New Manager Assimilation

New Manager Assimilation

It’s no secret changes in management are typically greeted with bated breath. After all, 60% of new managers wash out of new roles in two years or less. When you consider that the average employee sticks with a job for roughly five years, it’s safe to say much of your team has witnessed at least one if not two, new managers come and go. They’ve seen new leaders join the company, settle into their roles, begin implementing changes to policies, procedures, strategies, and systems, and then move on to a new role.  

There are a number of reasons that ultimately boil down to the same result for the departing manager’s team, peers, and leadership…starting over.

For your C-suite, the story might be similar. 

You’ve possibly spent countless hours, an ever-growing amount of resources, and costly downtime recruiting, vetting, and short-listing candidates. It almost feels like a time to let your foot off the gas pedal and celebrate your company’s hard work…but the hard work isn’t over quite yet. Because if you don’t have a new leader assimilation plan in place, expect to repeat the process in about 24 months.  

Fortunately, with the help of experts like Medallion Partners, there is a way off this expensive, performance and productivity-draining merry-go-round. Together, by building a systemic, intentional, and practical new manager assimilation process, you can ensure your managerial hires are prepared for long-term success. 

Let’s explore this key to boosting a new leader’s tenure and setting the stage for long-term success further. 

What Is New Manager Assimilation?

New manager assimilation refers to the process of introducing and integrating new managers into their new roles, responsibilities, and team. 

What Is New Manager Assimilation

The purpose of new manager assimilation is to streamline new leaders’ transitions into their management roles while setting the stage for long-term success in their team and department. 

Companies that invest in a strategic new manager assimilation process can expect benefits like:

  • Reduced turnover
  • Stronger team morale
  • Shorter ramp periods
  • Stronger performance
  • Enhanced performance and productivity
  • Quicker, stronger, and more reliable cultural assimilation

Many consider new manager assimilation to be both the final stage of the recruitment and onboarding process as well as the first step of team-building — making it doubly important for companies to get right. 

New Manager Assimilation and Onboarding 

A structured, strategically crafted new manager assimilation process that caps your onboarding experience can significantly increase your odds of retaining your latest hire. 

By creating a structured introduction to a new manager’s role, responsibilities, and expectations, companies can improve performance and reduce stress for everyone involved — from your C-suite to your new hire to the team they’re taking over. 

Viewing new manager assimilation through the lens of onboarding also empowers you to anticipate and address common obstacles or points of friction with proactive support and guidance. 

Formalizing an extended assimilation process also creates more opportunities for your new manager’s peers and superiors to demonstrate and reinforce your company’s preferred management styles, decision-making processes, and approaches to leadership. 

Finally, new manager assimilation supports successful onboarding by giving new managers the space to ask questions, tap into resources, and explore the expectations and challenges of their new position before fully assuming the weight and responsibility of their role.

New Manager Assimilation and Team-Building

New manager assimilation is also an impactful yet underutilized strategy for promoting successful team-building. New leader assimilation exercises can provide low-pressure outlets for questions, concerns, thoughts, or ideas your staff may have regarding their new manager. 

By formalizing and facilitating these essential conversations through your new manager’s assimilation process, you can streamline integration, support assimilation, and avoid common obstacles, challenges, and pitfalls. 

Not sure how to incorporate team-building into your new manager assimilation process? Try these engaging and informative activities:

  • Ice-Breakers
  • Roundtables
  • Meet-and-Greets
  • Role-Shadowing
  • Q-and-A Sessions

How Do You Assimilate a New Leader?

How Do You Assimilate a New Leader

Assimilating a new leader is a multi-faceted goal with many moving pieces. To simplify the process, consider the three top goals of new leader assimilation: 

  1. Retention
  2. Cultural Assimilation
  3. Performance Enhancement

Using these goals as guidelines, we can organize common strategies for assimilating a new leader. 

Goal #1: Retention

To set the stage for strong retention and low turnover at both the management and staff levels, try strategies like:

  • Setting clear expectations
  • Providing a structured training process 
  • Scheduling recurring check-ins with direct superiors
  • Outlining milestones for assimilation progress (i.e., a 30-60-90 Day Plan)

Goal #2: Cultural Assimilation 

To encourage early assimilation with your company’s culture, include these strategies in your new leader assimilation process:

  • Create a manager mentor program or “buddy system”
  • Create a structured exploration of your company’s history
  • Share, discuss, and reinforce your organization’s mission, vision, and values 
  • Schedule low-pressure meetings between new managers, their colleagues, and their superiors 

Goal #3: Performance Enhancement 

To stimulate strong performance and productivity early, include these strategies in your new leader assimilation process:

  • Set up product or service demonstrations
  • Schedule peer and role shadowing opportunities 
  • Invest in early and ongoing education and development
  • Regularly review, discuss, and update performance goals
  • Connect new managers with internal subject matter experts 

What Is the Leadership Assimilation Process and What Does it Mean for Teams?

