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Performance at IU enters second phase with ‘check-in conversations’

The Performance at IU: A culture of conversations program is entering the second phase for its participants by introducing check-in conversations.

This uniform performance management process  for staff employees was born out of the university-wide results of the last My Voice at IU Staff Engagement Survey and started with expectation conversations.

“Setting expectations is foundational to the success of our staff at IU,” said Todd Richardson, chief human resources officer and vice president for human resources. “IU Human Resources is proud to report that 97 percent of the participants completed an expectation conversation with their leader, and 98 percent of those people report that they know or somewhat know what is expected of them. More than 5,000 staff employees have a foundational understanding of the expectations of them and what it takes to be successful in their role at IU.”

The program continues for the inaugural group of staff participants, and more staff will adopt the program in 2024. Following the program’s initial success, the second conversation tool — the check-in conversation — is being introduced now.

About the conversations

Check-in conversations are regular, recurring conversations between staff members and their leaders. As the name suggests, these conversations allow for frequent, two-way conversations about progress toward goals, revisiting expectations and realigning goals as needed.

The IUHR Talent and Organization Development team — experts in engagement and growth driving Performance at IU — said these conversations are a vital tool in building trust and relationships between leaders and employees. It’s the ideal space to listen and allow time to share ideas, frustrations, concerns and advice.

There is no attestation or deadline for this conversation, but IUHR recommends that leaders schedule recurring 10- to 30-minute check-in conversations with their employees at least once a month. The frequency of check-in conversations will vary depending on the employee’s role.

Support tools and training

As with the first conversation tool, IUHR has created guides and offers training on how to put this tool into action. Two conversation tools (IU Login required) are provided to support recurring check-in conversations: a “30:30” tool that guides a leader and employee in a 30-minute check-in conversation every 30 days, and a more straightforward tool based on “four simple actions” for leaders and staff to follow. Teams can use the tool(s) that best suits their needs.

IUHR’s Talent and Organization Development team is hosting educational webinars to help leaders and staff adopt this new tool. Live sessions begin May 23, with recordings available once live sessions have ended.

One-hour sessions are tailored for leaders and for staff, with a more robust two-hour interactive session open to both leaders and staff. You can see available training and register on the IUHR website (IU Login required).

Why check-in conversations matter

Check-in conversations allow leaders to intentionally focus on two critical areas of employee engagement, as measured by two of the questions in the My Voice at IU Survey: receiving recognition (Gallup question 4) and discussing progress (Gallup question 11).

According to Gallup, which is IU’s engagement survey partner:

  • Sixty-five percent of Americans received no recognition in the workplace last year.
  • Employees not adequately recognized at work are three times more likely to say they’ll quit in the next year.
  • Employees who receive daily feedback from their manager are three times more likely to be engaged than those who receive feedback once a year or less.

Gallup also said that when leaders regularly check in on employees, their employees are:

  • More likely to stay with the company.
  • Less likely to have accidents.
  • More than twice as likely to recommend the company to others as a great place to work.

“IU is grateful to the participating staff and leaders for their ground-level work in constructing a culture at IU where frequent, two-way conversations are the norm, not an exception,” Richardson said. “Our staff is leading the way in building a culture of conversations that will support their success and, in turn, make IU a more engaging workplace.”

What’s next

Leaders and staff should watch their email for messages from IUHR sharing expectations, goals and reminders alongside available training, guidance and support. HR professionals representing the participating units can also assist staff and leaders.