Frequent Check-ins: Rethinking Performance Reviews

It’s no secret that employees and employers alike have reservations about annual performance reviews. Some employees view them as a waste of time and many employers find it difficult to argue against that. According to management research firm CEB, 42 percent of employees consider annual reviews ineffective, mainly due to the feedback coming at the end of the year when it has almost no relevance. What’s more, 95 percent of managers are dissatisfied with their company’s performance review process, too, according to the same study.

How Reviews Have Evolved

The shift from praising annual reviews to loathing them has ebbed into the HR realm gradually over the last couple of decades. Modern performance reviews are largely based on the merit system used by the military in World War I—a system that has not grown adequately to suit the needs of today’s corporate structures. The original idea was that workers were so plentiful that poor performers needed to be identified from efficient workers so the former could be replaced and the latter promoted.
This mentality is slowly dying as the labor market tightens up. Employers are now more concerned with coaching poor performers instead of replacing them immediately. Annual reviews are less effective in this regard, since their primary purpose is to hold employees up to a (typically) quantitative standard, not to assess granular performance and insert coaching opportunities. That’s where frequent check-ins come in.

What is a Frequent Check-in?

Think of frequent check-ins as microscopic evaluations. In this process, managers evaluate employee performance periodically throughout the year, not just at its end. Managers are checking in on employee performance as it happens, not giving a rating months later.

Employees can, and should, still set attainable goals for themselves each year related to their performance, but examining that growth annually may do them a disservice. Frequent check-ins (think monthly or biweekly) allow employers the chance to nip any emerging issues in the bud and lets employees receive that coaching when it’s actually relevant. Moreover, checking in with an employee more frequently can build a lasting rapport with the company and strengthen company culture.

How Can I Implement This?

Since frequent check-ins are essentially periodic meetings tailored to employee performance, implementation is minimal. To get started, employees should first develop a goal for themselves for the year. It could be related to performance or some other aspect that’s important to your company, like growing a particular skill. Next, managers should schedule individual meetings at set intervals throughout the year to check in on the progress of the goals. The meetings are also an opportunity for employees to receive feedback in any areas where they’ve fallen short, like not achieving a goal milestone on time.


Frequent check-ins might not be the best option for your business, but having even a few meetings before an annual review could improve employee growth and rapport. These check-ins, which are often paired with a final annual review, show employees that you care enough about their development to give them time to discuss it throughout the year.

On average, you spend around 260 days at work each year. As an employee, wouldn’t you want your manager to take an interest in your development more than just once a year?

Reach out to your Warren G. Bender Co. representative to request a full version of our toolkit on performance reviews.

Filed under: HR — Jillian Bender-Cormier @ 4:24 pm October 12, 2018

The WGBCO HR Hotline

WGBCO HR Services are Just a Phone Call Away!

WGBCO is proud to introduce a new HR service to our valued clients: the HR Hotline. The HR Hotline is ready to assist your business by delivering timely, practical advice and sound answers to your specific HR and employment-related questions. Simply call our toll-free hotline number or submit your question by email and one of our experienced, certified HR consultants will provide you with step-by-step guidance to resolve your situation in a lawful, yet sensitive, manner.

An Experienced Team of Certified HR Consultants On-call

The WGBCO HR Hotline, powered by the California Employer’s Association, is your resource where HR consultants answer questions related to a broad range of HR topics, including (but not limited to):
• Employee Relations/Employee Behavioral Issues
• Harassment and Discrimination Allegations
• Discipline and Terminations
• COBRA Compliance
• Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)
• Wage and Hour Issues
• Employee Benefits
• Leaves of Absence
• Performance Management

Get Started Today!

The HR Hotline helps you address employment issues before they become expensive problems. You’ll feel confident and secure knowing that HR support is there when you need it the most.

8:00 AM – 5:00 PM

Please identify yourself as a client of Warren G. Bender Co. when calling.

Filed under: HR — Jillian Bender-Cormier @ 5:46 pm September 22, 2017

WGBCO Assistance with Workplace Posters

Warren G. Bender Co. is proud to be a resource for our commercial client’s HR needs. Part of that is providing CA workplace posters, for which we start collecting orders in late August (1st poster is free and each subsequent English poster is at a reduced rate of $15).

