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Successfully Onboarding A New Executive

Successfully Onboarding A New Executive


A long-term, strategic plan for assimilating a newly hired executive into your organization. The plan is customized and takes into account your organization's corporate culture, the leadership role and its specific responsibilities. 

Why is having an Onboarding Plan important?

  • It has been found that, even with appropriate planning, between 40% and 50% of new leaders fail or leave within their first 18 months of starting a new position.

  • The direct and indirect costs of the unsuccessful integration of a new executive can be significant considering the time and money invested in recruiting, hiring and training the individual.

  • Research indicates that the most important differentiators of leadership performance are experiences encountered during the first weeks or months on the job.

  • Studies have indicated that direct reports of a new leader who is effectively assimilating into the organization will outperform (by as much as 15%) the direct reports of a new executive who is having difficulties.

What can your organization do to improve its onboarding process and encourage the successful integration of a new executive?

  • Begin its Onboarding program at the recruitment stage.

Ideally, on Onboarding program begins as soon as your company determines that an executive position needs to be filled, and may continue for several months or even up to a year after the individual joins the organization. There are questions and issues that should be addressed before, during and after the recruitment process to encourage the most success from your Onboarding program.

Questions to consider before and during the hiring process:

  • Are there current employees who believe they could be a natural fit for the opportunity and may feel slighted if not considered?

  • What impact would hiring an individual from an outside organization have on existing staff? Is the new executive going to replace an outgoing leader or is this a new role?

  • What personal characteristics are most appropriate for the new executive to have? What type of leadership style is required? Is this executive going to be expected to implement signficant changes within the organization?

Questions to Consider Prior to the New Executive Joining Your Organization:

  • How will the new executive be introduced to your organization, department, business unit, etc.?

  • How can your existing management team actively foster the new executive's successful integration, particularly as he or she begins to implement new initiatives?

  • Is it appropriate to have individual or small group meetings between existing staff and the new executive to establish a rapport and allow for sharing of ideas?

  • Would it be effective to retain an outside consultant or executive coach, or to pair the new executive with a colleague within your organization to serve as a mentor?

The above questions provide just an initial start for developing a comprehensive and effective Onboarding program.