I was recently in a meeting where an employee who had been with us for a month was asked to share some of the positive things and challenges that she found here when she started. Her first comment surprised me.

She said, “One of the best things that happened to me on my first day was that my supervisor sat me down and said, ‘I’m going to tell you why I hired you.’” Having been that supervisor, I was a little surprised that that conversation had been so significant.

She followed up her comment by talking about how encouraging and empowering that meeting was. There had been another strong candidate for that role but I picked her. I was able to talk about some things from our interviews and her experience that made her rise to the top. In doing so, I was able to affirm her and express my confidence that I had made the right decision.

I also talked about my expectations. And I was not just going through the job description. I talked about what kind of person I expected her to be in our relationship and in her role. I talked about honesty and openness and willingness to deal with conflict. I emphasized the need for her to work independently and figure things out but to also have the discernment to know when I should be brought into the discussion. I told her that part of why I hired her was that I believed she would be characterized by those things.

Though it is still early on, I’m certain I did make the right choice. This employee is doing all those things I had hoped for. Is it because of that first day conversation I had with her? No, it is because she is a person of strong character, considerable skills, and excellent work ethic. Nevertheless, the conversation was important – more important than I realized. She was affirmed. She was encouraged. She was challenged to be both a good worker and a good coworker.

When you bring a new employee onto your team, tell them why you chose them. Encourage them by affirming the things you saw in them in the application process and challenge them to be the teammate that will make both their job and your team better.