Join Todd Dewett for an in-depth discussion in this video Exploring special cases, part of Onboarding New Hires.
What we've been addressing so far in this course is onboarding for the typical new employee. Now, it might be useful to think about the non-typical employee. There are two types that immediately come to mind. Executives, and people who simply don't fit the common profile found in your workforce. Let's briefly consider each. Executives are a unique case for several reasons. The amount of talent at this level is much more rare. The cost of executive talent is very high, and thus, the risk associated with not selecting and socializing effectively is huge.
Your goal should be to help the new executive get up to speed as quickly as possible after the hiring decision and to help them plan for their initial success. The executives themselves will be very focused on these goals, but as outsiders just now coming in, you're in a position to help them. You can use a peer executive, a professional executive coach, a member of your HR team with strong executive onboarding skills, or a specialized onboarding consulting firm. No matter which resource you choose, the goal is the same.
Create a first quarter success plan. This will initially be about building relationships and learning the business. You can start by connecting them with their main team using social media, emails, and phone calls. That includes their boss, their boss's assistant, their peers, and their direct reports, before they even start work. In addition, you'll want to give them all relevant data about their business unit and the overall organization, so that when they begin, they clearly understand the trends in margins, profits, and so on.
With all of the data absorbed and the key relationships developing, the main task in the first quarter now becomes establishing a quick win. It might be small or it could be large, that depends on the circumstances, but there needs to be a clearly evident win that will help them establish their credibility. That might be a new product launch, a major process change, or the acquisition of additional valuable new talent. Try to plan for this win to build early momentum. Now, the second unique case of onboaring involves people who are different.
There's a lot of research indicating that over time, organizations tend to hire people who look a lot like people who already work there. What this means is that we in some ways become less diverse and interesting, and our capacity for creative decision making is often diminished. That's why progressive executives know they must hire a few people who have great skill, but who are also very different. They somehow don't fit the mold. They look different, they speak different, or maybe they have different educational backgrounds, or different industry backgrounds.
You believe they are smart and capable, but they absolutely approach things in a manner that's not consistent with how things have been done traditionally. People like this can add great value because they stir up the way we make decisions, but, they also pose a risk. You see, groups often protect themselves by shunning people who don't seem to fit. So, their turnover can be high. Your job is to know that this can happen, so that anytime you find great talent that doesn't fit the mold, you have to work before they even start to ensure their success.
This means you have to go talk to their future manager and teammates, and explain exactly why this person is being hired and exactly what your expectations are, in terms of the team helping to make the person successful. When they do start, you have to take extra care to make sure they're becoming properly integrated, accepted, and productive. It's very often true that you occasionally need outside the box thinking. That means you have to find a way to embrace a few outside the box people as well.
Onboarding is a process that should be consistent and repeatable, but it also has to be flexible enough to accommodate a few special cases. With executives and people who don't fit the established mold, you have examples of vitally needed talent that requires a bit of specialized attention, and it's worth it because these are the employees with the ideas and the authority to truly make change happen.
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