Check-ins: Feature Overview

15Five's Check-ins feature is a powerful tool to facilitate highly effective conversations in your company. Utilizing Check-ins within your organization is an efficient way to support continuous growth, boost engagement, drive productivity, and motivate every team. Whether you're an executive, HR leader, manager, or employee seeking to enhance your performance management process, this article will equip you with the knowledge and strategies needed to unlock the full potential of Check-ins.

In this article, you will learn...

Access and availability

⛔️ Required access to Check-ins.
👥 This article is relevant to all roles.
📦 This feature is available in the Perform, Legacy Focus, and Total Platform pricing packages.

What are Check-ins?

Check-ins are a regular, lightweight practice that improves organizational health by replacing traditional status reports, email chains, and spreadsheets with a handful of questions that solicit feedback from employees and start vital conversations. Taking just 15 minutes for employees to fill out and five minutes for managers to review, Check-ins proactively uncover challenges, highlight wins, and automatically track your team’s progress toward important milestones.

How they work


  1. Fill out your check-in: Employees spend just 15 minutes each check-in period to share how they’re really doing with managers and work. During this process, people make updates and answer questions that uncover challenges, reveal wins, and track their progress toward individual and organizational goals. 
  2. Submit your check-in: Once employees answer the questions and provide feedback, they submit the check-in. This will send a notification to their manager to review responses and provide their own feedback.
  3. Managers review and respond: Managers take around 5 minutes to review the check-in. While reviewing their direct reports' check-ins, managers can like and comment on items, add items directly to their 1-on-1 agenda for further discussion, pass answers up to their managers for further visibility, or add items to the employee's Wins & Challenges, which they can use as a resource when completing manager reviews for their direct reports during Best-Self Review® cycles.
  4. Repeat the process: Employees continue to repeat this process for each check-in, providing regular updates and feedback to ensure effective communication and collaboration.

How Check-ins impact HR outcomes

Check-ins are a form of continuous performance management— an approach to employee appraisal and development where feedback, recognition, and discussions related to performance are ongoing and frequent, rather than being limited to traditional annual or semi-annual reviews. Embedding regular Check-ins in your work culture can have a major impact on 15Five's HR Outcomes: maximizing employee performance, increasing employee engagement, and decreasing regrettable turnover

Performance Engagement Turnover
  • Research shows that continuous performance management makes employees more competitive and engaged, enhances leadership development, supports higher transformational change, and contributes to higher levels of organizational performance.
  • Organizations that effectively practice performance management are 1.3x more likely to have higher employee productivity.
  • A study by Locke and Latham found that goal setting can improve performance by up to 25%. Regular check-ins help ensure that employees consistently update objective progress and set priorities, and that have the support they need to achieve them.

Other benefits

  • Create a culture of communication and collaboration: Check-ins provide regular opportunities for managers and employees to exchange feedback, align on goals, and discuss employee development. This fosters a culture of open communication, accountability, and teamwork— and makes sure that everyone’s on the same page.
  • Valuable insights: By collecting feedback and insights from employees on a regular basis, organizations can gain valuable insights into their culture, engagement, and overall performance. This can help to inform decision-making and drive continuous improvement.
  • Easy to use: 15Five's Check-ins feature is user-friendly and intuitive, making it easy for employees and managers to use. This helps to ensure high adoption rates and ensures that everyone can benefit from the insights and feedback gathered through the feature.

Key components

15Five's Check-ins feature is designed to help organizations stay connected with their employees and gather regular feedback on how they are doing, what their priorities are, and how they are feeling. Some of the specific functionalities are summarized below.


We included a Pulse question, "How did you feel at work since your last Check-in?", in 15Five because identifying feelings is helpful for managers and employees: both professionally and personally. Research shows it's important to become aware of when we're happy at work so we can clearly identify the type of work that makes us feel great— which is usually work that builds on our strengths. Conversely, it's important to be aware of times employees are less happy and identify the work and/or roadblocks employees are facing. This is why we begin every Check-in by assessing how people are feeling.


Objective updates

Long-term Objectives can be set and tracked in 15Five. Once Objectives are set, employees will update their progress in each check-in. This practice is intended to keep employees connected to their long-term priorities.


Priority tracking

Priorities are the most important tasks to be completed in the short term. These tasks can be linked with Objectives to create alignment between short- and long-term goals. In each check-in, employees have the option to mark a priority as complete, move it to the following week for completion, or leave it unchecked (to keep it incomplete and remove it from their Priorities). This section allows employees to set and track their priorities over time, providing visibility into progress and helping managers to identify areas where they can provide support.


