What Is New Leader
True leader onboarding isn’t a two-week orientation — it’s a 365-day investment. Medallion Assimilation empowers new leaders with post-hire resources for faster results and more effective teams.
Why Is New Leader Assimilation Important?
Without an assimilation plan, first-year stress on new hires can lead to burnout, missed performance targets, and unexpected resignation. Medallion’s assimilation services align companies and their new leaders to achieve success faster and guarantee retention.
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Ensuring Total Assimilation
Medallion has the expertise and services to help you achieve team and new manager assimilation with advanced assessments, coaching, team retreats, team development, and support for the first year.
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Customized New Manager Assimilation Services
All leader assimilation services include solutions to help you predict and inform what your team assimilation process will look like, as well as an orientation plan to help you put it into practice.
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Post-hire success plan
Leader Assimilation Services
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development & performance management process
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Retain Diverse Talent
Our process, assessments, and Medallion matrix deliver qualitative data to reduce biased decision-making and increase diversity within teams. With strategic assimilation, we help retain diverse talent with 365-day support.
How Medallion Partners Supported Site Turnaround With Diverse Talent and Full- Team Assimilation
A $2B Consumer Health company’s largest manufacturing site had significantly underperformed despite recent capital investments in physical improvements. A turnaround effort identified a cultural clash between the site leadership and their employees causing inefficiencies and ineffectiveness. Medallion Partners recruited a new site leader to tackle this challenge head-on. Recognizing the importance of a smooth assimilation into the company culture and effective change management, we developed and implemented a comprehensive program for the new leader and her team.
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Gaining a strong understanding of the new leader assimilation process is critical if you want to retain new leaders and stimulate strong performance.
Bringing an innovative, experienced, and highly qualified leader into your organization after an intensive recruitment process is a moment worth celebrating!
But don’t relax too much yet. Unless you want your new hire to fail in the 40-50% of executives that fail within 18 months, you need to seamlessly transition from recruitment to retention mode.
the best way to ensure the success of your new hire for long-term results is with an informative, comprehensive new leader assimilation process. New leader assimilation is a pivotal aspect of executive onboarding that can make or break the ROI on your latest hire.
Fumbling this key transitory phase can lead to plummeting performance, increased employee churn, and painful leadership turnover that could cost more than a quarter of a million dollars to remedy.
To give you a head start on dodging these all-too-common issues and expenses, we decided to put together a comprehensive new leader assimilation guide.
This manager assimilation guide will give you the edge HR leaders, C-suites executives, and hiring managers involved in onboarding high-level hires need to facilitate a smooth transition for your new hire and their soon-to-be subordinates.
If you want your next executive hire to hit the ground running, contribute to your mission, enhance your company culture, and help you make your vision a reality, you’ll want to read this!
What Is New Leader Assimilation?
New leader assimilation is a structured, streamlined, and non-threatening strategy for introducing and integrating your new leader into the team or department they’ll be captaining.
An easy way to conceptualize new leader assimilation is through the lens of team-building.
Providing an outlet for employees to share questions, concerns, and ideas with their new leader can help them overcome insecurities, validate or dismiss rumors, and minimize the awkward acclimation phase that follows every new leader hire.
This open dialogue also benefits your new leaders by allowing them to effectively address concerns, demonstrate their approach to management, and set the tone for the remainder of their tenure.
What Is the Purpose of New Leader Assimilation?
The primary goal of new leader assimilation is avoiding the dysfunction, worries, and suboptimal outcomes that leadership transitions often create.
This interactive process provides the perfect opportunity for employees to gain clarity on their new leader’s experience, management style, and personal preferences. In turn, new leaders benefit from a low-pressure introduction to their new team’s culture, skill sets, and personalities.
Another benefit of new leader assimilation is creating an opportunity for your recent hire and their new team to establish mutual expectations regarding matters like communication, approaches to training, coaching, and development, and performance expectations and metrics.
Communicating these expectations early in the process reduces the chances of both interpersonal and professional conflicts as your new leadership hire and their team navigate the early stages of their relationship.
How Do You Facilitate the New Manager Assimilation Process?
New leader assimilation facilitation is a responsibility that typically falls to HR leaders and executives that can leverage their experience, authority, and trust to support the success of your new hire.
The best strategies for facilitating the assimilation of a new leader will vary according to your industry, market, organizational strategy, company culture, and more. With that said, there are a few universally accepted approaches to facilitating business leaders’ assimilation into their new roles, responsibilities, and company.
Nine Strategies for Facilitating The Leader Assimilation Process
If you want to support your next leadership hire’s integration into your organization, consider trying out these successful strategies:
- Have a plan: When the time comes to assimilate a new leader into your organization, it’s critical to have a plan. Trying to do so blindly or off the cuff can lead to costly errors and jeopardize the success of the transition and assimilation process.
- Gather questions from the employees. Sharing questions from your employees with your new hire before their first new leader assimilation meeting will allow your new leader to prepare thoughtful, engaging responses that will motivate their new team, address common concerns, and encourage buy-in from day one.
