My paper at university was on Onboarding, it is a topic that I find interesting and now working for a business that offers a great deal of support and expertise on transitioning executives into new or larger roles, I find myself wondering why it is only a few organisations invest wisely in this vital time in an executives life cycle.
Reading this article it was good to see that my findings were corroborated in that firstly effective onboarding is not simply an induction. Also, we often need a shift in thinking as to where our energies are best spent helping someone to find their feet in a new position.
For example most business will be most thorough in the administrative dealings that must inevitably happen, however where they are most lax is in organisational socialisation, both with peers and culture.
Another area this article agrees with me is that when starting a new role, expectations around performance need to be clear, what I would add is that this should include personal impact and behaviours. Interesting when both this article and many other researchers suggest that cultural misalignment is a key driver for executives moving on.
My thoughts now are the same a when I wrote the paper, when we invest all this time in employer branding, exec search and induction why not see it through with effective transitioning and give our new people the best chance of success?
It doesn’t help that the term “onboarding” is not well defined or understood. In many companies it refers mainly to completing the required documents, allocating space and resources, and providing mandatory training, usually in technical areas such as compliance. These things involve little or no time investment from senior management and do nothing to help leaders clear the biggest hurdles they will face in their new roles: cultural and political challenges.