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Friday, Apr, 24, 2015

Executive Induction? Orientation? Onboarding? Transition? Assimilation?

No matter what it is called, supporting executives' transitioning into a new role is an important strategic issue because turnover is costly, especially at the executive ranks where 68% hired from the outside and 38% from the inside fail within 18 months at an estimated cost of $2.7 million each when you factor in the ripple effect.

How an executive is welcomed and supported in the beginning makes a difference. It can reduce turnover by as much as 70% while accelerating understanding of the corporate culture and the situation. In addition it builds trust with the boss, staff and peers and drives targeted results valuable to the company. While the company is trying to foster a good fit, 90% of executives are also deciding in the first 6 months if they want to stay.

I started out calling it Executive Transition but recently adopted Executive Onboarding, as that term seems to be widely used in the United States. Onboarding (or whatever you call it)  processes are gaining steam. In 2005 40% of companies provided a formalized onboarding process; today is it more than 75%.

Currently 23% finish onboarding on the first day, 28% in first week (usually called HR new hire orientation), 22% in the first month, and just 15% extend onboarding to 6 months (Aberdeen Group Onboarding Benchmark Report).

Best practices reveal:

  • Successful onboarding occurs over time during the first year in new role.
  • It requires multiple interventions vs. a single event.
  • It must be supported by multiple resources, especially the hiring manger.
  • The power is in the interaction ? not in a ?briefing? book!
  • It must bring forward critical information and support.

Some best practices use a combination of consulting support and transition coaching. The consultant?s role is focused on the executive and organization integration. Consultants facilitate open discussions with the staff and key executives to understand the strategic and operational situation, which is the basis for good decisions about change and desired results. They also may facilitate understanding and negotiation of expectations, the foundation of trust.

Effective Transition Coaches facilitate the developmental needs of the executive: awareness of their style and the impact on others, ways to optimize their strengths, shore up weaknesses and learn new perspectives and skills for operating effectively in their new environment.

The most important element is the experience of the executive. Does your process (including the name) feel welcoming, foster a smooth transition and accelerate a valuable contribution?

Connie Meyer is President of Performance Partners. She supports the success of executives transitioning into new roles using Strategic Start? Executive Onboarding ? a coaching and consulting approach that accelerates learning, relationship building and results.


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