Onboarding Strategy For Senior Executives

Onboarding Strategy For Senior Executives

Onboarding accelerates the assimilation of new hires into senior leadership roles and integrates executives in a more structured and effective way. By strategically immersing new leaders into the culture, businesses empower teams for long term success.

In our research, we discovered many ways that organizations can encourage onboarding success. However, it is important to remember that every situation is different, and there is no one size fits all approach.

“Onboarding is much more than a series of steps. Each person has a different dynamic to absorb the information; it is ‘personal’ and has to be tailored to each individual. The final result is the total immersion into the organization’s culture.”

— Florin Popa, Partner, K.M.Trust & Partners

1. Start early

Onboarding starts from the candidate’s first interactions with the search firm and the hiring organization, and interviews are an excellent opportunity to begin building rapport: 

“A client/candidate scenario work through during interviews draws both the candidate and client stakeholder group closer, and also reveals much about how each might work or react.” 

— Allan Laurie, Managing Partner, NOVUS Search Partners

2. Research best practice

Search firms often create a guide for their clients based on onboarding best practices. 

“We provide an onboarding checklist of best practices to our client to ensure the new hire is thoroughly prepared for their first day of work.”  

— Todd Hohauser, CEO, Harvey Hohauser & Associates

The client will also be able to call upon the candidate profile created by the search firm during the evaluation process to help tailor the onboarding approach to the candidate.

“In some cases, we will also provide information packages to create a sense of the candidate and to support integration.”  

— Allan Laurie, Managing Partner, NOVUS Search Partners

3. Identify onboarding guides

The buddy system is well used for many situations, never more so than during onboarding. Thinking that executives may be above this or that they should stand on their own is false.  

“We encourage our clients to identify employees who can help with the transition for example, an Executive Assistant or HR Assistant as they can become very supportive and informative ‘friends’ during those early days.”

— Allan Laurie, Managing Partner, NOVUS Search Partners

4. Be accountable

The search consultant stays in close contact with both the hiring manager (client) and the new hire (candidate) for 6-12 months following search completion. 

“During our onboarding check-ins, we review the job profile we created at the beginning of the search to ascertain if the job and culture are as promised, and to assess if the candidate is performing to expected standards. We also ask probing culture match questions to uncover any disconnects that the new hire and the hiring organization may have.” 

— Todd Hohauser, CEO, Harvey Hohauser & Associates

Accomplished search consultants do not shy away from accountability for themselves and everyone involved in the search. These post-hire checkpoints should be highly structured so that onboarding success can be measured, signed off, and when useful, compared with other hires. 

“Formalize the ‘100 days check-in’ for a proper review with the organization to complete the cultural handover!”  

— Florin Popa, Partner, K.M.Trust & Partners

5. Consider executive coaching

Many search firms are also retained during the onboarding period to help maximize the performance of the new hire through executive coaching. These services can also be extended to executives across the senior leadership team for a comprehensive approach that actively supports integration.

This is the third article of a four-part series on how executive search firms help organizations to evaluate, maintain, and shape culture. The series was developed by interviewing search consultants from around the world. 

Article 1  |  Article 2  |  Article 3