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Now that you’ve hired ’em, what are you going to do with ’em?

Once you have gone through the search and recruiting process, invested a fair amount of time and money, and selected the right candidate (in whom you are now going to invest even more time and money), you need to think about how you are going to help that new leader be highly productive as quickly as possible.

Do you have an effective orientation process? Do you provide someone to help the new leader get through the "necessaries?" Have they been introduced to the appropriate people in the organization? Have you made them feel welcome and a part of the team? 

Too often, newly-hired executives, equipped with as little as a job description, a few introductions, and a brief company orientation, are asked to dive into their new job…with high expectations for success. Unfortunately, regarding CEOs and according to the Harvard Business Review, 2 out of 5 new CEOs fail in their first 18 months on the job. Can your company afford to have a new CEO, or any executive, who is not working out, or even not operating at a high level of effectiveness? The answer, of course, is no.

Proper onboarding reinforces the executive’s decision to join the organization; increases his/her comfort level and facilitates their ability to contribute in the new role; enhances productivity; encourages commitment and employee engagement; and increases the company’s retention rate of new executives.

In his book The First 90 Days, Michael Watkins writes that the first days in a new position are critical because small differences in a leader’s actions can have a huge impact on long-term results. Leaders at all levels are very vulnerable in their first few months in a new job because they lack in-depth knowledge of the challenges they’ll face and what it will take to succeed with their new company. Failure to create momentum in the first 90 days virtually guarantees an uphill battle for the rest of an executive’s tenure.

To help equip managers, Watkins presents a road map for their first 90 days on the job. The roadmap includes suggestions regarding aspects such as assessing your vulnerabilities, adopting methods to accelerate your learning, accurately diagnosing the business situation, focusing on the fundamentals, assessing your team, creating coalitions, building credibility, and securing some early wins.

The bottom-line is to make sure that you have a documented and effective onboarding process to help the new leader learn their new role. Hopefully it’s not "sink or swim"! They should not only be very clear about their primary job responsibilities and level of authority, but also their near-term and longer-term goals and objectives. They also need to quickly get an understanding of the organization’s vision, mission, core values, and culture.

In addition, be sure to obtain feedback from all new employees about the onboarding process. You need to know with certainty what your company does well and what needs improvement. Plus, engaging new employees in this fashion sends a message that you care about them and that you value their feedback.

We hope this information is useful. If we can help with your new leader onboarding, please contact us.

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Additional Information:

There are some basic, core ideas to attracting the brightest and the best, and ensuring that they continue to be fully engaged in helping you to have a high growth organization that is sustainable for the long term.

1. Always be seeking talent for your organization. Hiring is not an event, it is a process. Make sure that leaders always keep their key positions in mind. What does a great employee look like? What can they contribute? Why would they work for your company? Why would they stay with you? How you brand your organization, how you create a culture that attracts an ongoing stream of great employees is critical to your long-term success.

2. Do you make it easy for executives and other high potential people to know about your organization? Do you have a defined (and functioning) "attraction" strategy? Or, is it difficult for others to get the information they need? How do you find out? Secret shop yourself and see what you think. Speak with others and see what they think.