HR Best Practices: Checking out KDL’s check-in process

Performance management systems can be uncomfortable for many people, creating anxiety for managers and their people. In this Library Leadership Podcast, Brian Mortimore, Director of Human Resources for Organizational Development at Kent District Library tells how the library’s approach fosters consistency while taking the edge off from performance reviews. In addition to the podcast, you may download a copy of the process document.

Brian credits the check-in process as a factor that helped the library to become recognized as one of the Best and Brightest Workplaces. The process translates to pretty much any type of organization, particularly where customer service drives the business

Instead of using a highly structured form, the check-in process involves quarterly conversations with a lot of careful listening on the part of the manager. This probably occurs more frequently, maybe even on a daily basis in some manager/employee relationships, but by recording notes on these quarterly check-ins, an objective record is created that can support a case for promoting the employee or managing a performance concern so that an employee can ultimately succeed in their role.

Too often, traditional performance reviews are a “check the boxes” routine, without discovery of anything new. KDL’s check-in conversations are based upon open-ended questions that create an opportunity for managers to learn and truly be a partner in the employment relationship. The performance management check-in process has been shared with and adopted by many libraries throughout Michigan and beyond.