What Support Do New Leaders Need?
Organizations that understand how to support new leaders consistently outperform those with little to no infrastructure or processes for supporting new executive team members.
While some companies simply don’t see the value in supporting new leaders, others are simply held back by a lack of clarity regarding the kinds of support new leaders need to be successful. Fears of micro-managing and putting undue pressure on new leaders lead these companies to overcorrect, leading to onboarding, new leader assimilation, and integration processes that are chaotic, dysfunctional, and ineffective.
If you’re interested in learning how to improve the performance, productivity, and tenure of your organization’s new executives, read on. We’re going to break down strategies, best practices, and insights executives can use to set the stage for long-term success after hiring a new business leader.
How Do You Onboard a New Leader?
Developing an effective new leader onboarding guide is an essential task for organizations that want to promote long-term success, strong retention rates, and high hiring ROI.
The best onboarding processes arm new executives with all of the role-specific information, resources, relationships, tools and tech, and training and education they’ll need to hit the ground running and launch a long, successful career with your company.
How Do You Successfully Assimilate an Executive?
Despite common sentiments, successfully assimilating a new executive can be simple, time-intensive, and costly.
In fact, most businesses can follow the same systemic approach to assimilation to improve new leaders’ performance, shorten ramp periods, reduce high-level churn, and promote a stronger company culture.
What Should Be Included in Executive Onboarding?
At first glance, successful onboarding processes may appear as unique as the companies leveraging them – but in reality, every successful onboarding process follows the same best practices, which include:
Ensure your new executive hire has all information, resources, and tools (including this new leader assimilation toolkit) they need to succeed before their first day.
This typically includes a comprehensive outline of their role, individual and team performance expectations and objectives, and any background information they’ll need about their new team, department, and company.
Rolling Out the Red Carpet
Provide new leaders with a warm welcome that includes a comprehensive introduction to their new team, relevant stakeholders, their peers, and other executives. This is also when you should begin introducing new leaders to your company’s mission and culture.
Arranging an In-Depth Orientation
Arrange an extensive tour of your company’s facilities and an in-depth introduction to the tools and systems they’ll use daily. Ensure your new leader also meets with HR to discuss and explore company policies and procedures.
Transitioning into a Strong Assimilation Process
After the initial onboarding, it’s essential to transition immediately into a strategic assimilation process.
Assimilation takes onboarding a step further by fostering a deeper understanding of the company culture, refining new hires’ leadership style to align with your organization’s internal dynamics, and promoting individual alignment with your organization’s goals, values, mission, and vision.
What Are the 4 Cs of Effective Onboarding? (You Can Change the Number 4 to Match Whatever Research You Find)
The 4 C’s of effective onboarding are a popular business theory created by Dr. Talya Bauer at the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) Foundation. Her theory states effective onboarding relies on compliance, clarification, culture, and connection.
- Compliance – Handling paperwork and teaching new leaders the basic rules, policies, and procedures of your organization.
- Clarification – Clarifying new leaders’ roles and responsibilities, including specific projects, performance expectations, and strategic goals.
- Culture – Explaining company and team dynamics, preferred communication and leadership styles, the role new leaders play in your overall organization, and tours of your facilities.
- Connection – Facilitating key relationships between new leaders and the stakeholders, peers, superiors, reports, and other members of your organization.
What Support Do Leaders Need?
New leaders need a wide range of support to set the stage for success.
While every company will eventually develop a unique approach to supporting new leaders, organizations that are wondering how to support team members to achieve goals should start with these universal best practices.
- Role-Specific Training: Providing in-depth, role-specific training related to new leaders’ duties and responsibilities is essential. Be sure to include a range of strategy sessions, meetings with other executives, and briefings on critical projects.
- Clearly Defined Goals: Establishing clear and measurable objectives for the first 30, 60, and 90 days is essential for supporting new leaders. These time frames provide a critical metric for progress and expectations.
- A Mentor or Coach: Assign a seasoned executive in an adjacent or similar role to act as your new hire’s mentor or coach. They can provide guidance, answer questions, and help the new executive assimilate into your company culture.
- Regular Check-Ins for Feedback: Schedule regular check-ins and status updates to provide feedback, address concerns, and make adjustments as needed. The safety net of recurring check-ins also provides peace of mind for new leadership hires.
- Support Building Key Relationships: Arrange introductions and informal meetings with key stakeholders, peers, reports, and cross-functional teams to set the stage for early collaboration.
- Ongoing Professional Development: Offer and encourage professional development opportunities, like leadership training or industry-specific ongoing education. Showing a willingness to invest in new leaders’ success signals their value to your organization.
Why Do Leaders Need Support?
We’re all familiar with the personal reasons new leaders need support from their organizations, like:
- Performance anxiety
- Social anxiety
Not to mention a host of similar challenges are near-universal experiences for leaders preparing to transition into a new role. But there’s also a business case for supporting new leaders.
Most leadership hires are terminated or vacate their position in 18 months or less. High churn rates coupled with rising recruiting costs and fierce competition for talent mean companies are spending more for lower ROI from new leaders.
What Support Do We Need from Leadership?
It’s important to remember assimilation is a two-way street.
If a newly hired leader is resistant to assimilating with your company’s culture, policies, procedures, and mission, you may find it challenging to onboard them despite your best efforts successfully.
Fortunately, companies can avoid this entirely by partnering with an executive search firm that prioritizes finding executive candidates that represent strong cultural fits pre-hire.
How Medallion Partners Can Help
Medallion Partners has over 15 years of experience helping organizations in every major industry discover, recruit, onboard, and assimilate world-class executive candidates into their company.
Our 365-Day Assimilation service has helped our clients retain 98% of their executive hires after two years through a combination of individual, team, and organizational support, coaching, and development. To learn more, contact us today.