When you welcome new sales reps to your team, you’re focused on getting them up to speed and ensuring they have the tools and resources to do their job. But it’s also important to start the new working relationship with some important questions. Pausing to have some thoughtful discussion about their new role and how they’re feeling can help set new employees up for success.

Best-selling author Suzi McAlpine recommends that leaders ask new employees four specific questions—and the sooner the better. She says it’s best to have these conversations shortly after the first one-on-one.

If you’re adding sales reps to your team this spring, keep reading. We’re sharing McAlpine’s recommended conversation-starters in this issue of Promotional Consultant Today.

1. How do you like to receive feedback? Part of being a leader is giving feedback—both positive and constructive feedback. Many leaders shy away from giving constructive feedback because they don’t know how to start the conversation. That’s why McAlpine recommends being upfront with new employees about the importance of feedback and confirming how they like to receive it. She says you could say something like, “I know that receiving feedback, both positive and constructive, has been really helpful for me. And I really want to offer the same for you. But I want to make sure I do it in a way that helps you. So, how do you like to receive feedback? What has worked well for you in the past when you have received feedback? What should I avoid? If I see you coming unstuck, or I think there’s an opportunity for improvement, how do you want me to approach that with you?”

2. What aspects of your job are you feeling most and least confident about? By asking new team members this question, you make it safe for them to admit where they may feel intimidated or nervous. It can be nerve-wracking for new employees to admit what they don’t know because they want to make a positive impression, McAlpine says. Let your new employees know that you’re ready to support them and then proactively follow through with a plan.

3. Can we talk about what good looks like and what’s expected? Your new hires may not be on the same page as you about specific tasks or behaviors. This question can help ensure they understand expectations. Getting granular is important, McAlpine says, so make sure you ask coaching questions like, “What will success look like for you in this situation?” and “Where do you think you may need support?” Remind your new team members that it’s always okay to ask for help when they don’t know something, she adds.

4. Can we discuss your strengths and how we can help you improve them even more? Identifying strengths and then working from them as much as possible is not only good for performance, but it has also been proven to buffer people from burnout, McAlpine says. As you get to know your new employees, ask them what they’re good at and what they enjoy doing. This can help you pinpoint their zone of genius.

Don’t wait too long to ask your new employees the questions above. By having these conversations early and approaching them with curiosity, you can help give your team members the best possible start.

Compiled by Audrey Sellers

Source: Suzi McAlpine is an international speaker and the author of the best-selling book Beyond Burnout and award-winning blog, The Leader’s Digest.