Why the Best Leaders Know that Frequency Matters

Published November 2, 2017

When it comes to having effective check-ins, does frequency matter?

Performance management experts have long been proponents of the weekly check-in, understanding that weekly check-ins decisively drive engagement and performance.

This observation leads to some interesting questions: Can you get the same effect with less attention? By checking in once a month? Or even once every six weeks?

Marcus Buckingham measured the level of engagement and performance in teams where managers did weekly check-ins and compared those metrics with teams where the managers did monthly check-ins. The results were conclusive. Frequency does matter.   

When managers took the time to schedule regular weekly check-ins, they saw an immediate increase in performance and engagement.

But if they reduced their check-in frequency to one per a month or less, they actually experienced a decrease in these key factors.

Why?

Human beings love attention. Attention makes people feel valued, stretched and recognized, and makes them more productive and engaged.

And people’s need for attention is, it seems, like a water bucket with a hole in it. The water needs to be replenished regularly, or the bucket will empty. All a check-in is, really, is a little bit of water added to the bucket.

But it makes all the difference.

About the Author
Marcus Buckingham

Marcus Buckingham

Best-selling Author; Founder

The Marcus Buckingham Company

Marcus Buckingham is a global researcher and thought leader focused on unlocking people's strengths, increasing their performance, and pioneering the future of how people work. He is head of all people and performance research at the ADP Research Institute and the author of several bestselling books, including StandOut 2.0: Assess Your Strengths, Find Your Edge, Win at Work (Harvard Business Review Press).

Years at GLS 2004, 2007, 2017

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