PDF Before Onboarding: How to Integrate New Leaders for Quick and Sustained Results

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The focus of this article is to understand some of the nuances that need to be considered while developing an onboarding programme for senior hires or leaders. Before we delve into how we can make onboarding more effective for leaders, here are a few points to consider that emphasise the need for having an excellent onboarding programme. This is by far the most important and commonly ignored variable to be considered while designing an onboarding programme. We observe that many companies have a one-size-fits all approach for onboarding.

If the company does mass hiring for sectors like information technology IT or Information Technology Enabled Services ITES , then there are select days on which the onboarding process starts. It is common for all external hires irrespective of level or role. Time is typically divided to accommodate form filling, followed by some orientation programmes after which, individuals are guided to their respective functions. If the company does limited hiring, then we can observe that onboarding is slightly more haphazard.

Day one, again typically consists of filling up forms, followed by a few introductions. However, orientation to company values, etc may nor may not happen. If it does, it may be a quarterly or periodic event during which all hires for the quarter are invited. When a person decides to leave an organisation, the individual is disengaged from work. Depending on the role for which the individual is hired, there is likely to be some apprehension and performance anxiety.

There may be excitement as well since individuals usually join new organisations as their first job or at a role higher than their previous job. It is with this mindset that the individual joins the organisation. And how do we welcome them? With a multitude of forms that need to be filled! Capitalising on this mindset, allaying some of the anxieties while confirming some of the excitement in the pre-joining period itself can make the onboarding energetic and exciting for the individual.

The above question brings out a rather stark comparison.

Top 60 Employee Engagement Ideas from the Experts

But, we do observe that many companies follow a standard approach towards onboarding, and this may differ for senior leaders. It is important to note that different people join the organisation at different levels and in different roles. Hence, a role-based approach towards onboarding is important.

Some part of the onboarding can be common. However, with excellent technology support today, a role-based programme that sets up the role holder for success is a definite possibility. Similarly, time frame within which a role holder is expected to contribute can also determine the duration and intensity of the onboarding programme. For instance, in an IT services company there is an extended training period followed by deployment for fresh graduates. Onboarding programmes for such hires need to be different from those of say, individuals joining in finance or delivery leads.


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Across multiple companies we see onboarding at different levels. We have also heard stories of new hires who did not get basic infrastructure for a few weeks or months and were left to figure things out on their own. Almost all companies, without fail, do the first level of onboarding which involves form filling.

This is more due to statutory and regulatory requirements. For instance, in India, transferring Provident Fund from the previous organisation, linking your bank account for salary credit, etc are commonly completed on the first day. Similarly, companies do tend to have a slightly modified plan for onboarding senior leaders.

Getting New Hires Up to Speed Quickly

However, what are left wanting are the finer aspects of understanding and assimilating the culture, networking, enabling team, etc. An Egon Zhender survey reported that one of the biggest stumbling blocks for new leaders was poor grasp of how the organisation works, i. It appears that the current onboarding programmes are not having the desired impact.

Read: 10 Communication Strategies for New Leaders. To create powerful onboarding programmes for new leaders we must understand the context in which they operate. For that we need to examine the work of leaders. Whenever a company hires an external leader it is for one — or all — of the reasons below:.

After joining, the company will want the leader to assume responsibility as soon as possible. To make this transition successful the company should understand what drives success for the new leader. Some aspects to be considered:. A socialisation process that does not cater to the above requirements is likely to be rendered as ineffective. In view of all these, how can we deliver a great onboarding experience to the new leader and achieve desired organisational outcomes? Studies are also showing that for most new leaders hired or promoted, what they do or fail to do in their first three months has a substantial impact on their ultimate success or failure.

In other words, the first 90 days are critical. The logic of such an approach is inexplicable. Why take such a cavalier attitude with regard to brand new senior leaders when they are accountable for critical business functions? The success of a new leader should be as important to track as key business performance indicators and the balance sheet.

How to Successfully Integrate New Leaders

A better approach is for organizations to have a managed, structured approach to get the new CIO quickly and surely up-to-speed. Executive Integration provides the new leader insight, advice, and accountability throughout the transition process and for up to a year following their start date.


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Although some on-boarding programs provide parts and pieces of an executive integration process, few address specifically what it takes for a new leader to be successful both in the short- and long-term. The combination of a structured process and the objective, expert assistance of the integrator-coach helps assure these outcomes for the new CIO and the organization. Executive integration begins when an offer is accepted, kicks off in earnest the first day the new CIO is on the job, and is sustained over the next 12 months through executive coaching. Executive Integration programs can be employed below the C-level.

If you are a CIO, here are five things you can do now to implement Executive Integration to help incoming members of your senior team get the strongest start possible, and maximize their chances at success. Roles We Recruit. Read our weekly e-newsletter packed with career advice and resources for the strategic technology leader, and information about active searches. By Joe Scherrer. Subscribe to Our Blog. But then reality sets in. Expectations of you as the CIO are high.

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Michael K. Burroughs Highlights

Are you ready? Formal Executive Integration Programs Executive Integration provides the new leader insight, advice, and accountability throughout the transition process and for up to a year following their start date. Here is an example of a six stage executive integration process: Integrator Entry. The organization and the integrator set mutual expectations for the new hire.

The integrator orients the new hire to the executive integration process and conducts a series of leadership assessments. Stakeholder Interviews. The integrator writes a detailed action plan for the new CIO using the expectations, assessments, and results of the interviews. The integrator sits down with the new hire before the first day on the job and goes over the Blueprint for Success. In this way the new CIO is well-prepped on the inter-organizational dynamics and normally hidden expectations of those he or she works with as well as the performance requirements needed for success.

The first day on the job, the new CIO meets with direct reports.