ATD Blog

Prepare for Your New Employees' Success Before You Start Recruiting

Friday, December 23, 2016

The first blog post in this series offered an overview of how to develop a total onboarding program. In this post, let’s discuss how to get stakeholders to support your new program and prepare new employees for success before day 1. 

Build the Business Case 

Implementing a total onboarding program requires effective change management. It begins with the business case.

The case for systematic onboarding is clear; 40 percent of new leaders fail in their first 18 months. Using a systematic onboarding process, my clients have experienced less than a 5 percent failure rate. The secret? Paying close attention to planning for success before and during the first 100 days using a consistent process.

A successful shift to total onboarding requires champions who often come from human resources. These champions courageously present the business case and prepare easy-to-understand onboarding processes, such as 100-day-plan tools and early-meeting agendas. By presenting and piloting these processes, the champions can show leadership and the program’s value by demonstrating speed to performance among employees using these onboarding approaches. 

Create a Recruiting Brief 

Start at the beginning and visualize the end. New employees need a clear understanding of their roles and expectations as they begin their new jobs. The process of onboarding planning with the hiring leader leads to new and better thinking about how to ensure success in the new role. The recruiting brief includes what success looks like and what it will take to succeed. 


Send a Message to Candidates and New Employees  

The recruiting brief for the organization includes how to integrate onboarding into the talent acquisition process. Onboarding is a competitive advantage for your recruiters and your organization. By having an early version of an onboarding plan, the recruiter can provide an accurate job preview. By having an onboarding program in place, the recruiter can make it clear to recruits that your organization is committed to the success of the new employee. 

Create an Onboarding Plan 

The onboarding plan helps you to think about expectations and the keys for success. The hiring leader and the new employee’s meeting to discuss the onboarding plan provides a foundation for achievement and success. By being prepared and showing concern, the hiring leader establishes a partnership, conveying the organization’s commitment to the new employee’s success.  


Align Stakeholders 

A critical element in the new employee’s success is relationships with key stakeholders. New employees should all have a set of partners who will form their network for achievement. An effective onboarding process includes a stakeholder interview and meeting process that identifies the right people and the right questions to ask. The onboarding plan should focus on building that stakeholder network through early meetings that emphasize learning over having all the answers.  

Give Employees and Managers a Head Start 

A head start gives the new employee and the hiring manager a leg up on performance. It benefits the organization and key stakeholders. By implementing a consistent onboarding with high commitment from organizational leadership, human resources, the hiring leader, and the new employee, we build momentum for success.

About the Author

George Bradt has a unique perspective on transformational leadership based on his experience as a business leader, consultant, and journalist. He progressed through sales, marketing, and general management roles around the world at companies including Unilever, Procter & Gamble, Coca-Cola, and J.D. Power’s Power Information Network spin-off as chief executive. Now he is a principal of CEO Connection and managing director of the executive onboarding group PrimeGenesis.

George is a graduate of Harvard and Wharton (MBA), co-author of four books on onboarding, including The New Leader’s 100-Day Action Plan, and co-author of a weekly column on, The New Leader’s Playbook.

About the Author

Ed Bancroft is part of the executive onboarding group PrimeGenesis, which helps new leaders and teams get done in their first 100 days what would normally take six to 12 months, jump-starting strategic, operating, and organizational processes and reducing new leader failure rates from 40 to 5 percent. He is co-author of Onboarding, The Total Onboarding Program, and The New Leader’s 100-Day Action Plan.

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