News & Insight
November 2002

Securing Early 'Wins' a Key To Successful Onboarding

Onboarding -- the practice of providing newly appointed executives with individual coaching for their first three to six months -- is becoming more widespread as businesses seek to gain yet another competitive edge.

The faster executives assimilate into new organizations, the faster they can contribute to the growth of their companies.

Few organizations have the perspective of bringing new people on board successfully. They are so focused on recruiting the right candidates that they overlook the benefits of providing new executives with early support or assistance. As a result, many executives fail in their first 12 to 18 months in a new job, and organizations have to begin the process of finding a successor all over again.

Onboard coaching makes supervisors think differently by getting them to articulate expectations. As a result, both supervisors and new subordinates are on the same page from day one, making for a more effective transition.

One strategy that has worked for WJM Associates and its clients is to help newly hired executives assess their priorities and secure "early wins."

In one case, WJM Associates helped a client recognize that it was more beneficial to bring in one or two major new accounts early on, rather than focus on inventory management problems right away. In another case, the firm pointed out that the CEO wanted a new executive to visit production facilities, rather than generate goodwill by giving industry speeches.

These may seem like relatively simple accomplishments, but they went a long way to helping the executives assimilate quickly and successfully into their new organizations.

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