Before we are employees, we are humans.

As a good leader, you should remember this even at the busiest of times.

Informal touch points can help to build and maintain relationships with your employees and can lead to better performance.

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What Is A Touch Point?

Touch points are moments when a leader checks in and has quality contact with employees.

You might think you check in with your team a lot, but are your check-ins effective?

Ask yourself:

  • Do you meet face-to-face (physically or virtually)?

  • Do you, as the leader, initiate them?

  • Is the employee contributing to the conversation?

  • Are you having meaningful interactions?

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In order to be effective, touch points must:

  • Be started by the leader

  • Involve face time

  • Have meaningful two-way communication

Quiz

Which of these is an example of an effective touch point?

Zoom call with cameras off

Asking about pets in the break room

Group message saying "Good morning"

Auto-generated performance reports

Touch Point Examples

Touch points are more than just small talk or performance reviews.

There are many ways to do touch points that are both task-related and non task-related.

Task-Related

  • Observe when employees do something worth acknowledging.

I noticed your solution to that problem you had. Very smart.

  • Asking how the day is going

How is the report coming along?

  • Meeting to discuss performance feedback and employees goals

You’re doing an excellent job. What kinds of things do you want to accomplish by the end of the year?

  • Giving informal feedback on the previous day’s performance

Hey, great job with that presentation yesterday.

Non Task-Related

  • Say “Good morning” or “Good night”

  • Asking for employee’s opinion on a work-related topic

    What do you think of the software we’re using for meetings?”

  • Following up with an employee on something

    You went to that training recently. What did you learn?

  • Brief social “water-cooler” conversation

    Did you ever get your sink fixed?

Types Of Employees

The type of touch points you should use depends on employees and their performance.

Developing

Generally, if an employee is new, developing new skills, or under-performing, you'll want to have more touch points related to coaching, checking their progress, and giving feedback.

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High Performing

If an employee is meeting or exceeding expectations, make fewer touch points about productivity, give compliments where needed, and ask more about their goals and opinions on business decisions.

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Of course, every employee will be different. If an employee does not need a lot of performance recognition, then make more non task-related touch points.

When in doubt, do more frequent touch points and ask employees individually if they prefer a different approach.

Have more frequent touch points straight after major changes or projects.

Quiz

How should you adjust your touch points if an under-performing employee improves?

Same amount, but more about performance

Make more touch points overall

Same amount, but less about performance

Make fewer touch points overall

Types Of Work And Leaders

Touch points will also depend on what type of work you do and what level of leader you are. Again, err on the side of too many touch points.

Flaticon IconMachine Paced Work ? If machines set the speed of work, then focus on non-task related touch points rather than productivity.

Flaticon IconPeople Paced Work ? Balance touch points that show concern for the employee as well as productivity.

Flaticon IconMiddle Management ? Acknowledge each employee each day in the work environment.

Flaticon IconFront Line Leaders ? Make 3-6 touch points with each employee each day (minimum).

Flaticon IconSenior Managers ? Get out and chat with the front line as often as you can.

Summary

Try out these techniques with your team.

Try out the touch points recommended for your work and management level for at least 2 weeks straight. Make it a task on your task list if you have to.

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Informal touch points might feel strange at first if you are not used to them, but be consistent! It can take time, so don't be put off and adjust if you need to based on employee feedback.

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This Byte has been authored by

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Tyler Whitaker

Forged by language, culture, and gaming.