Customizable questions

Questions are the heart of 15Five, and insightful feedback questions have a power all to their own. The right questions can spark innovation and direct attention to critical challenges so that managers can provide support. Users can choose from 15Five’s Question Bank, a library of pre-built questions, or create their own custom questions to ask in check-ins. This allows organizations to gather specific insights and feedback relevant to their needs.


High Fives

The power of peer recognition can’t be overstated. High Fives allow employees to provide instant peer recognition, improving team communication while boosting morale. Simply @mention a colleague and share why that person earned your praise.


Reporting and Analytics

15Five provides reporting and analytics capabilities to help managers and leaders understand trends and insights from the feedback gathered through Check-ins. This can help to identify areas of strength and improvement and inform decision-making at the organizational level.


Automated reminders

Slack and/or email reminders are sent out a day before and on the day a person’s check-in is due. (And if an employee forgets to submit their check-in, we’ll send them a reminder the day after it's due.) Once a person submits their check-in, their manager will be notified and then be able to respond to their feedback to keep them on top of their game!


Roles and visibility




Global viewer Global viewers have visibility into the Check-ins of everyone within our organization. This permission is typically reserved for HR teams and leaders, and can only be granted to an individual by an account admin reaching out to 15Five’s Support Team to request access.
Reporter (direct report) Direct reports are people who are asked to fill out a Check-in each Check-in period.
Reviewer (direct manager) Direct managers are expected to review Check-ins for their direct reports each Check-in period. They can also create Check-in questions for their team.
Group admin Group admins can create Check-in questions for members of their group.
Account admin Account admins can create Check-in questions for anyone in the organization.
CEO/top of hierarchy CEOs don't have managers in 15Five and, thus, are not required to submit Check-ins...but that doesn't mean they shouldn't! If you're at the top of your company's hierarchy and still want to submit a Check-in, check out our "Submit a Check-in without a manager" Help Center article.


Default visibility
Visibility is set according to the organizational hierarchy. Your direct manager and anyone above them in the hierarchy (that is, your manager's manager, their manager's manager, etc.) can view your Check-in.
Custom visibility options
Additionally, people can view your Check-ins for the following reasons:
  • Group visibility: You're both in a group that has group drill-down or group viewing enabled.
  • Follower permissions: They “follow” your Check-ins.
  • Global viewer permissions: The person is a global viewer, meaning they can see the Check-ins of everyone in your organization.


You can see who has visibility into your Check-in by going to the "Who can view my Check-in?" page in 15Five.

Use cases

15Five's Check-ins feature is a versatile tool with a range of use cases that can help your organization achieve its goals. Below are some of the most common use cases we see.

Remote Work
With the rise of remote work, Check-ins can be an effective way to maintain regular communication and provide feedback to remote employees, helping to keep them engaged and connected to the team and organization. Try adding remote-specific questions to employee Check-ins.
eBook 📘: The Great eBook of Remote Employee Questions
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
Check-in questions can be used to gather feedback and insights on diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) initiatives, identify areas for improvement, and take action to create a more inclusive workplace.


HR admins can filter the Submitted and Reviewed Check-in reports by demographic attributes.

Onboarding and Training
Check-ins can be used to facilitate the onboarding and training of new employees by enabling them to ask questions, receive feedback from their manager, and even set and track goals (using Priorities and OKRs). During onboarding, try utilizing onboarding-specific Check-in questions to measure new-hire progress and allow them to reflect on the onboarding process. This can help to ensure that employees feel supported and confident in their new position.


Shockingly, nearly 33% of new hires are already looking for a new job within their first six months, according to HBR — and that percentage is even higher among millennial workers. The relationship an employee has with their manager is one of the top drivers of employee engagement, so it’s critical that new employees get off on the right foot with their new manager. Check-ins help enable continuous communication between managers and employees and build strong manager/employee relationships.

Change Management
Check-in questions can be used to gather feedback and insights during times of change, such as mergers, acquisitions, or restructuring, to help managers understand how employees are coping and identify any issues that need to be addressed.


Use the Pulse Dashboard to keep an eye on changes in the company or team pulse scores during times of celebration or turmoil. Encourage leaders to reach out to individuals who may be struggling, or to celebrate with those who feel positive about the change.

Team Collaboration
Check-ins can facilitate communication and collaboration between team members, helping to align priorities, share feedback, and foster a positive team culture. Consider turning on Group View in your team's group settings to create full Check-in transparency for group members, allowing all members to see and interact with each other's Check-ins. Within your team, you can also create group Objectives and assign key results to stakeholders on the team. Objectives will appear on the Check-ins of anyone who owns the objective or an aligned key result, keeping team objectives top-of-mind and allowing stakeholders to make updates in every Check-in.


Use @ mentions in Check-ins to bring the right people into any conversation.

