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Using 15Five Check-ins for Personal Awareness and Reflection



15Five is a human-centered performance management platform designed to create effective managers, highly engaged employees, and top-performing organizations. At Isos Technology, we use 15Five for various things like Manager one-on-ones, weekly self check-ins, reviews, priority and objective tracking, peer recognition, feedback, and engagement surveys.

It could be easy to look at 15Five as just another HR-type tool that adds more tasks to your plate to complete. With this blog, I want to share some ways I utilize 15five so that I personally get the most out of the tooling with the hope that you can understand how 15Five can be an integral, beneficial, and enjoyable part of your days and weeks. If you're using 15Five and don't really give it much thought, then please keep reading! Maybe this blog will give you some new ways to approach your usage of this tool!

Before we begin – The basic idea behind my passion for 15Five is that I have always been big on ensuring I take time out of my days, weeks, and quarters to think about what is going well, what could have gone better, and how I am feeling. I want to discover how I can enjoy more of what I do, how I can feel most energized at work, how I can recognize others and shine some light on their day. I want to identify patterns, pain points, things I can professionally improve on. I want to be able to remember ideas to chat with my Manager on so I can get some valuable coaching. I want to track my goals, my priorities, things I want to improve on. 15Five makes all of these things easy to remember, track, and accomplish. So if self-awareness, self-reflection, and growth are important to you, then let's jump into it!

Note: I will be focusing solely on 15Five's Check-in feature in this blog. There is a ton more functionality in the 15Five tool in addition to this! I hope to write about these other aspects of 15Five in the future.


Pulse Scores

Not only can I identify patterns in how my team is feeling overall with pulse scores, but I can personally monitor how I have been feeling. This allows me to identify what happened or what was missing for me in the weeks where I had a lower than average pulse score. It also allows me to identify what made high pulse score weeks SO great. What this means is I can become aware of things that drain my energy and identify things that energize me. This is HUGE! What this awareness allows is for me to try to integrate more and more of the things that energize me into my weeks. It also allows me the opportunities to grow through the things that may drain my energy – how can I deal with these better? Is this a larger issue I need to address with someone else? Is this a recurring pattern I should seek coaching on? 

Suggestion: At the end of each week, utilize your 15Five Check-in's Pulse score to rate how your week went. Jot down a few notes on why your week was rated this way. Utilize 15Five reporting to check on your running average pulse score from time to time to identify any patterns. You will get to know yourself better through this method!



This allows me to really stay focused on my top priorities for the week. A lot of times I use this to represent larger chunks of vague work that isn't necessarily concretely represented by a ticket or similar. Things like "Make sure you take a break every 4 hours," "Take time to chat with coworkers," "Onboard the New Hire," "Write self-reviews," etc. These priorities can really be utilized in whatever way is most beneficial to you. I also like this because my manager gets to see what things are important for me each week outside of the normal day-to-day.

Suggestion: At the end of each week, review your schedule for the following week and utilize 15Five Check-in's Priorities to jot down your top focuses for the next week. What do you really want to accomplish outside of the normal week? Then when next week's Check-in comes up, it will have all those priorities you identified in a nice little checklist so that each time you view your 15Five Check-in, you can literally check in with how you are tracking and progressing on your priorities for the week.


High Fives

This allows me to really reflect on who I am grateful for each day. Often times I forget or I just don't remember to give the proper public recognition that most folks deserve. This allows me to regularly give this positive feedback in a very streamlined way. Our 15Five is also hooked into Slack so the entire company sees it and the person I am high-fiving also gets notified!

Suggestion: At the end of each day, reflect on who or what you are grateful for. High Five them in your 15Five Check-in! At the end of the week when you submit your Check-in, those folks will get the notification!


What Went Well?

This is one of the custom questions we added to everyone's 15Five Check-ins and I suggest your organization add in a similar question. I utilize this area to note every great thing that happened throughout the week, all my wins, and accomplishments. Its great to note things you struggled with and overcame, as well. This allows me to go back and view all my wins and how much I've grown. It also allows me to provide myself some appreciation and focus on the positives instead of just remembering the hardships or negatives of the week. This also gives my manager visibility into my workdays. This gives them a full picture of things I overcame or accomplished. 

Suggestion: At the end of each day, reflect on what went well, what you accomplished, and what you overcame. Document it!


What Could Have Gone Better?

This is another one of the custom questions we added to everyone's 15Five Check-ins and I suggest your organization add in a similar question. I think we word it slightly differently, but effectively this is asking about any pain points or blockers you currently have. What came up for you that made your week rough or is draining you? What do you need support or mentorship with? This allows you to personally track long-lasting issues, identify growth opportunities, or identify things that you really need to escalate. I also enjoy that this gives my manager visibility into things, including items I may not be 100% comfortable bringing up directly in person.

Suggestion: At the end of each day, reflect on what could have gone better, what is blocking you, what is draining you? What provided a big challenge? Document it!


Final Thoughts

15Five Check-ins are not as effective if you're just adding in a few minor last minute details at the end of the week. How much of your week do you really recall when you are about to head out for the weekend? How many people are you forgetting to thank? We all juggle a lot during our busy days and we can get carried away for months, if not years, heads down in the day-to-day. Remember to step back and take the few minutes each day to reflect on your day, praise yourself for what you accomplished, identify pain points so you can stay on top of them, give thanks to those who helped your day be better! With just 5 minutes a day, I am sure that 15Five will be worlds more useful for you in your self-awareness, self-reflection, and self-improvement journeys. So I guess the 15Five could be called the 5-5 (5 minutes a day, 5 days a week) (tongue) .

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