaningful discussion.

Since this type of check-in culture is not the norm in most organizations, employers who are serious about employee development should provide managers and coaches with training and resources to optimize check-ins.

For example:

  • Provide coaching and feedback tips and checklists for managers.
  • Provide tips and checklists for employees on interacting effectively with managers when they provide feedback or ask questions to help employees learn.

To make check-ins work better to develop employees, managers must understand that their role goes far beyond getting work done. It should be focused as much as possible on developing employees’ potential so they can acquire the capabilities to do their jobs better and prepare for future roles to help the organization and advance their careers.


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Leading minds in HCM choose Brandon Hall Group to help them build future-proof employee-development plans for the new era. For more than 27 years, we have empowered, recognized and certified excellence in organizations around the world, influencing the development of over 10,000,000 associates and executives.