The new leadership assimilation process refers to the challenging journey every new manager, supervisor, or executive must make to transition from a new hire to an established and effective leader. 

When structured appropriately, the new manager assimilation process can significantly boost the impact and outcome of new hires. However, a poorly implemented, substandard, or absent manager assimilation process can spell trouble for new hires and the teams they take over.

What Is the New Manager Assimilation Process?

For new leaders, the new manager assimilation process revolves around gaining a deeper and more actionable understanding of your organization’s unique:

  • Mission and Vision
  • Culture and Values
  • Assets and Resources
  • Products and Services
  • Hierarchy and Structure
  • Opportunities and Threats
  • Strengths and Weaknesses

But what about the team they’re taking over? 

What needs and desires should your company’s current and future leaders anticipate from their staff? What questions are likely to arise? 

For teams, new leadership assimilation often means asking questions about or adjusting to their new manager:

  • Top Priorities
  • Communication Style
  • Decision-Making Style
  • Performance Expectations
  • Strengths and Weaknesses
  • Approach to conflict resolution
  • Impact on team culture 

What Questions Should I Ask in New Leader Assimilation?

Too many companies think only their new hires should be asking questions during their assimilation process. The truth is manager assimilation questions should be a two-way street. 

Asking questions as your new managers navigate their assimilation into their new company, role, and team can provide unmatched insight into the success of your assimilation process. 

Paying attention to new managers’ assimilation questions and answers can also provide invaluable insights into their morale, unique support needs, and overall assimilation progress..

Here are five questions to ask your next managerial hire during assimilation (you can read five more of the best questions to ask here.)

  1. How do you approach relationship-building and establishing trust with your team members and key stakeholders?
  2. What specific goals and priorities do you have for your role in the first few months?
  3. What are your preferences for communication and collaboration within your team and between departments?
  4. What are your early observations and impressions regarding our company’s culture and dynamics?
  5. Are there any specific areas or aspects of the organization that you would like to learn more about so far?

How Do You Facilitate a New Manager Assimilation?

Facilitating new manager assimilation is an essential duty every organization should take seriously. 

How Do You Facilitate a New Manager Assimilation

If you want to effectively retain, develop, and build the next cohort of your company’s leadership, try these five facilitation best practices. (You can find five more here)

  1. Have a Plan – Don’t even think about winging it. Develop systems, processes, and policies. 
  1. Involve Your Employees –  Open the floor to your current staff for questions, concerns, thoughts, and ideas they may have about the transition. Incorporate what you can into each assimilation project.
  1. Connect with Key Contacts – Facilitate introductions and encourage conversation between new managers and internal contacts that can support their success, showcase your culture, and guide their learning process.
  1. Celebrate Wins – Remember, assimilating is tough on new managers. Keep an eye out for small wins you can celebrate to keep morale high and progress steady. 
  1. Have a Partner – Enhance your efforts (and your outcomes) with support from professionals in the leadership recruitment, retention, and assimilation space. 

What Are the 5 Stages of Assimilation?

There are five commonly accepted stages of new manager assimilation: taking hold, immersion, reshaping, consolidation, and refinement. Let’s explore each of these stages further.

  1. Taking Hold – Taking hold describes the stage when new managers begin trying to build connections, form relationships, establish trust, and demonstrate credibility to their team, their colleagues, and their bosses. 
  1. Immersion – The immersion stage occurs when new managers – immerse – themselves into the deeper aspects of your company’s structure, operations, and strategies.
  1. Reshaping – After immersion, new managers enter the reshaping stage. During this stage, new managers will begin to implement changes, updates, and improvements to the strategies, tools, goals, and expectations of their team.
  1. Consolidation – This is an advanced stage of assimilation. During this stage, new managers transition from cautiously making smaller changes to confidently implementing, assessing, and iterating large-scale changes.
  1. Refinement – Refinement is the final stage of the new leader’s assimilation process. During the refinement stage, your new leader will fully assimilate into their role and your organization. 

The Medallion Partners Advantage

We understand the high stakes of hiring, retaining, and assimilating new leaders in your organization. 

When a single misstep could cost your company tens of thousands of dollars, plummet performance, bring productivity to a crawl, and force you to compete (once again) for talent in today’s tough market, you can’t afford to make a mistake. 

That’s where we come in.

Medallion Partners is a world-class executive search firm with a top-notch track record of helping organizations identify, engage, onboard, and, most importantly, assimilate new leaders into our partners’ organizations. Interested in learning more? Contact us today!

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