Hold a Best-Self Kickoff

This article walks managers and their direct reports through how to hold a Best-Self Kickoff. 15Five's Best-Self Kickoff is a strategic meeting that aims to help employees and managers understand each other and their work needs, building a stronger working relationship. The questions discussed in the Best-Self Kickoff are science-backed and help create psychological safety in employees, as well as increase manager effectiveness: the biggest driver of employee performance, engagement, and retention.

Ideally, Best-Self Kickoffs should be held at the very beginning of a manager/employee relationship. They can also take place after a promotion or role change, or at any other point that managers want to reset and reconnect with their existing direct reports.

In this article, you will learn...

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โ›”๏ธ Required access to My Profile.
๐Ÿ‘ฅ This article is relevant to managers and direct reports.
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What is a Best-Self Kickoff?

A Best-Self Kickoff is a meeting held between a manager and one of their direct reports. During this meeting, managers and employees discuss the answers that they each gave to the questions on the 'About' page of 15Five.

Best-Self Kickoffs are comprised of two parts: relationship building (individual and interpersonal expectations) and role clarity. The evidence-based, two-part meeting facilitates a conversation about work style, feedback (how to give/receive it), and other general questions about both participants, leading to a stronger and more successful relationship between manager and employee. Access the Best-Self Kickoff template here.


  • More effective managers. By holding Best-Self Kickoffs, managers will better understand their direct reports so they can better communicate with, coach, and engage them.
  • Improve employee engagement and performance. Participating in a Best-Self Kickoff leads to employees feeling seen, understood, and appreciated for who they are by their managers. This, in turn, can lead to increased job satisfaction, as well as increased performance and engagement.
  • Stronger working relationships. With a mix of both work-based and personal questions (all research-backed), the Best-Self Kickoff helps build strong working relationships between managers and their direct reports from the start. After the meeting, managers and employees will have a deeper understanding of what they need and expect from one another.
  • Build psychological safety. The second part of the Best-Self Kickoff is focused on role clarity (job responsibilities and expectations), which helps cultivate psychological safety in the workplace.

Hold a Best-Self Kickoff

Anytime a new work relationship is established, a promotion happens, or when managers and their direct reports need to level set, we recommend completing the Best-Self Kickoff process. Part 1, which is available inside of 15Five, is all about relationship-building and can be initiated by a direct report or their manager.

Have participants fill out the 'About' section of their profiles

Before holding a Best-Self Kickoff, managers and direct reports should first fill out all of the questions on their respective 'About' pages, which will guide the Best-Self Kickoff. This is the relationship-building component of a Best-Self Kickoff. Once both roles have answered these questions, the Best-Self Kickoff can happen.

  1. Click on your avatar in the top, right-hand corner of 15Five to open your profile.
  2. Using the navigation at the top of the page, click on the 'About' tab.
  3. Click Edit at the top of the page.

  4. Fill out the research-backed questions contained in this section. These questions cannot be edited or changed.
  5. By default, the answers you give to these questions can be seen by anyone in your organization using the company directory. To mark an answer as private to your manager, click the lock icon to its right.

Hold a Best-Self Kickoff meeting in 15Five

This section walks through the steps that managers should take to schedule and hold a Best-Self Kickoff with one of their direct reports.

  1. Schedule your Best-Self Kickoff using the scheduling app of your choice. Some general guidelines about the Best-Self Kickoff Process:
    • The meeting itself usually takes about two hours. If desired, you can schedule a part 1 for the relationship-building portion and a part 2 for the role clarity portion.
    • Ideally, Best-Self Kickoffs should be scheduled within the first week of a new role or employee/manager relationship and should take place within the first month.
    • We encourage taking notes using 15Five's 1-on-1s feature during the discussion to ensure that there is 100% clarity and documentation on all expectations.
  2. When it comes time to meet, go to your direct report's profile, click into the 'About' tab, and then click the orange View Best-Self Kickoff button on the right-hand side of the page.
  3. After clicking View Best-Self Kickoff, you will be redirected to the Best-Self Kickoff. From here, click Get started. After getting started, all About questions and answers will appear.


    During the meeting, either 1) the manager can share their screen or 2) the direct report can access the same page from their computer by going to their profile and clicking the View Best-Self Kickoff button.

  4. Once all questions and answers have been discussed, click the orange Got it! button and you'll get an alert like this.... โฌ‡๏ธ




What's next? After completing the first portion of the Best-Self Kickoff meeting, it is time to move into part 2: a role clarity conversation. Access a template for this portion of your meeting.

Best practices for Best-Self Kickoff

Hold Best-Self Kickoffs each time an employee changes managers or roles.

The Best-Self Kickoff is designed to help managers and their direct reports form a strong working relationship, set expectations, and ensure that employees have role clarity. That said, we suggest holding a Best-Self Kickoff each time a person changes managers or moves into a new role. We suggest scheduling the meeting within the first week that a person is in a new role or has a new manager and holding the meeting sometime within the first month.

Make sure employee's job descriptions are accurate and up-to-date prior to the Best-Self Kickoff
In the second part of the Best-Self Kickoff, managers help set their direct reports up for long-term success by walking them through whatโ€™s expected of them as both an employee and teammate and discussing opportunities for growth. That said, it's important that employees have accurate job descriptions prior to this meeting to ensure the conversation is productive.
Use Best-Self Kickoff alongside other 15Five features
We suggest pairing the Best Self Kickoff and Career Hub together with a review cycle or engagement survey. Prior to kicking off this initiative, send communication to employees that includes the following details:
  • Why: We heard from our most recent review cycle that we need to provide more support and clarity around XYZ
  • What: Best-Self Kickoff and Career Hub
  • When: Provide a timeline
  • Who: Everyone
  • Next step: Everyone is encouraged to fill out their โ€œAboutโ€ Tab on the 15Five homepage.
Make Best-Self Kickoff part of the onboarding process

Make filling out the 'About' tab on the 15Five home page a required step in your onboarding process for new hires. Once everyone has filled out their 'About' tab, managers should schedule Best-Self Kickoffs with all new hires.

Additional resources

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