C-Suite Onboarding from Top to Bottom

Published On: March 2, 2021Categories: Onboarding Articles

[Editor’s Note: Today’s post comes from Cliff Stevenson, Principal Analyst, Talent Acquisition and Workforce Management, for Brandon Hall Group]

When we speak of “onboarding,” we often use it as a blanket term for the activities employees go through when they begin a new role through hiring, promotion, or lateral moves. But in reality, different employees are — and should be — treated differently. This is not an issue of anyone being more important, it’s that different types of employees need different onboarding activities, and not just in the type of content used but in the actual way onboarding is structured.

One area that often gets overlooked is C-Level hires. During the pandemic, this became a serious concern because the amount of connections and personal time a C-Level hire needs is often much greater than what is required for line workers or top managers. While this seems obvious, it also is backed up by data from a recent study, Full-time Flexibility – conducted by Rival, formerly SilkRoad Technology and OnePoll.

Within a study of C-level executives that began a new job during the pandemic:

That is an extraordinary percentage of C-level executives, but it isn’t better for regular office workers that started a new job during the pandemic, for them:

The cost of bad onboarding is severe and can range from not being altogether bought into the company culture to being a bad hire — one that is not only less than fully engaged but actively disengaged, affecting other employees’ morale and productivity. Consider the impact on C-Suite leaders responsible for conveying the organization’s culture and values to other employees and the effect it can have on those executives’ ability to collaborate, recognize employees’ accomplishments or be cultivate an inclusive environment.

The solution is not to shift the focus of your onboarding efforts from front-line employees, but to think about onboarding customization and personalization. In Brandon Hall Group’s Impact of Strategic Onboarding study, when asked what features of their onboarding technology did not address the business issues raised by the pandemic, the most common answer — by far — was personalization/customization, with 44% of organizations naming that feature (or the lack thereof).

It’s hard not to see a link between the ability to create more personal and meaningful onboarding experiences and the results from the Full-time Flexibility study; without the ability to make connections remotely or to receive the specialized training and information needed for a job as all-encompassing as a C-Suite role, many organizations will lack the strategic vision to be agile in what is sure to be a volatile year. Any organization looking to give themselves a long-term chance at success must improve their processes and technology for supporting executives during the onboarding process.