- Invest in orientation. A well-rounded orientation will provide your new leader with the information they need to engage their team effectively, signal their commitment to their new role and team, and ensure your new hire feels prepared to assume a leadership role in your company. It’s important to note that orientation is not synonymous with assimilation.
- Arm them with information. Sharing critical information, like standard operating procedures, organizational charts, and essential policies and programs, will reduce your new hire’s anxiety while boosting their odds of making a strong first impression with their team.
- Connect with key contacts: Arranging introductions and conversations between your new leadership hire and key stakeholders that can share first-hand insights into your organization’s unique structure, culture, and values is another excellent way to boost assimilation success.
- Establish trust. Encouraging your new hire to reach out to existing employees to cultivate a culture of trust can go a long way in successful assimilating your new leader. Employees need to trust both that the new leader is the right person for the job, while the new leader needs to trust the employees around them.
- Share your expectations. A transparent breakdown of your expectations for your new leader is essential for supporting assimilation. Clearly explain the objectives and performance expectations of the role. Create a roadmap that will guide their assimilation progress and outline milestones they can use to monitor and track their growth.
- Celebrate wins. Keep an eye on new leaders’ assimilation progress so you can celebrate their early victories. This support will provide a much-needed morale boost to your new hire while reinforcing the importance of trusting your organization’s new leaders’ assimilation best practices.
- Have a partner. Partner companies specialized in guiding key hires’ assimilation for a full year serve as a critical aid and keen eye to sensure a smooth transition for the “can’t miss” hires.
What Is the New Leader Assimilation Process?
Fortunately, John J. Gabarro, a Harvard Business School professor, solved the question of the manager assimilation process in 1985 following a three-year longitudinal study exploring why some managers thrive after taking on a new role while others flounder.
Gabarro found successful assimilation processes typically follow five predictable stages:
- Taking Hold
Each of these stages will require different types of resources, support, and guidance for successful navigation. To pull off each stage, you’ll need an engaged team of executives, a strong HR team, and a well-rounded new leader assimilation toolkit.
The Five Stages of the New Leader Assimilation Process
- Taking Hold
- The first phase is Taking-Hold. Taking-Hold is characterized by new leaders’ initial efforts to build relationships, cultivate trust, and establish credibility with their peers, subordinates, and superiors.
- As your new leader nears the end of this assimilation phase, their initial displays of expertise, support, commitment, and openness, along with the valuable insights gained from observing, asking, and listening, will begin enabling them to exert influence and confidently navigate new challenges.
- New leaders in this phase should prioritize asking questions, actively listening to those around them, observing standard and common practices, and investigating your company’s history, norms, values, and culture.
- The second stage iis immersion. As you may have guessed, the immersion stage involves immersing newly hired leaders into the more intricate details of your operations, strategies, advantages, goals, and challenges.
- New leaders will gain information from a range of sources, including their subordinates, peers, customers, external stakeholders, and superiors, and mentally compile it to build a deeper, more comprehensive understanding of the role their position plays in the overall success of your organization.
- During the immersion stage, new leaders acquire the necessary knowledge and context to effectively address challenges and drive improvements. They are equipped to navigate new tasks and challenges while remaining aligned with your organization’s culture and preferred management style.
- Once your new leader has completed the immersion stage, they’ll advance to reshaping. The reshaping stage is marked by your new leader introducing and successfully implementing several adjustments, updates, and improvements to their team’s strategies, goals, and resources.
- The reshaping stage of new leader assimilation requires new hires to more firmly demonstrate their leadership capability by establishing a vision, outlining goals, and communicating new expectations to their team.
- During the consolidation stage of new leader assimilation, your new hire will settle deeper into their position. They will focus on implementing, evaluating, and improving the initiatives established in the reshaping stage while continuing to build trust and credibility among their team.
- New leaders will also deepen their connections with their peers, superiors, customers, and subordinates during this stage. This assimilation stage is essential for ensuring the long-term success of your new leader, their staff, and the department.
- The final stage of the manager assimilation process is refinement. During the refinement stage, your new leader will fully assimilate into your organization.
- They will have earned the trust and respect of their team, contributed to the company’s mission, and grown past the “new boss” perception. They will understand and exemplify your organization’s values, vision, and culture. And they will have nurtured the relationships and connections they need to embark on a long, successful, and fulfilling career in your organization.
What Are 3 Examples of Manager Assimilation?
To wrap up our exploration of new leader assimilation, let’s take a look at three examples of new leader assimilation. These examples are some of the most common – and successful – approaches to inspiring new leader assimilation.
- Engaging Onboarding – Invest in developing a well-rounded onboarding experience that engages and excites your new leader every step of the way.
- Impactful Team-Building – Experiment with a range of team-building exercises, solicit feedback, and determine which types of activities work best for your organization. Encourage active participation in these team-building events to stimulate assimilation.
- New Leader Integration Plans – New leader integration plans provide a systemic approach to supporting new leaders from their date of hire to total assimilation.
What Is the New Leader Integration Plan?
