Best-Self Kickoff

Unlock Psychological Safety At Scale With The Best-Self Kickoff

By Courtney Bigony

Getting to a point of mutual understanding with your employee can take a lot of trial and error. And that delay can have damaging effects on a relationship. The best way to begin building quality connections early on is with 15Five’s Best-Self Kickoff. This strategic onboarding feature helps managers and employees build strong relationships, unlock psychological safety, and create long-term engagement—right from the start.

What is a Best-Self Kickoff? 

Because the trajectory of a new hire’s success is set in the first two weeks, it’s important to ensure every person is given the tools for success early on. The Best-Self Kickoff meeting is designed to strengthen the relationship and uncover what an employee needs to do their best work. It’s the ultimate user manual that speeds up the “get to know you” process and reduces the amount of time and energy it takes to work together effectively.

“The idea is that mutual vulnerability fosters closeness,” says Daniel Jones, the author of the New York Times piece that inspired the Best-Self Kickoff’s research-backed questions. By developing high-quality relationships and uncovering what an employee needs to do their best work, the Best-Self Kickoff helps managers increase psychological safety, which is the belief that the team is safe for interpersonal risk taking.


In a Best-Self Kickoff meeting, each person is encouraged to share their top strengths, how they’d like to work together, and a vision of what success looks.

Examples of questions you can find in the Best-Self Kickoff include:

• What type of work energizes you? 
• What are your top strengths?
• How do you like to receive feedback? 
•What skill do you want to develop? 

Using science to unlock psychological safety

The Best-Self Kickoff was developed using Positive Product Design, which combines research from positive psychology with technology to help create organizations that foster psychological safety at scale. 

In environments with high psychological safety, employees feel more comfortable asking for help, taking risks, admitting mistakes, and discussing issues openly—common traits of high performing teams.

When employees don’t feel connected to their manager and lack a sense of psychological safety, performance issues aren’t surfaced in time and crucial learning moments are missed. 

A human-centric onboarding practice

The Best-Self Kickoff is the first human-centric onboarding feature on the market that strengthens relationships and uncovers what an employee needs to do their best work. It also offers measurable results, including increased retention and customer satisfaction. 

Most onboarding programs focus on getting new hires up to speed on all things company-related—the company vision, mission, history, and values. But they often miss one key ingredient: the individual. 

Human-centric onboarding frames a new hire’s role as an opportunity to use their signature strengths and highlights a newcomer’s authentic, best selves. Research from positive psychology shows that knowing and leveraging personal strengths at work contributes to long-term engagement.

For customers, the Best-Self Kickoff is located in your direct report’s 15Five Profile. If you’d like to learn how 15Five’s Best-Self Kickoff can be used to upgrade your performance management practices, visit www.15Five.com.

More about 15Five
15Five is a continuous performance management software that enables regular and meaningful communication between managers and their employees. The software is a progressive alternative for companies working to shift from traditional approaches to performance management that encourage feedback only once a year, into a more continuous style of conversation. Given that technology alone can’t support an individual, 15Five offers additional education and culture design services to support both the employee and the business.

Courtney Bigony

Courtney Bigony is the Director of People Science at 15Five, industry-leading performance management software, where she created Positive Product Design which aligns the product to the latest science of thriving. Courtney has a Masters of Applied Positive Psychology from the University of Pennsylvania, is the founder of The Deep Feedback Movement, and a Fellow at the Center for Evidence-Based Management. She was named a 2019 Workforce Game Changer by Workforce Magazine and has contributed pieces featured in Forbes and Huffington Post. Follow her on twitter @CourtneyBigony.

Image credit: shutterstock


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