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Saturday, September 11, 2010

Onboarding: Introduction

THIS WEEK: Onboarding: How to Get Your New Employees Up to Speed in Half the Time by George Bradt and Mary Vonnegut (Wiley, 2009). Reviewed by Steve Gladis, Ph.D.

“We’ve found that 40% of executives hired at the senior level are pushed out, fail or quit within 18 months….,” says Kevin Kelly CEO of Heidrick and Struggles, an executive search firm. Also, “…as many as 50% of new employees fail to deliver on what their organizations expect (Topgrading by Brad Smart quoted in Onboarding, p. 5). Now, if those aren’t attention getters, I’m not sure what is. Having watched this phenomenon up close from within organizations and from the outside as an executive coach, this cultural phenomenon might be one of the biggest issues facing executive leadership in organizations today, including the federal government. In fact, the authors note that such costly executive exits are caused by four key failures:
--Role failure (people are unclear about their new role);
--Personal failure (lack of ability or fit by the new person);
--Relationship failure (early missteps with critical colleagues);
--Engagement failure (missed opportunities in the early days).

The authors have pulled together a very readable guide for any organization wanting to recruit and retain top talent. Their simple overview instructions:
1. Align (agreement on need for the position);
2. Acquire (recruit the best person for the job);
3. Accommodate (give new recruit the tools for success);
4. Assimilate (help them get to know others quickly);
5. Accelerate (assist them to deliver results quicker).

So many careers are made, and unfortunately broken, in the very early days, often before the employee even steps into the building because of critical onboarding oversights. The corporate landscape is FULL of such unfortunate failures. And the cost is huge. Research out of Harvard shows the cost to be staggering for companies, and the destruction it does to improperly onboarded employees is devastating.

Get this book and use it before you bring another employee on board.

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