How to set your new senior executive up for success

New senior executive

We already know that retaining high performing employees is tough! But the stakes are even higher when it comes to senior executives.

Unfortunately, the reality is that senior hires have a greater chance of failure when starting a new role – and that’s simply because they face a greater amount of pressure than their junior compatriots.

Assuming they’re new to the company, they may have ‘beaten’ an internal candidate to the post, which may create tension. As it is, the appointment of a new senior executive is often controversial and can be the source of a fair amount of gossip.

This, and the added responsibility that they face in their role, might make them feel more lonely than what a junior hire would. They need to quickly get to grips with the current politics and their team dynamics so that they can move forward with work efficiently.

Being senior, they will be expected to show results fast but of course, they will naturally do things differently to their predecessors which might be met with some level of resistance. After all, people don’t like change.

As a new senior executive, this is all a lot to contend with!

So how can you help your senior executive to perform well?

1. Integrate them into the DNA of your organization, fast!

New senior hires need to win over the trust of their teams, and you can help them to do so by ensuring that they integrate into the DNA of your organization as quickly as possible.

Not only does this strategy help managers connect with and motivate their team members, and become productive, but it also prevents ‘mishaps’ externally.

New senior hires might not, for example, be aware of sensitive client relationships, putting them in a vulnerable position where they might unintentionally say the wrong thing.

Of course, there are plenty of other reasons to get your senior hires integrated quickly – the question is: how?

As we looked at recently, there are three key areas to focus on:

  • Commercial – Plan carefully, and make the effort to properly introduce your new hire and get them plugged into key relationships.
  • Culture – Set up a series of ‘meet-and-greets’, as well as individual and group socials. You could also assign a mentor, peer guide or external coach to your new hire.
  • Operations – Help them to understand your organization’s processes and operations. You could encourage other senior leaders to include them in discussions on operational efforts. It’s also important to offer communication, feedback and support until your new senior is settled.

2. Create a practical checklist to help set them up for success

This checklist can take shape in the form of a new hire integration plan. What is this, exactly? Quite simply, it’s a documented process for ensuring that new hires are given access to everything and everyone they need to become happy, high-performing employees as soon as possible.

In fact, it’s a proven strategy for increasing new hire retention and productivity.

Remember, integration is far more than onboarding. As a norm, integration strategies roll out over a period of six months to two years, so having a checklist will help you keep track of what still needs to be done to get your new senior executive comfortable in their role.

Here’s a quick overview of the activities to include on your integration checklist:

  •  Welcome chats
  • Regular mentor meetings
  • Diversity and inclusion activities
  • Stimulating work gigs
  • The opportunity to align with stakeholders
  • Help in fostering the right social connections
  • Real-time feedback

For more info on each of these points, click here.

3. Help them create a plan for success

 To minimize stress (for your new hire and their team), it’s highly recommended that the senior drafts a plan of action to help guide them through the adjustment period and start delivering results.

A great outline for this is a 30-60-90-day plan.

This type of plan gives a structured overview of the goals the senior executive would like to achieve within their first, second and third months (respectively) on the job.

Some organizations request that a 30-60-90-day plan be presented during the final stage of the interview process, but this could also be recommended to your new hire for their and their team’s benefit when they start their role.

Each month will look different. Below is a summary version of what’s generally plotted out over the first three months. You can read more here.

  • Absorb – During the first 30 days, the new senior hire should make it their objective to observe, learn and understand as much as possible.
  • Contribute – In the next 30 days, they should aim to start showing their ‘personal brand’ by contributing in ways like: increasing their workload, sharing ideas and speaking up in meetings.
  • Lead – When heading towards the 90-day mark, the idea is that the new senior hire should be taking proactive steps in their leadership capacity – they should now be ready to make significant contributions to their team.

 Don’t let your new senior executive slip through the cracks

Knowing that your new hire will be under a great deal of pressure to adjust and start performing in their senior role, you really don’t want to let a talented senior hire fall through the cracks.

You no doubt went to a lot of effort to bring your new senior executive on board, so it’s well worth it to go the extra mile to set them up for success and ensure they stay.

Fortunately, there’s software that can help you to do that!

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