Check-in: expressing your mood before boarding a meeting

Written by Hugo Chatel, on 13 June 2018

No matter how much we tell employees to "leave their personal worries at the office door," a human being cannot completely avoid the effects of their personal life on their mood, energy, and concentration at work. Aware of this misalignment, Socialab aims to find a balance between acknowledging these effects and the demands of daily work.

Socialab is an incubator of social projects comprised of experts who have sometimes accepted salary reductions of up to 30% to join Socialab. This illustrates how much the entity is intended to be human-centered and to reflect its altruism in its own management methods. Their solution is simple: the check-in.

Before each meeting, the check-in takes place: each participant in the meeting takes a few moments to share how they are feeling. This practice occurs at least once a day (one does not conduct a check-in at every meeting if there are multiple meetings in a day).

This allows everyone to express themselves at the beginning of the meeting: thus, no one is "left out," and everyone is actively present. Therefore, everyone is not only aware of their own state of mind but also of that of the other participants.

This practice is found in sociocracy 3.0 under the name of the opening round. It is recommended to have a different person start this round each time to maintain equivalence.

This brings to mind another practice, which did not exist at Socialab but takes place in other organizations, the "check-out." In contrast to the check-in, this occurs at the end of the meeting. The check-out, or "closing round," still within sociocracy 3.0, consists of making a brief evaluation of the meeting that has just ended based on positive feedback and areas for improvement: "For next time, we should start by..., stop doing..., less of..., more of...". Occasionally, more time can be taken to ask all participants to express themselves: "I liked that..., I wish that..., What if next time...".

This practice stands the test of time: everyone is convinced of its beneficial contribution.