Executive onboarding is vitally important in any organisation, but it can be fraught with difficulty. Integrating new senior-level hires is more challenging because there’s more responsibility involved – and if it doesn’t work as well as hoped, it can be disruptive for the wider team.

There’s always a lot to consider when bringing a new executive on board. It’s not enough for them just to have the right experience on paper; they have to be a good culture fit as well, sharing the ethos of the wider organisation. But many new executive hires soon leave, and leadership-level turnover can be highly costly.

In fact, one study estimated that between 50% and 70% of executives fail within 18 months of starting a new role. This points to major inadequacies with existing executive onboarding processes – but what can you do to ensure your executive hires thrive and prosper?

 

Make your expectations clear

A common cause of executive onboarding failure is that often, new hires simply aren’t sure what’s expected of them. A lot of the time, new executives are thrown in at the deep end – but even the most capable and dynamic leader would struggle in this sort of situation.

This is why it’s incumbent on employers, when they recruit new executives, to make clear what’s expected of them from the very outset. Coming into an organisation as a new executive is always challenging, but a clear set of expectations can help new hires make a positive contribution from the start.

Without clear expectations, new executive hires can become confused and demoralised. It may lead them to get cold feet about the job, giving them the impression that there’s no clear leadership from the top and that they’ve been left simply to fend for themselves.

 

Concentrate on culture fit

Executive recruitment is about much more than finding someone with the right qualifications and work experience. You also have to ensure, as best you can, that new hires share the general ethos and values of the organisation.

This is what’s known as culture fit. It concerns not only values but also personality and attitude; it’s a question of whether new hires are fitted to the general style of work and the internal culture of the organisation. When hiring new executives, you can’t afford to overlook this aspect.

At the same time, however, you need to understand and define your own culture as an organisation in advance of the recruitment process. With a thorough grasp of what constitutes your particular culture, core values and ethos, you’ll be in a better position to evaluate candidates according to whether or not they’d make a good fit.

Where newly-recruited executives fit in well with the wider organisational culture, it means they’re more likely to have a leadership style that’s compatible with the organisation, so there’s a better chance of them staying for the longer term – reducing executive turnover and the costs associated with it.

 

Let new hires build rapport with colleagues

New executive-level hires need to be given the time and opportunity to forge a genuine rapport with their colleagues. Whatever previous experience a new executive hire might have, and however well-equipped they may be on paper, this doesn’t necessarily translate into effective leadership unless there’s also a real personal connection.

In the absence of a genuine rapport between new executives and their colleagues – including superiors and clients as well as more junior colleagues – it can be difficult for the former to build the kind of trust and authority that makes for effective leadership.

Colleagues who like, respect and trust their leaders are much more likely to strive to deliver for them – and, again, if there is a genuine connection on that personal level, this helps to reduce executive turnover and keep the organisation firing on all cylinders.

 

Give new executives the support they need

Another reason why executive onboarding often fails is that many organisations don’t give new executive-level hires the support they need in that initial period, when they’re adjusting to a new role and a new organisation.

Inevitably, starting a new senior-level position is going to require some adjustment, and can be quite lonely, whatever a candidate’s previous experience. But a lot of the time, employers leave executives to sink or swim – which can mean that talented leaders aren’t able to make the impact they hoped, and become disillusioned as a result.

Intuitive’s 90-Day Accelerator programme – developed and delivered by Metisblue – gives new executives ongoing support in those crucial early months of starting a new role. By providing support beyond day one of starting a job, 90-Day Accelerator enhances the onboarding experience and facilitates faster results.

At Intuitive, we’ve been forging meaningful connections between talented, diverse candidates and forward-thinking employers in the transport sector for the last 10 years – and nearly 90% of our senior candidates stay in their jobs for at least two years.

If you think you’d be a great fit for an executive-level role in transport, get in touch with us today and find out more about how we can help you.

WE would love to get to know you!

Please do give us a call, drop us a message or follow us on Twitter & Linkedin!

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