The media has been buzzing about minimum wage law changes effective 7/1/17, with some HR vendors pushing for “total poster replacement.” The good news is that you don’t need to purchase a new/updated 2017 poster. In fact, most of our clients don’t need to make any changes at all.

Affected clients are those that have employees in Santa Monica, San Francisco, LA City and County and Emeryville ( Those employers are required (as of 7/1/17) to post the new wage orders next to the existing workplace posters. You can find all of the wage orders on the DIR website ( and of course you can always call our HR hotline for more details.

Filed under: HR — Jillian Bender-Cormier @ 4:41 pm June 28, 2017

New Year, New Labor Law: Take Advantage of WGBCO’s HR Services

With each coming year, new regulations and laws are passed; making it almost impossible to stay informed on the ever-changing world of HR. In the beginning of 2016, we decided to offer an exclusive HR service menu to our clients: HR Hotline and HR360

Through the HR Hotline, powered by the California Employers Association, consultants answer questions related to a broad range of topics, including:
•Employee Relations/Employee Behavioral Issues
•Harassment and Discrimination Allegations
•Discipline and Terminations
•COBRA Compliance
•Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)
•Wage and Hour Issues
•Employee Benefits
•Leaves of Absence
•Performance Management

We also offer HR360, an HR library and attorney-reviewed source for HR news, tools, forms and training.
Use HR360 for:
•Latest Health Care Reform tools and guidelines
•How to interview, hire and terminate employees
•How to do performance reviews at every level
•Interactive Tools including:
-Job Description Builder
-Salary Benchmarking Tool
-Employee Cost Calculator
•Hundreds of Downloadable Forms and Policies
•Customizable Employee Handbook
•State and federal compliance information
•State labor laws guidance
…and more!

Offering these services to you, our valued clients, is something we take pride in. Advancing beyond the realm of insurance and helping you navigate all risks associated with running a business.

To get started on utilizing these tools, contact WGBCO’s Benefits Service Manager, Erin Ocheltree: or (916) 380-5325

Filed under: HR — Jillian Bender-Cormier @ 2:55 pm December 22, 2016

Announcing New HR Services at Warren G. Bender Co.

As your partner in risk management, we at Warren G. Bender Co. are constantly evaluating different resources to best serve our clients. Eight years ago, we improved our Employee Benefits department to help our clients navigate the impending health care reform changes. Five years ago, we brought Alternative Risk Financing (including Captives and Self-Funding) to our clients both in Property and Casualty and Group Benefits, giving them the option to take control of their insurance program financing. Through additional risk gap analyses with our clients, we realized Human Resource (Risk Management) was categorically and universally, a logical next step for WGBCO in serving the needs of our clients.

Employer advocacy and protection has been our focus ever since the days of Warren G. Bender Insurance Agency. When employment rights legislation (and litigation) was in the early stages of its rapid growth, it was a difficult reality for our clients. We recognize that California is a progressive, high-tax, high litigation state to do business in, but it is also hands-down a wonderful state to live in, and we are committed to supporting our fine, local and regional clients, business owner-employers, as they attempt to understand and work with our ever-changing regulation.

Starting in February 2016, we will be proudly running a pilot HR Hotline that will be powered by WGBCO’s longtime strategic partner, the California Employer’s Association (founded in 1937). The CEA has been putting on valuable, timely seminars at our popular “Bender U” classes for years, and now we are taking our relationship to the next level for the benefit of our clients. I will be contacting a grouping of clients over the next week to get them setup with the HR Hotline information. After this 2016 pilot year, we will be able to determine any possible changes or additions to our HR program, and how to offer it to our entire commercial client base.

As a 3rd generation family business, we honor our traditions, and still understand the need to evolve along with our client’s needs. Please let us know if there are any services that you would like to see in the future or if you would like to review our already expansive service offerings. Thank you for your business and the opportunity to serve.

Maggie Bender-Johnson, CIC, MLIS
VP of Operations, Partner
Warren G. Bender Co.

Filed under: HR — Jillian Bender-Cormier @ 11:29 pm February 17, 2016