It seems like such a simple question. Do you know why the organization hired you?
One of my former bosses took me out to lunch one day to tell me why she hired me. She said, “Because you didn’t come from the industry.” She wanted an outsider who would ask questions and challenge the status quo. She felt that was what the company needed.
If organizations want employees to be engaged and successful in their roles, they have to tell them why they were hired. Not what they were hired to do. But why them over anyone else. The new employee’s hiring manager needs to have an intentional, planned conversation with an employee that explains:
- The prior experience that made the candidate’s resume stand out.
- The knowledge, skills, and abilities that the company found impressive.
- The things the candidate said during the interview process that set them apart from everyone else.
This is part of setting a new hire up for success. New employees know what the organization saw in them and their background. They know what the organization responded well to during the interview. Not only does this give the candidate confidence, but it also tells them something about how to communicate within the organization. It tells them which of their strengths to leverage.
Now this shouldn’t be a one-sided conversation. The employee should communicate why they accepted the offer. When the hiring manager schedules this one-on-one session with the employee, let them know that this is information the organization would like to learn.
- What was it about the company that made the candidate apply?
- What things were said during the interview process that really impressed the candidate?
- What aspects of company culture really stood out during the hiring process?
Think of what this could tell the organization about their hiring processes. You could discover what candidates are attracted to in the company’s employment brand, how the interview process is perceived, and what closes the deal when it comes to employees accepting the offer.
It can also start building trust between the manager and the new employee. Positive working relationships start with an open and honest conversation about why the employee was hired and why the candidate accepted. I’d certainly like to think that this will not be a conversation that consists of a manager saying something like, “Well, we hired you because we could afford your salary.” And the employee saying, “Well, I came to work here because you were the only company that called me back.”
Managers can tell employees, “I want you to be successful with us. Let me share with you what impressed me during the hiring process.” And employees can respond with, “I really liked that the company offered XX. And I appreciated your comments about YY.”
If having a formal conversation with employees about why they were hired isn’t a part of your onboarding program, well, maybe it should be. It’s the start of the feedback loop that’s critical to workplace success.
Image taken by Sharlyn Lauby on the deck of the Queen Mary in Long Beach, CA1