Executives often have less detailed onboarding programs than many employees. Companies tend to assume that executives immediately know what they’re doing, thanks to their prior leadership roles. However, each new company will have unique culture, expectations and goals that executives need to be educated in. Without clear expectations and supportive onboarding, it’s easy for executives to feel isolated and unsupported in their new roles.
Executive onboarding should lay out the company’s expectations, culture, workforce and goals. Clear expectations provide the new executive with a solid foundation and help them understand their mission at the company. Clearly defining their role and goals will prepare them for a successful leadership career at your company. Understanding the basics of onboarding an executive will help prepare company recruits for their roles and give them the foundation they need to flourish.
After putting in the effort and resources to vet and hire a job candidate, you need to set them up for success. Establishing an executive program is as critical to company success as standard employee onboarding programs. Executives are crucial to productivity and efficiency, so every company should have a structured program to introduce them to their role and support them.
Executives step into their new job needing to impress co-workers and subordinates. A quality onboarding program will help make the executive feel less disconnected from the company and provide them with the tools to step into the job seamlessly. Additionally, executives will need to learn the processes and expectations of their new role — onboarding allows them to understand expectations and goals for their position clearly.
A successful executive onboarding program will clearly outline everything expected of the executive while setting them up for successful, independent leadership. A high-quality onboarding program creates company connection, familiarity and confidence. Use the following points as a guide to help you understand executive onboarding and develop a program that will lead to regular success.
Lay out each step of the program. Establish the schedule and program content to give new executives a clear idea of what to expect. Let them know how long they’ll be directly supervised, what each program section covers and who their immediate contacts are. The plan will have to review company policies, executive roles and day-to-day work life. Use existing executives to weigh in on what they would have liked from an onboarding plan and what advice they would give to someone entering the company.
You should educate the new executive on job expectations. What do executive schedules look like? What meetings are they expected to attend? What is the standard for company culture? New executives can only meet goals and deadlines if they know what they are and how to carry them out according to your company’s policies. Let them know significant milestones and where they should be based on how far into the quarter they are.
Promoting networking and fostering connections are some of the best ways to retain and uplift new employees — executive positions are no different. Introduce the executive to core employees and teams they’ll work with. Introductions encourage company connection and establish a relationship between the executive and the company without feeling overly forced.
Additionally, urge new executives to network with cross-divisional leadership. Executives should get familiar with employees beyond their direct team — establishing inter-company relationships will promote collaboration and make the executive feel like a genuine member of the operation. Announce the executives when they arrive — send out an email or announcement with their picture, former achievements and a blurb about themselves to break the ice and introduce them to your company.
While onboarding should have oversight and instruction, you should also arrange for a similar-level or higher staff member to mentor the executive. Not only does including a mentor promote connection and networking, but it also gives the executive direct insight into the role they’ll be filling. A similarly-positioned staff member will have excellent advice to offer the new executive. They’ll learn the ropes and what to avoid while building a direct connection with another staff member.
While the first few days should be spent with the executive under direct oversight and instruction, you should establish some independence with them by the end of the first week. The first day is the most supervised — you need to ensure the executive feels as though onboarding is going successfully and they feel confident with the direction it’s taking.
After the first month, the executive should need little to no oversight. Let them know ahead of time how oversight decrease occurs and what they should feel comfortable doing on their own. You’ll want to check in with them again after their first quarter — ensure they’re retaining the knowledge they need and that you follow up on goals they’re expected to complete. Let new executives know they’re supported in their role, but show them that you trust them to execute the job independently.
Give new executives feedback throughout their onboarding. Encourage questions and let them know how they’re doing and where improvements could be made. After onboarding completion, provide feedback after their first month and quarter to further drive home expectations and help them feel supported and competent in their new role.
Additionally, ask new executives for feedback on the onboarding program and guidance they received. This feedback will help you make improvements to the executive onboarding program so that it’s even better for the next executive who uses it. Feedback allows for modification and fine-tuning in both directions — establish a culture of excellence and promote communication between the executive and your higher-level staff.
Recruiting and training new executives is an expensive venture — you want to ensure you find the right candidate without over-extending company resources and time. While a thorough executive onboarding program is vital to ensuring your executive’s success and comfort, true hiring success starts at the recruitment stage. All the onboarding tools will fall short if your company selects a candidate who isn’t quite right for the job.
Optimum Supply Chain Recruiters is an experienced nationwide recruiting firm specializing in supply chain and logistics recruitment. Our executive search programs take care of candidate vetting so you can focus on maximizing company efficiency and resources. Once initial vetting is handled, we’ll come to you with the most-qualified, best-fit candidates for your company’s expectations and culture. If you’re looking to find the ideal candidate to fill a position, get in contact with us today!