Best practices for using Updates as a manager
Updates help managers understand what their direct reports are working on and what issues are top-of-mind. They're also beneficial for keeping up to date with remote teams.
This article contains the following topics:
Turn on Updates
Managers must turn on Updates for their team before direct reports can begin to submit an update. If your company does not have Updates enabled yet, ask your HR admin if they can enable the feature. Learn more in Turn on Updates for your Team.
Customize questions and frequency
If manager override has been enabled by an admin, you can customize the Update questions and frequency for your team. Learn more in Customize Updates Settings for Your Team.
Recommendations for frequency
If you have selected a weekly cadence, it is recommended that the questions set are short and easy to answer. Writing updates should be simple for direct reports to ensure high completion rates.
- If you want to make updates more reflective, we suggest setting your cadence to Friday. That way, your team can reflect on everything they have accomplished over the week.
- If you want to make updates more directed on the week ahead, we suggest setting your weekly cadence to Monday. That way, your direct reports will focus more on what they want to work on for the coming week while still reflecting on the last week's Monday update to see what they couldn't accomplish.
If you want longer updates with an employee development focus, consider switching to a monthly cadence and scheduling follow-up meetings to review updates with employees.
Here are some examples of employee development questions that better fit in a monthly update:
- What accomplishment are you most proud of this past month?
- What has been going well for you in your career development?
- What is your manager doing well? Where can they improve?
Introduce Updates to your team
Meet with your team to explain the Updates tool and the benefits of writing updates. Weekly updates help keep you informed about what everyone is working on and allows your team to reflect on what they accomplished that week and what they plan to do next week.
Encourage public updates
Encourage everyone to write public updates regularly (or just department heads). You can then connect these to an org-wide Slack channel. Public updates keep track of what departments/individual employees are working towards.
Keep updates short
Employees should write updates quickly so it feels like a smooth process. Encourage employees to keep answers to one or two sentences and use bullet points. Employees should spend at most 15 minutes on an update.
Be careful if an employee starts writing long, detailed updates. Thank them for putting in the extra detail but encourage them to be more concise to keep them from burning out on the practice.
Provide guidance on early updates
Help your direct reports as they learn where to go in the tool to write an update. Additionally, provide your team with guidance on what kind of information you're looking for. When you first start, provide feedback on how you'd like them to structure answers and how much information to include.
Read, respond, and remind
Schedule time each week to review your team's updates. Write comments to offer guidance, address concerns, or congratulate them on their wins. Show employees that you are getting value from reading their updates. Learn more in Interact with Your Direct Reports' Updates.
The most effective managers recommend following up with employees that miss an update. If your direct report forgets to submit an update and you fail to remind them, that tells the employee that updates aren't important to you, and it becomes much easier to skip the next update.