Checking in

In my last post I said management by walking around has multiple benefits. One of those benefits is that it’s probably the best way to experience how your associates are performing. You can then praise or coach them in “real” time.

But there’s an important distinction in how to approach this task that I’d like to present. It’s the difference between checking “on” and checking “in” with your staff. 

I suggest checking “on” is based on an unstated belief that the person being monitored might have done something wrong — even unintentionally — that needs to be corrected. One checks on people to make sure they adhered to established standards and procedures, to verify that specific instructions have been precisely followed or requests have been fulfilled in an acceptable manner. The phrase “inspect what you expect” is used by managers accustomed to checking “on” their colleagues. 

On the other hand, checking “in” with an associate assumes no wrongdoing, but rather that you care about them and their work. Good morning!  How’s it going today? Is everything okay? Can I give you a hand? Is anything missing? Did you get that report you needed? How’s our guest that needed some TLC yesterday? These are the questions posed by a manager checking “in” with — not “on” — his or her associates.  

The answers you receive and observations you make still alert you to problems that need to be addressed, but your comments based on the checking-in style will more likely be perceived by associates as support for their efforts, not criticism. I think this is a healthier management approach that works to insure both guests and staff have a memorable experience at your hotel.

My guess is we’ve all used both approaches during our careers. What has been your experience?