November 10, 2018 Last updated March 11th, 2020 3,828 Reads share

Why You Need 3 Month Check-in’s with Employees Not Just Yearly

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Are you terrified of losing your highest value employees?

There’s no doubt you need to retain employees – but the job market is hot right now, and young employees have no loyalty!

The money will only go so far towards keeping people, and upstart companies need to find a balance of providing meaningful work to employees where they love their job, making it worth it with compensation, and perks for their best employees.

Yearly check-ins will leave you out of touch with what matters to them, and weekly check-ins might destroy your own personal productivity – enter the 3-month cyclical check-in.

  • 3-month cyclical check-ins are a solid natural cycle – they give time for the employee to evolve in between each check-in, but aren’t so infrequent as to lose touch with them
  • A 3-month cyclical check-in will give you confidence in what and how to provide for each employee – giving the right things for each particular employee to feel fulfilled since they all have different ‘work love languages’.
  • Do it now: Set up a recurring calendar invite for all of your employees on a 3-month cycle, based on when they started – ask them what their least favorite and most favorite aspects of their job are – and make an effort to support their actual needs based on responses in between the cyclical meetings.

3 Month Employee Check-in

Our story + why 3-month check-ins will help you retain your best employees

Our Minneapolis SEO Company, Hook Agency has been struggling to find amazing employees – without putting ourselves out of business with massive salaries. We’ve gone from 1 to 5 full-time employees (and 2 contractors,) and will likely add a seventh full-time employee by the end of the year mad dash

mad-dash to find structure along the way – I started listening to the audio-bo0k version of the book Traction by Gino Wickman, and found an incredible amount of value in his super practical way of creating systems and goals for teams to make sure everyone is pushing in the same direction.

What he asserts in the book is that every 3 months you should sit down with each employee – and listen to what they need and want, and keep a pulse on the life and emotional balance of the organization. This strategy, he asserts – will give you needed information on the conflict, and what the person is planning on doing to evolve their carer.

Perhaps if they aren’t planning enough – you can help them instigate things that will help them grow, and take initiative: the 3-month cycle is just a way to retain them by recognizing their needs, wants, and where they are at in there thinking. So I instituted this approach, and am finding it super useful – my main reason is because not every employee is ‘incentivized’ the same way – some people love unlimited snacks in the kitchen, some people need a 10k raise every year, and some people just want a seat at the table to make big decisions that change the course of the business. 


6 Work Love Languages


Each employee has different needs – a quarterly cycle keeps you updated on their current paint points and ‘work love languages’

I call the different way employees are incentivized ’employee love languages’ after the famous book – “The Five Love Languages.”

The book was originally written for couples, and it asserts that there are 5 categories of ‘languages’ your partner might need to feel loved – words of affirmation, acts of service, receiving gifts, quality time, and physical touch.

Applying this concept to the workplace – I believe employees also have love languages – we’ll call them the ‘6 Work Love Languages.’

  • Salary – This one speaks for itself, some people just want a higher salary next year.
  • Bonuses based on performance – This is a little different because some employees really like when their work is recognized.
  • Perks – Unlimited beer after 4, snacks in the kitchen, getting to take prospects out for lunch, a cool work field-trip on a summer day.
  • Recognition – At your all-hands-on-deck weekly meeting, are you sharing with the team something they’ve done regularly?
  • Meaningful work – Are you taking on clients who drain people’s energy because they are in an industry no-one feels good about? Do they get to work on a non-profit occasionally or something that is truly interesting to them?
  • Control: Getting to help steer the organization – Decisions can be made in a top-down way, or they can involve the people that will be carrying out along the way. The more you slow-down at appropriate times to get ‘buy in’ from your employees, the more they will feel ownership of the decisions made.

The key is – just because you keep raising someone’s salary doesn’t mean this is the ‘language’ they speak in.

You need to ask what gets them excited and actually communicate to them on that wave-length.

You need to find out what their Work Love Languages are and actually fulfill on those needs, not just a brute-force, unfeeling 2-5% raise every year. 

Set up a recurring calendar invite, and discuss what their least favorite and most favorite aspects of each part of their job are

It’s easy enough to get started on this – just set up cyclical calendar invites for each employee.

You might want to tell them what’s coming first, so they don’t all get that scary feeling inside when your boss makes a weird un-announced meeting with you.

The biggest thing is that in an ’employee’s job market’ – you have to be highly considerate to get the right kinds of employees:

  • Figure out what each employee actually wants with these 4 questions – “How do you want to be rewarded?” “How do you work best?” “What don’t you like about my management style?” and “What can I do to make your job easier?”
  • Make an effort to fulfill on those needs regularly, as part of your goals to be an amazing boss.
  • Getting a cyclical 3-month calendar invite to discuss their least favorite, and most favorite things about the job is a solid start to implementing this strategy.

If you’ve tried this strategy – how did it work out? Are you considering implementing this but have some objections? Lose a high-value employee recently?

Vent or share value in the comments below!

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