A new leader integration plan is a structured, systemic plan for supporting new hires’ smooth and successful transition into their leadership roles within your organization.
New leader integration plans, sometimes mistakenly also referred to as onboarding plans or new leader assimilation plans (which are each different), outline concrete milestones and metrics for evaluating new leader assimilation progress. They also provide an actionable outline new leaders can follow to align with your company’s goals and culture while steadily growing into their new role and integrating into their team.
Let’s take a look at an example of a straightforward but simple new leader integration plan.
Examining A Three-Part New Leader Integration Plan
This new leader integration plan is designed to encourage open and honest communication between new leaders and their teams, promote early bonding, and lay the groundwork for the longer-term five-step process described above.
Step One: Question Generation
This first step of this new leader integration plan involves encouraging your new hire’s future subordinates to anonymously submit questions and concerns for their new boss.
Then, the individual responsible for onboarding and supporting your newly hired leader will compile and organize the questions and concerns before sharing them with the new leader. Common types and examples of questions include:
- Personal Style
- What are your strong points?
- What are your weak points?
- How do you express your satisfaction?
- How do you handle disagreements/conflicts?
- How often do you want to see us for updates and information? •
- Communication Style
- How much do you want to know about a problem?
- What are your preferred communication channels?
- What is your communication availability outside office hours?
- Do you prefer rough drafts or polished proposals?
- Decision-Making Style
- What is your basic decision-making process?
- How should decisions be communicated?
- What makes a decision final?
- Performance Expectations
- What metrics will we be judged by?
- What is your definition of a top performer?
- When and how will I receive performance feedback?
- How will we know if our performance displeases you?
- Top Priorities
- What are your top priorities?
Step Two: New Leader Review
The second stage of this new leader integration plan involves sharing your list of questions and concerns with your new hire. Give them time to carefully consider each question and concern and prepare a thoughtful, comprehensive answer.
Walk through the list with them until they feel prepared to confidently address each matter when they meet their new team during the next step of this plan – the assimilation meeting.
Step Three: Assimilation Meeting
Now that the groundwork stages of this new leader assimilation exercise are complete, it’s time for your new leader and their team to meet! Help guide the meeting by working through your list of questions and concerns. Allow your new leader to answer and encourage further discussion when possible.
Open the floor to face-to-face questions and provide space for your new leader to engage and connect with their new team members in a low-pressure environment. Remember to ask every reasonable question on your list – employees that prefer anonymously asking questions are unlikely to engage deeply during early dialogue.
Gradually reduce your participation in the meeting and allow your new leader to take the reins. Observe how your new leader engages and addresses his team and analyze how the team responds to gain an early understanding of how the dynamics and relationships will develop.
What Questions Should I Ask Throughout New Leader Assimilation?
Asking thoughtful questions throughout the new manager assimilation process is non-negotiable for organizations that want to stimulate quick integrations and support long-term success.
Prepare a list of questions that will allow you to gain insights into your new leader’s experience and perspective as they navigate the assimilation process and inquiries that could tip you off to emerging issues.
Consider these ten new leader assimilation questions if you need help figuring out where to start your list.
- How do you approach relationship-building and establishing trust with your team members and key stakeholders?
- What specific goals and priorities do you have for your role in the first few months?
- What are your preferences for communication and collaboration within your team and between departments?
- What are your early observations and impressions regarding our company’s culture and dynamics?
- Are there any specific areas or aspects of the organization that you would like to learn more about so far?
- Can you share any immediate challenges or opportunities you may have noticed?
- How are you encouraging innovation within your department?
- What types of team-building and skill development approaches seem successful so far?
- What kind of support or resources do you need from the organization to be successful?
- How can we best support you during your assimilation process and ensure smooth integration into the organization?
What Are Manager Assimilation Activities?
Manager or new leader assimilation activities refers to the range of strategies, initiatives, and activities organizations can use to facilitate their new leaders’ understanding of their responsibilities, help them build relationships, and encourage alignment with your organization’s goals and culture.
Encouraging enthusiastic and genuine manager assimilation activity is almost as important as creating a formal team leader assimilation process.
Fortunately, most manager assimilation activities are simple, easily accomplished, and sometimes even fun! If you want to ensure your new leader is steadily progressing on their assimilation journey, schedule activities like:
- Exploring organizational history
- Meetings with key company stakeholders
- Regular one-on-one sessions with subordinates
- Peer shadowing and observation
- Regular goal setting
- Ongoing training, education, and development
- Teaming up with an internal mentor
- Leading and participating in team-building activities
- Observing performance reviews
- And interviews with internal Subject Matter Experts
How Medallion Partners Can Help
When it comes to hiring a new leader for your organization, two things are critically important:
- Finding the right person
- Implementing a rock-solid new leader assimilation process
Fortunately, at Medallion Partners, we specialize in both. As a top-class executive search firm, we not only have experience placing the right talent in the correct positions, but we also have a 365-day process for ensuring they get appropriately assimilated. To learn more about our process, strategy, and how we can help you with our new leader assimilation program, contact us today!