February 17, 2022

11 Tips for Onboarding an Executive Hire

By: sanjay sathe

Maybe it’s time to retire the phrase “executive onboarding” so that it can be replaced with “setting executive hires up for success”. When you click or tap to read this blog post you’ll notice a surprising stat in the opening paragraph. A little twist of language, like we explored above, would turn that stat on its head. What say you?

11 Tips for Onboarding an Executive Hire

Business First magazine states that as many as 40% of executives hired or promoted fail in the first eighteen months, while a recent global survey found that a majority of US executives received no formal onboarding in their most recent roles. Newly hired executives need the support that a smooth and comprehensive onboarding process provides. Successful executive onboarding not only contributes to leadership retention, it also helps every organization’s long-term success. 

An effective executive onboarding program should ensure that it covers critical elements like:

  • Strategic priorities and clarity on performance expectations 
  • Operational overviews
  • Realistic and clear interpretation of the company culture
  • Decision making processes
  • Stakeholder equations

Here are ten helpful tips to create a successful executive onboarding experience within your organization:

  1. Start the onboarding process prior to an executive’s official start date – Executives have multiple responsibilities and expectations to fulfill. To ensure a smooth transition, start the process once you have identified the most suitable candidate for the role. Arrange interviews with people from across the leadership spectrum, allowing the new executive hire to gain a better understanding of how each division functions within the organization. This also provides the new hire an opportunity to start asking questions.
  2. Share any/all information executives need to be successful immediately – They say knowledge is power. Providing execs critical info from the start will allow them to function efficiently. Below are a few examples:
    • Roles and responsibilities of other executives
    • Previous accomplishments of their predecessor
    • A calendar of all upcoming company events
    • List of associates and vendors the company uses
    • Current and upcoming project due dates
    • List of significant stakeholders and their contact information
  3. Help executives engage with the company’s culture – Make sure to allow time for discussions that expand upon any initial conversations regarding the corporate mission, vision, and values. Your ability to showcase the culture has a direct impact on a new executive hire growing connected to the organization.
  4. Provide time to acclimate – Executives are human beings. It’s important to understand that it takes time for anyone to acclimate to a new job, especially an executive. Deal with the new executives with understanding. Ensure that they get enough time to get used to any unique processes, procedures, and products before taking responsibility for any major project. 
  5. Discuss company policies – Everyone benefits when policies are stated and understood. This is especially critical for executives who will ultimately be a people manager. These policies set expectations, keep everyone accountable, ensure legal compliance, help to defend against any legal claims, and ensure the fair treatment of all employees.
  6. If possible, allow for an overlap between the new hire and their predecessor – This provides new executives with an opportunity to learn about their position directly from someone who’s held the role. It also allows for the employees working under the new executive to have a transition period between the work styles of the previous executive and the new executive. 
  7. Set clear expectations – Have a detailed discussion with the new hire and discuss the first 90 days of the transition period.Ensure that all the stakeholders involved know the schedule, transition expectations, and goals.
  8. Keep communication channels open – Always keep the lines of communication open, even after the onboarding process is complete. Ensure you keep checking on the new hire from time-to-time to check on how the executive’s transition is proceeding. 
  9. Introductions to relevant staff and team members – It’s hard for a new executive to walk into a meeting without a clear idea of the other attendees and their functions. To help them adjust, arrange for the new executive to meet the management team, senior members of their team, and even relevant employees as early as possible after their tenure begins. Establishing strong working relationships takes time and these relationships have a direct impact on the company’s performance.
  10. Help with initial scheduling to increase effectiveness – Ensure you make the first few days of the new executive enjoyable and productive. Help the new executive by scheduling their meetings for an initial period of time.
  11. Choose SucceedSmart to fill your organization’s leadership positions – When your corporation taps the SucceedSmart executive search and recruitment platform to place an executive, the new hire has the option to receive, free of charge, 100 days of high-impact executive coaching, further accelerating each new hire’s potential for success. 

It only makes sense to help new executive hires complete a comprehensive onboarding process, ensuring the new hire is able to thrive and drive positive results for the business. Remember, SucceedSmart’s network of future-ready leaders, identified and curated through SucceedSmart executive search software, are poised to not only drive growth at your company, they’ll also be ready to hit the ground running with the option of receiving a free executive coach for their first 100 days of employment.