Elements of a Strong On-Boarding Program for Diverse Executives

By Etheline Desir | Desir Group

The importance of a strong on-boarding program to positively influence employee retention cannot be overemphasized. At the Desir Group, we begin to discuss on-boarding at the early stages of the search process to uncover and alleviate anything that could derail the new executive’s success.

I will share an example of a successful on-boarding program that one of our clients used. It was our first search engagement with this academic medical center. We were tasked with recruiting an accomplished, bright, confident, highly personable and diverse Vice President to join a homogeneous leadership team. The process resulted in tremendous success and a six-year tenure. Our client, the Executive Vice President, took the entire search and on-boarding process very seriously initiating steps on their end to support a successful outcome that included:

1. Making the entire interview process (3 interviews) an honest, transparent, meaningful and memorable experience for the candidate, setting the right expectations up front;

2. Garnering input and consensus from senior leadership on the selection of and commitment to supporting this young man who came from a totally different culture;

3. Ensuring key leaders understood that the new diverse hire was of high potential and would need further coaching, mentoring and honest, timely feedback;

4. Selecting an outside coach for the new executive as well as an internal relatable buddy to help the new executive with assimilation and navigation of the complex environment;

5. Making sure the new executive clearly understood short- and long-term position expectations with major imperatives put in writing to be accomplished for the first six and 12 months (this critical success factor is often overlooked);

6. Providing new executive with honest feedback about opportunities for growth based on the selection panel’s review of performance;

7. COO and wife taking the candidate to dinner to get more comfortable on a personal level;

8. Putting the new hire on payroll two weeks prior to his starting date to ensure that the candidate met open enrollment on day one of employment;

9. Assigning an administrative assistant to coordinate details including employee orientation, office and email setup, meet and greet itinerary for the first two weeks as well as luncheons, dinners and a welcome basket;

10. Connecting the new hire with like-minded community leaders to help with acclimation within the community.

We would be delighted to assist you with establishing a comprehensive on-boarding process that targets your organization’s specific needs and promotes executive retention.

For further information, questions and/or comments, email dsearch@desirgroup.com.