Check Sheet – Why Use a Check Sheet?

Check sheets (or tally sheets) are one of the seven management tools that organizations use to gather information to help monitor and improve quality. The beauty of using a check sheet is that it provides data (facts) about how a process is working and offers information about improvement opportunities. The check sheet collects data for the number of times an event occurs. By tracking the frequency of an occurrence, an organization can learn about a process.

Check sheets should be designed to collect information that is needed to assess a process or system. The data collected gives a quick glance at problems with the number of occurrences in a designated period of time.

Check sheets work best when a person can observe and document the number of times an incident occurs.

When deciding whether or not to use a check sheet:

  • Determine what process needs to be observed.
  • Determine the kind of information that needs to be collected.
  • Determine the period of time the data will be collected (days/weeks).
  • Designate a person or persons who have responsibility for collecting the data.
  • Make sure there is a good understanding of what information needs to be collected and the process for collecting it.
  • It is always wise to do a daily check on the collections to make sure employees are being diligent with collecting the information.

The following example shows what a check sheet looks like. In this example, the human resource generalist is tracking the kinds of phone calls she receives regarding benefits and payroll. You can see by the information gathered on this check sheet that this person got the most number of phone calls on Tuesday and most of the questions were about the paid time off benefit. This information is important in that it shows the busiest day of the week for answering questions but it also shows that there are a lot of questions about PTO.

The next drill down on this would be to have the generalist collect data on what kinds of questions are being asked.  This information can then be used to develop a FAQ list, updating the employee manual and/or additional benefit training.

This is a simplified example of a tool that can be used to identify all kinds of improvement opportunities.

Writer Bio: Kathy Clark is an MBA who is passionate about helping small business owners see their vision come to life by creating corporate infrastructures that support business development and growth through strategic customer focus. She writes for, and is the founder of