Keep stress on the agenda, and speak to it every time, without fail.
Do not have it last on the agenda as it sends the signal that it is not really a priority, and it is easier for it to be skipped if time is short.
Agenda Item: Team Check-In
What to say
Close the loop on previously raised items
Where appropriate, update the team on any previous issues that have now been resolved. But keep it relevant. If it is only relevant to one person check-in with them individually, otherwise you risk boring the group reporting back on issues that are of no interest to them.
"Since the last time we met, we have now resolved [or are working towards resolving] the [insert issue] issue satisfactorily by doing [insert action taken]."
Shout-outs and thank yous
"Are there any shout-outs or thank yous that anyone would like to share this week?"
Issues and points of stress
"Are there things that aren't working, are causing stress or need to be fixed?"
You may need to kick off the discussion by sharing a shout-out and/or a stressor yourself
But be thoughtful about what you share – this is not a time for unfiltered personal disclosure – but it must be genuine with the aim of modelling behaviours to work through stress challenges productively.
You could say something like:
"I want to give a shout-out to [insert name] for helping me with the software update / being positive about the new process / helping out [insert name]."
"The other day I kept having syncing issues with my computer, it kept freezing. I was getting really pissed off. It's so frustrating as it only seems to happen to me when I am in a rush, and the boss is looking over my shoulder. Is anyone else having a similar issue?"
"Last week I hit a wall in the afternoon, I was knackered and just got off the phone with a difficult client. I just had to take myself outside for a walk to blow off some steam and recharge."
Or a direct prompt (less effective at getting workers to feel ok to share real issues):
"I heard that there has been an issue with [describe issue], is this working better now?"
Tips on how to have a good conversation
Encourage participation, understanding and sharing by having a go at the following tips.
Using non-verbal cues, eye contact, nodding, and open body language.
Reflect back and summarise what you have heard
"What I am hearing is that the [insert item] is faulty."
"Am I correct in understanding that the current project is more complicated than we first thought and we need more time to complete it?"
Asking open-ended questions
...to prompt further discussion and seek to fully understand the issue.
"Why is this?"
"How could we make this better?"
"What needs to change?"
Take note, act and report back
Keep a list of the issues raised, the good and the bad, as per the action register, and act on it.
If nothing changes, then you risk damaging worker trust – and this can have serious implications for worker performance in the long term .
Use the linked action register to record and manage matters raised.
Acknowledge the issue raised and its impact
...and show appreciation to the worker for raising the issue and sharing their insight.
"Thanks for sharing this with us. I have added it to the action register and will work with the impacted parties to find a solution."
Say thank you
Once everyone has had a chance to share, say thank you and remind them they can raise issues at any point.
"Thank you everyone for sharing today.
Remember you can raise things at any time confidentially with myself or [insert name] and [insert name] (provide two different contacts and methods of raising an issue)."
Make a commitment & keep wellbeing on the agenda
Use our guides to keep wellbeing on the agenda by laying the groundwork, talking about it, and using the action register to keep track of your actions towards creating a stress-free, safe and productive workplace.