The business world can often be filled with clichés and buzzwords, but there are certain phrases that are not to be under-estimated or dismissed. Executive onboarding is one such example and describes the process of welcoming and integrating a new executive into their position. This is most likely associated with an external candidate, entering the organisation for the first time.
For a new executive, the first few weeks and months are vital for their long-term success. Hiccups or obstacles in this early stage can create a snowball of problems that may end up toppling the candidate’s future longevity at the business.
Executive hires that don’t work out aren’t just frustrating, they can be extremely costly too.
So, how can businesses create an onboarding experience that ensures new hires live up to their potential?
Executive Onboarding Process
The executive onboarding process should go beyond an office walkaround and formal handshakes with new team members. Instead, it should be an immersion into the culture, processes and targets of the business and a clearly defined understanding of what that business needs from them. Clarity in this onboarding phase allows candidates to focus on priorities and enjoy longevity in their role.
Bad hires and poor executive performance is often down to a lack of understanding in how the organisation works, and failing to align with company operations and values. This reflects how hiring is very much a two-way process with both businesses and candidates needing to understand what the other wants to achieve, in both the short and long term. By integrating a new executive into the business purposefully, it can give them the best chance of success.
Onboarding shouldn’t be seen as a “30-day period” from the day they start – instead, it should be a process that focuses on involving a candidate, so they feel comfortable and knowledgeable of the job at hand. Having an overlap between the executive leaving and the new hire joining, is a great way to ensure stability and smooth transitioning between executives.
The context of the specific role, candidate and requirements should also be recognised to tailor an experience that is focused on getting the most out of a new hire. Not all positions warrant the same type of onboarding as this process should reflect what the organisation wants from that candidate.
Tip for Executive Onboarding
- Building Relationships
Businesses are built on relationships and ensuring new executives are given the support and time to build meaningful relationships with their new colleagues is a vital step.
This is where having an overlap period between old and new executives is beneficial in terms of including a period of shadowing. This can help make introductions and relationship building that much easier.
- Clarity of Role
Businesses can’t bring in new candidates and expect them to fix every problem the business is facing. This leads to a lack of direction and focus. Instead, executives should be given clear targets and objectives that they know are their priority. This also helps measure the “success” or “failure” of their initial start and why things are either going well or not so well.
- Historical Review of the Organisation
It is often said that history repeats itself. This is no different in business, and understanding the past struggles, challenges and successes of an organisation, can often be the best way to prepare for the future. Candidates should be given details of these types of events and knowledge on how the organisation approached such events.
Finding the Right Executives
Onboarding and executive integration is a vital process, but that’s not to say it can mask a bad choice of candidate. Successful executive hires are likely to include effective onboarding processes; however, they will absolutely include selecting the right candidate for the job. Our focus here at Edward Drummond is to help our clients acquire the very top talent in their market. We do this through unrivalled market research as well as utilising our global network of talent.