Leadership Development
Check-ins can be used as a tool for leadership development, providing a platform for senior leaders to provide coaching and support to green managers.


Check out the “Questions for Managers” and “Executive/Leadership Team” sections of 15Five’s Question Bank for science-backed questions that foster reflection, feedback, and cohesion amongst your leaders.

Performance Improvement
Check-ins can be used as a tool to support employees who may be struggling to meet performance expectations. By providing regular feedback, setting goals, and identifying areas for improvement, Check-ins can help employees to develop their skills and improve their performance.


Employees and managers can add items from a person’s Check-in to a private ‘Wins & challenges’ section of profiles, making it easy to recall successes and roadblocks when it comes time to fill out a review cycle or hold a meeting.

Best practices

Suggested cadence

15Five recommends that your organization’s Check-in frequency be set to weekly and due on Fridays (this is how it is set by default). This makes it easier for your employees to reflect back on the week and plan for the next week with more specificity and thoughtfulness. If you’re not frequently submitting Check-ins it can be difficult to remember how you felt, what you accomplished, what challenged you, etc so the more frequent the better!

Tips for using Check-ins effectively

Think of Check-ins as a weekly work journal
Use your Check-in as a weekly work journal, and keep up with it throughout the week. Updating as you go will help combat recency bias, make your Check-ins more thorough, and save you time come the due day.
Use Check-ins alongside 1-on-1s
While Check-ins can be compared to text messages— quick opportunities for employees to share information with their managers— 1-on-1s are like longer phone calls: a sacred time to catch up and have meaningful, more in-depth conversations. Utilizing both features alongside each other ensures that important topics are getting the attention they deserve. Employees and their managers can also easily add Check-in items as 1-on-1 talking points, ensuring that things that require further discussion are kept top-of-mind.
Make Check-ins mandatory, set clear expectations, and hold employees accountable

Leaders have the authority and influence to implement and enforce change across an organization. Their support and active participation signal the importance and urgency of the change, encouraging others to embrace it. That said, we've seen time and time again that the organizations that have the most success with rolling out and utilizing Check-ins are those that make Check-ins mandatory across the company.

From there, it's vital to clearly communicate to employees and managers your expectations for submitting and reviewing/interacting with Check-ins, respectively. How you position Check-ins and how leaders interact with employee's Check-ins sets the stage for success. Once you set expectations, use the Submitted Check-ins report and the Reviewed Check-ins report to ensure that teams are meeting expectations. You can easily send messages to employees from within either of these reporting options.

This said, we recognize that some roles may be busier with strategizing, client-facing meetings, quotas, et cetera, so we offer the option to change the frequency of Check-ins for an individual, group, or entire company. You can also adjust how often specific sections of the Check-in appear.

Keep questions fresh
The questions you ask in Check-ins should be fresh, specific, and rotating. No one wants to fill out the same survey every week, and failing to ask applicable questions to employees will inevitably lead to a drop in submissions. Consider using a rotating question queue to queue questions for specific individuals/groups or your entire company, and utilize our Question Bank to add science-backed questions to Check-ins.
Make sure you’re sticking to the “15-minute rule”
To drive adoption, Check-ins should be kept lightweight and only take up to 15 minutes to fill out. See what questions employees and groups are being asked in Check-ins.
Connect Your “Why” to Your Employee’s “Why“
Make sure your team understands why Check-ins are important to the business, as well as how they will directly benefit from utilizing Check-ins.
Encourage Open Communication
Psychological safety within an organization is imperative for employees to feel comfortable sharing their true thoughts and feedback. Ask open-ended questions and actively listen to and act on employee responses.
Blog 🕺: 6 Actionable Ways to Build Trust in the Workplace
Provide Actionable Feedback— and follow-up
Use Check-ins to provide specific, actionable feedback that employees can use to improve their performance. Focus on the positive aspects of their work, as well as areas where they can improve. Use Check-ins as an opportunity to follow up on previous feedback and track progress over time. This helps to ensure that employees are making progress toward their goals and that feedback is being acted upon. Learn about how to review a Check-in.
Blog 🕺: 9 Ways To Give Effective Employee Feedback
Use the 15Five app in Slack
The 15Five app in Slack allows employees to easily fill out their Check-in in their normal flow of work and receive Slack notifications reminding them of priorities and due dates. No more switching between apps!

Common pitfalls to avoid (and solutions!)

Employees don’t understand why submitting their Check-ins is important

Filling out Check-ins is important for employees because it provides an opportunity for them to communicate their progress, concerns, and ideas to their managers. It also helps them to receive feedback, align on goals, and identify opportunities for growth and development.

