We’ve all heard managers say of new hires, “She’ll have to prove her worth.”  And to their point, yes, we all do have a responsibility to prove our abilities, and ultimately, our worth to the organization we work for.  We need to demonstrate that we can perform the job for which we were hired and the company should expect a return on their investment.  But what is management’s responsibility in helping, or permitting, an individual to prove their worth to the organization?

It is management’s responsibility to:

  • Define the position’s worth to the organization.  Is this position really needed?  How will the outcomes contribute to the organization’s goals?  Forget this step, and the person performing the job will become a casualty of poor planning and lack of foresight.
  • Define and communicate the performance objectives and accountabilities against which the person will be measured.  A person won’t measure up if they don’t know what they’re being measured against.  It is also necessary to provide timely feedback regarding performance.  If your new hire isn’t performing to your expectations, you need to constructively communicate that to them, coach them on how they can improve, and let them know what will happen if they don’t.  If they are performing to or even beyond your expectations, you should communicate that to them, too!  (Positive reinforcement works with adults, too.)
  • Provide an environment in which people are permitted to prove their worth.  People can’t contribute if they’re not given the opportunity.  For example, are they invited to meetings where their input might be valuable?  Are you, as their manager, approachable and have an open-door policy so they can comfortably share their ideas?  The environment must also be one where management holds everyone, not just the new hire, accountable for their individual performance objectives.  Nothing de-motivates faster than being in an environment where your co-workers do the bare minimum to collect a paycheck and management doesn’t do anything about it.  Your new hire will quickly ask them self why they should care or take the initiative if no one else does.

When proving worth becomes a shared responsibility between employee and manager, it’s a win-win.  With a clear picture of what’s expected of them and working in an environment where they can contribute, your new hire will be in a position to show you what they’re made of.


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