What companies can do to build an effective OnBoarding framework

What can organisations do to build an OnBoarding framework? Is it necessary? Off course, about only 50% of the executives who start in an new position are successful after 18 months. A lot of money was spent on headhunters to find the ideal candidate. And when the new leader is an internal promotion, just think about the investment that was put in all the development programmes. And is not only the money that was spent, think about the opportunity losses of a non performing new leader? What does a good OnBoarding framework look like?
Here is are four tips to work on when you are building an effective OnBoarding framework.

1. Work on the mindset of senior leaders- OnBoarding is risk mitigation 
What we have learned is that in our part of continental Europe a lot of executives apply the sink or swim mentality: 'if he can't keep himself afloat he is clearly not up to it'. A very costly way of thinking. Your goal is to change that mentality. On our website we have a couple of ideas that will help you to build the business case. OnBoarding is risk mitigation and geared around protecting the investment. Just like you would do with any other investment. You might also want to use a more emotional argument. Here is one: when the new leader derails it will look bad on you! The positive version: it will strengthen your position as a leader when the new leader performs beyond any expectation and I have something for you that will do just that. 

2. Learn High Potentials how to OnBoard    
One of the key ingredients of a good OnBoarding framework is to learn high potential managers how to OnBoard. It is as simple as this. Just have a look at the corporate training manual: sales, finance for non financial managers, continuous improvement, strategy, leading high performing teams etc. My guess is that as far as OnBoarding is concerned, high potentials are left in the dark and learn by experience how to OnBoard senior, complex roles. A quick win that will help to boost a culture where OnBoarding is seen as an essential management skill.And teach the high potentials how to OnBoard. A one day seminar will do so much to improve the success rate. 

3. Onboarding is not the same as Orientation 
You might get some resistance from people who will tell you that they already have a great new hire orientation programme. Great! However that is not the same as an OnBoarding programme. Orientation is making sure all the technicalities and admin are done on time. The tour is organised, the meetings with peers, the team have been planned including the trips to the factories and operating companies abroad. The first payroll is flawless and business cards are on the desk at the day of arrival. An Executive OnBoarding programme is tailored around the four central themes: understanding the business, politics, culture and managing expectations. And that goes far beyond orientation.  A good design, well communicated and consistent follow through has a massive impact on the success rate of an executive transition. We have some great best practices for you to benefit from. 

4. Organise feedback 
Any executive will have the conversation with his/her direct manager how well the transition is going. But you can do more. With a good process and the right tools  feedback can become a means to enhance individual, team and organisation performance. It will lead to some well thought through interventions that propel performance at all levels. And there is something else. It is a great opportunity to create peace of mind as it will put stuff on he table that is troubling both the new leader and his direct manager. From our survey we learned that creating peace of mind is one of the key issues during a transition.  There is also another benefit. Using an online tool and a well organised feedback process are a great opportunity to manage mutual expectations. Especially when facilitated by an objective outsider all parties will be put in a position to exchange views, re establish priorities and resources and  get aligned to deliver results. 

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