It's important for leaders so they can address issues that lead to decreased engagement, performance, or retention before it's too late. In addition, Check-ins provide an opportunity for leaders to maintain communication with their entire organization, source ideas from employees, and receive vital feedback.

Finally, Check-ins are the cornerstone of 15Five and interact in a big way with 15Five's other features, driving adoption of the platform and allowing your organization to recognize the biggest possible value of 15Five. Employees and managers can add items to their Wins and Challenges, which can be used when filling out reviews. They can update their progress on Objectives and use comments to voice roadblocks. They can add items to their 1-on-1 agendas.

Some managers and employees may view Check-ins as yet another task to complete and fail to see the value because they have never used it and the value hasn't been expressed to them. When rolling out Check-ins and setting expectations, make sure that you fully express why Check-ins are important and why you have chosen to utilize them as an organization.

Leadership isn't clear on why you’re utilizing Check-ins

The adoption of Check-ins can have a profound impact on your organization, but it has to be understood and adopted effectively. Find the sticking point within your company and express it to leaders and employees alike.

Filling out Check-ins is important for an organization as a whole because it provides insights into employee engagement, performance, and progress toward goals. This allows the organization to identify areas for improvement, take action to address issues, and ensure that everyone is aligned and working towards the same objectives. It also helps to create a culture of open communication, accountability, and collaboration, which can lead to improved employee performance, engagement, retention, and business outcomes.

Managers don’t review their team’s Check-ins. Or, they mark Check-ins as “reviewed” but don’t interact with them
When managers don't interact with their employee's submitted check-ins, it can create a sense of disengagement and frustration among employees, who may feel that their input is not valued or that their concerns are not being addressed. This can lead to low morale and decreased productivity. It can also erode trust between managers and employees, as employees may feel that their managers are not listening or are not committed to their growth and development. This can lead to a breakdown in communication and collaboration, which can hinder business success, resulting in decreased submissions and breaking employees’ trust in the process. Learn about how to effectively review a Check-in.
Managers don’t use Check-ins in conjunction with 1-on-1s
While a Check-in is like a text message, a 1-on-1 is a manager’s sacred time to meet and have meaningful conversations with their direct reports. Check-ins provide a regular opportunity for employees to share updates and ask for feedback, but they may not allow for deeper conversations or the exploration of more complex issues. 1-on-1s, on the other hand, allow for more in-depth conversations and relationship building. By using both processes together, managers can ensure that they have a comprehensive understanding of their employees' needs, challenges, and aspirations, and can develop more effective plans for employee growth and development. Learn how to add a Check-in item as a 1-on-1 talking point.
Managers don’t add Check-in questions for their direct reports
Managers can add individual or team-specific questions to their direct reports’ Check-ins. Neglecting to do so is a missed opportunity, as it may limit the usefulness of the check-in process. Generic check-in questions may not be relevant or specific enough to address the unique needs or challenges of individual employees or teams. This can lead to a lack of engagement and participation in the check-in process, as employees may feel that the questions are not relevant to their work. Additionally, without specific questions tailored to individual or team needs, managers may miss important information or opportunities to support employee growth and development.
People are being asked too many questions on their Check-ins
To drive adoption, Check-ins should be kept lightweight and only take up to 15 minutes to fill out. See what questions employees and groups are being asked in Check-ins.
Check-ins aren’t utilized by the entire organization

Check-ins are the MOST VITAL resource your leaders have for soliciting information and making data-driven decisions about your people and priorities, and getting updates on OKRs. No one should be "omitted" or excluded from doing these.

Leaders have the authority and influence to implement and enforce change across an organization. Their support and active participation signal the importance and urgency of the change, encouraging others to embrace it. That said, we've seen time and time again that the organizations that have the most success with rolling out and utilizing Check-ins are those that make Check-ins mandatory across the company.

From there, it's vital to clearly communicate to employees and managers your expectations for submitting and reviewing/interacting with Check-ins, respectively. How you position Check-ins and how leaders interact with employee's Check-ins sets the stage for success. Once you set expectations, use the Submitted Check-ins report and the Reviewed Check-ins report to ensure that teams are meeting expectations. You can easily send messages to employees from within either of these reporting options.

Additional resources

Help Center articles 💡
Watch and learn 🎥
eBooks 📖
  • The Great eBook of Employee Questions: In this eBook, you’ll find over 60 recommended Check-in questions, along with detailed information about why they are valuable and when they should be asked. We hope that by asking these powerful questions you will receive insightful answers to help you and your team gain a better understanding of yourselves, your culture, and the product or service you are bringing into the world.
  • The Guide to Balancing High Performance and High Care at Work: In this eBook, we share structures and supports you can put in place in your organization to achieve a balance of high care and high performance and support a team of humans that don’t just survive, but thrive.


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