Checking In

How are you supporting your employees? Do you check in regularly with them one-on-one? Especially in these challenging times?

Below are 5 Steps to help you prepare and have a caring one-on-one with your people.

Before you meet, get familiar with all the resources available
to employees.

• This includes knowing if you have an EAP plan, being clear on the latest COVID policy, and being familiar with other benefits including employee resource groups.

Prime yourself with a compassionate and caring mindset
before the meeting.

• Before you meet, make sure you’re emotionally and mentally available to have a caring and authentic conversation. Emotions are contagious, so if you want someone to be open with you, they’ll need to feel that you are present and not judging them.
• Consider doing a loving kindness meditation.
• Take a few minutes to visualize a day in their life.

Once together, state your caring intention and ask them how
they’re really doing.

• Coming from a place of authentic concern, ask your employee: “I don’t know what it’s like for you now. How are you really doing?”
• If this feels awkward and you don’t have these types of conversations regularly, state that: “Look, normally we just focus on the project details, and you know I don’t go here. Honestly, it feels a bit awkward. But I just want you to know that I care about you and I
want to check in. I don’t know what it’s like for you and I want to know I’m here.”
• Assure them that their job is safe (if it is) and highlight what you appreciate about them. This will help them feel more comfortable opening up. Offer your support.

Offer your support.
• “I want to do this check in so you feel comfortable coming to me to express if you need extra support, if you need to shift responsibilities, or if you’ve been having a hard time with something but have been holding back. I just want to know I’m here and willing to work with you to make sure we all make it out of this pandemic sane and healthy.”
• Keep in mind, for a high achiever, your support may be to give them permission to say “no” to projects, to help them re-prioritize, or to help them better delegate.
• “You don’t have tell me now, but if there’s anything I can do as a leader to support you or the team, please let me know.”

Listen, acknowledge, and appreciate.
• If this turns into an emotional conversation or something personal gets shared that you feel unprepared to respond to, don’t feel the pressure to solve what you have no control over or that’s out of your domain. Just listening and validating their feelings is enough: “Wow, I had no idea that your husband was working such long hours and that all the homeschooling fell on your shoulders. I don’t know what that’s like personally,
but it must so hard. I can understand why you feel overwhelmed.”
• This may be a good time to remind your employee of the resources available to them.
• Ask them if they would like your support to make adjustments or if it’s just helpful for you to know where they’re coming from for now. “I can’t help you directly with things at home but I’m happy to talk about what adjustments we can make here if you would like that. You don’t have to answer now, but know I’m here and willing to help.“
• “Thank you for helping me understand what you’re going through. I know it’s not easy. What would be most helpful to you? We can schedule a follow-up to discuss what we can do in the short-term if you like. Or if you prefer to play it by ear, that’s fine with me, too.”

Adapted from Stella Grizont | WOOPAAH



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