Why the Best Leaders Know that Frequency Matters

Published November 2, 2017

When it comes to having effective check-ins, does frequency matter?

Performance management experts have long been proponents of the weekly check-in, understanding that weekly check-ins decisively drive engagement and performance.

This observation leads to some interesting questions: Can you get the same effect with less attention? By checking in once a month? Or even once every six weeks?

Marcus Buckingham measured the level of engagement and performance in teams where managers did weekly check-ins and compared those metrics with teams where the managers did monthly check-ins. The results were conclusive. Frequency does matter.   

When managers took the time to schedule regular weekly check-ins, they saw an immediate increase in performance and engagement.

But if they reduced their check-in frequency to one per a month or less, they actually experienced a decrease in these key factors.


Human beings love attention. Attention makes people feel valued, stretched and recognized, and makes them more productive and engaged.

And people’s need for attention is, it seems, like a water bucket with a hole in it. The water needs to be replenished regularly, or the bucket will empty. All a check-in is, really, is a little bit of water added to the bucket.

But it makes all the difference.

About the Author(s)
Marcus Buckingham Is one of our incredible 2020 faculty members for the The Global Leadership.

Marcus Buckingham

Best-Selling Author; Global Researcher

The Marcus Buckingham Company

Marcus Buckingham is a global researcher, thought leader and leading expert on talent, focused on unlocking people's strengths, increasing their performance and pioneering the future of how people work. A former senior researcher at Gallup Organization, he now guides the vision of ADP Research Institute as Head of People + Performance. He is the author of nine books, including First Break All the Rules, and Now Discover Your Strengths, two of the best-selling business books of all time. His latest release—Nine Lies About Work: A Freethinking Leader’s Guide to the Real World —takes an in-depth look at the lies that pervade our workplaces and the core truths that will help us change it for the better.

Years at GLS 2004, 2007, 2017