When you’ve invested considerable time and money in finding the right executive for your organization, you want to ensure that they make a smooth, successful transition into the new position. After all, the sooner your new executive knows the ropes, the sooner he or she will be effective.
For this reason, you need a successful plan that covers the pre-onboarding process, as well as the first week and first week.
A successful onboarding plan starts before the executive arrives. If possible, overlap the first weeks with the predecessor’s last weeks. This goes a long way in helping the executive learn the ins and outs of the organization and position. Pay attention to the following points:
- Ensure the executive’s office, parking space, security clearance, computer and phone are in order.
- Prepare stationary for the executive: business cards, letterheads and emails with his or her signature, etc.
- Put together a package with the employee handbook and documentation on need-to-know processes and protocols.
- Compile a folder with bios of all of the executive’s direct reports.
- Compile a list of stakeholders’ names and contact details.
- Compile a list with summaries and status reports on all current initiatives.
- Assign a mentor and/or a sponsor to help the executive assimilate into the company.
- Schedule the executive’s recurring meetings and activities ahead of time so there will be the least amount of disruption to operations during the transition phase.
The First Week
The objective of the first week is to welcome the executive into the company and introduce him or her to all pertinent stakeholders, direct reports, and employees. In addition, the executive should also gain an overview of the organization’s short- and long-term goals.
- Introduce the executive to the company. While you can do this by means of a general assembly for employees, it’s usually most effective to schedule one-on-one meetings for direct reports and stakeholders.
- Introduce the executive to his or her mentor and/or sponsor.
- Provide the executive with all of the documentation mentioned above. Allow sufficient time for him or her to review.
- Hold a meeting to inform the executive about ongoing initiatives, short- and long-term goals, and any items that are of immediate importance.
- Brief him or her about any recurring meetings or duties.
- The executive should begin to create a strategy based on the organization’s objectives and challenges.
- Check in at the end of the week to address any questions or concerns.
The First Month
During the first month, the executive should learn his or her responsibilities and start to expand the network within and outside of the company. Here’s some advice on how to facilitate that:
- Provide the executive with performance expectations.
- The executive should begin working on his or her daily responsibilities.
- The executive should meet weekly with his or her mentor to discuss and learn about the company culture.
- Provide in-house networking opportunities for the executive to establish relationships within the organization.
- The executive should start connecting with external partners as the new representative of and stakeholder for your company.
- Meet at the end of the month to discuss any feedback, questions or concerns.
Of course, the best onboarding plans don’t stop after one month — even though the new executive should be fully functional by that time. It’s advisable to build out the plan to include three-month, six-month and one-year stages that enable the executive to develop more relationships, strengthen his or her leadership, establish professional development goals and contribute to the organization’s strategy.