The Power of Executive On-Boarding

The following is an excerpt from a white paper by Barbara A. F. Green, ICF MCC of CPI San Antonio

In a poll of over 350 global leaders and human resource professionals conducted during a webinar by Career Partners International, participants were asked to categorize their companies’ onboarding processes. Roughly half of the respondents indicated that their companies had no formal process for helping executives assimilate into their new roles.

With all that is riding on the successful transition and integration of executives, why do more companies not prioritize a formal executive onboarding program?

Leaving it to chance

The importance of successful onboarding should be well understood, and the practice should be standard in every business throughout the world. But all too frequently, the onboarding process – when it exists at all – seems to miss the mark. Too often, the success of the executive seems to be left to chance.

Stepping into a new or expanded role is a challenge. The new executive will be tested at every turn, as expectations are high, and every decision and move is subject to heightened scrutiny.

The aggregate success of newly-placed executives is not good. Failure to establish key relationships and failure to align with company culture was indicated by respondents of the Career Partners International webinar survey as leading factors that derail new executives early in their leadership roles.

Companies that spend thousands, hundreds of thousands, or even millions of dollars in efforts to recruit key talent recognize the critical importance of ensuring cultural fit as part of the hiring process. But often, the rigor, focus, and attention is given to the recruiting process don’t seem to carry forward to a solid commitment to assimilate and positively onboard new executives.

The Solution for Success

When asked, “What was or would be the main driver for your organization to adopt an executive on-boarding process,” fifty-nine percent of respondents in the Career Partners International webinar survey indicated the need to accelerate the success of both the leader and the organization. That driver outpaced all other response options, including avoiding turnover and the cost of hiring new talent.

Executive on-boarding is far too important to leave to chance. The stakes are high for the individuals and the corporations involved. The impact on revenues, employee morale, and the company’s corporate image when an executive fails in a newly assigned role is long after the executive has departed.