Executive Onboarding Strategy

executives shaking hands

Organizations can spend months and integrate copious amounts of resources searching and interviewing candidates when a new executive is needed to fill an important role. It’s important once they find the right candidate that the new hire is provided with a strategic onboarding plan that sets them up for success.

Believe it or not, 70% of senior leaders are unsatisfied with their onboarding experience. We have found that the best onboarding strategies provide a successful track to purposeful, productive work and strong employee relationships. 

Leadership onboarding programs must take that extra mile to set up their new leader for success. Let’s take a look at some of the important components of executive onboarding strategies HR professionals can utilize to achieve success.

Create Customized Programs

Understanding where the new executive stands in terms of knowledge of the role as well as their skill set can alter the way they are onboarded. Tailored onboarding programs can be utilized for a successful transition by providing different progression tracks to each new employee based on their specific needs. Furthermore, with this program, if an internal hire was promoted to an executive position, they too should have a custom onboarding program based on their skills and experience. 

Pre-boarding is Key 

The first step to a successful onboarding strategy starts with pre-boarding. This is the time to get in contact with the executive before their official start date. Engaging in conversations to outline expectations in the employee’s mind is a crucial step in pre-boarding. Having this conversation can allow the new hire to assimilate and digest all of the information provided. It can be helpful to discuss: 

  • Position goals 
  • Due dates of approaching projects 
  • Past accomplishments of the position
  • A contact list for other executives or stakeholders
Creating a Mentorship 

Assigning a mentor, coach, or transition accelerator to support a new hire during the onboarding process will benefit them throughout their transitional phase by having someone to turn to when questions or concerns arise. Mentors can be responsible for guiding the new hire to get acclimated to the organization as well as answering questions about the work environment, culture, and other employees.

One-On-One Role Plan

A one-on-one role plan program provides new executive hires with a general overview of the position straight from the source – the current leader. The created report plan details tasks and responsibilities as well as a chance for the appointed executive to ask questions. Including this component in the leadership onboarding program ensures the new executive leader obtains all of the content that is needed to perform their new role as well as knowledge of how the organization operates. 

Executive onboarding is far too important to not have a well-established strategy as the stakes are high for the individual as well as the organization. It is a fact that implementing a well-executed strategy can improve new hire retention by up to 82%. When onboarding transforms into a strategic process, an environment is formed where employees become more productive, engaged, and enthusiastic about their roles. Organizations should treat the onboarding process as an ongoing journey of learning that helps not only the new leader but the entire organization as a whole to succeed long-term.