Staying up to date with your team can be challenging and time consuming. Some employees might not want to share updates, while others may be hard to reach (especially if they are working remotely).
There is a lot that you can do as a leader to stay in the know without disrupting your employees’ work too much. After all, you don’t want your employees to get bogged down by reporting as that can distract them from focusing on the work that really matters.
This is why we’ve put together a list of the best methods to help you get an overview of what’s going on in your team.
Ways to get a quick status update
Have weekly 1-1 meetings.
Having short, weekly meetings with your staff makes sure can keep track of everything they are doing. Like all meetings, these meetings must be focused, follow a specific plan, and be a discussion. It’s not only for you to know what is going on but for you to give and get feedback on your employee’s work.
Use a weekly status update tool
Weekly meetings and all other activities can be more effective if you use a weekly reporting platform that lets you stay up to date with your team all the time. Weekdone utilizes the Plans, Progress, Problems (PPP) methodology so you can have a clear picture of your team’s activities.
PPP requires everyone to set 4 – 5 tasks (Plans) each week and move them into Progress as they are accomplished. It is a quick and easy way for employees to give live updates on their work. You can use Weekdone on a computer or mobile to see what your employees have accomplished with ease. You can also use these tasks as talking points for your weekly 1-1 meetings.
One paragraph summaries of the day
One thing that works well with employees who you want to check on more often, is letting them send you a daily update on all of their activities. Of course you don’t want your employees writing essays every day, but a short paragraph or some bullets sent to your inbox at the end of the day doesn’t take up too much time. For this method to work, they only need to list the specific tasks they accomplished or write about projects they spent their time on.
Weekly happiness reviews
A growing trend in workplaces is to use tools to measure employee job satisfaction. A lot of performance management apps offer a chance for employees to rate their mood, happiness, or stress levels. This is a good way to see the general mood in the office.
Informal, weekly lunches are a great way to learn what your employees are thinking.This is something that works best in small teams. The lunch doesn’t have to be about work. Rather, it’s a way to have some informal time, catch up on activities, and build report. Me and my managers, for instance, usually spend this time split between a quick rundown of what we have been up to before giving movie recommendations to each other.
Task list on the wall
This is something that is commonly used in Sales and IT, but the method can be used in most teams. For this, have all your employees put their tasks on a blackboard. This can give you an overview of what people are working on, without you having to leave your desk. When tasks get done, they should be removed from the public task list. This is basically an analog version of PPP status updates.
Informal downtime in the office
Informal communication is important. Every quarter you should organize team events where people can talk and do activities outside the constraints of work. These events are a great way to find out, what people are thinking, to share management’s vision or explain your own aims. Teams that share more experiences than just the ones in the office usually work better together. And building trust and relationships inside a team is a cornerstone to having a high-performing team.
Employee leaderboards are a great way to recognize your best employees and give credit where credit is due. However, this is something that you must be careful with. While competition and friendly rivalry among employees motivates some people, it can generate unwanted tensions in others. So use this technique cautiously.
Listening to your employees.
I left the most important one for last. Being a leader requires empathy and a willingness to listen to your people. If you are not open to receiving feedback, no method will help you understand what is going on and your team is doomed to fail. And being a good listener also makes your employees open up to you more. There are a lot of ways to become a better listener.
Find a weekly reporting system that works for your team.
No team should implement all of these hacks. Each person reacts differently to managers checking in on them. So, you have to find a system that works best for your team.