Should Your Onboarding Process Change Depending on the Seniority of the Hire?

Onboarding programmes are an extremely valuable part of your business’ human resource strategy. As well as boosting staff retention, they also help to make sure that your employees are productive and able to share their talents with the business as quickly as possible.  

When you are bringing more senior members of staff to the business, onboarding is still very important. Although they will have plenty of experience, they will still be as new to your company as any other new hire and will need an introduction to your processes. But will they require the same onboarding programme as other members of staff? 

Onboarding Senior Hires 

Your onboarding programme for senior hires should include: 

  • Immersion in company culture. Rather than just explaining company culture, you should have things in place to show the company culture in action, such as meetings and events. 
  • Introduction to processes and policies. These need to be in-depth to ensure that your new hire has the knowledge to identify solutions. 
  • Knowledge share. Your new leaders will benefit from discussions with departing executives so that they understand the ongoing projects, daily work and any problems that need to be immediately addressed. If a face-to-face conversation with the person who is leaving is not possible, a recorded video interview can be very helpful. 
  • Conversations with new colleagues. It is extremely important for a new leader to have the opportunity to talk to not only the members of their own team, but also stakeholders from across the business. This will give them insight into the working of the company that won’t necessarily come from standard training and helps them to build valuable relationships. 

How Should This Be Different from Junior Hires? 

With junior hires, there may be much more focus throughout the onboarding process on the skills that they need to carry out the job effectively, for example, through a training programme. Your senior hires should already have the knowledge that they need to do the job – what is much more important is a focus on the company values and culture, and an overview of the projects that they will be working on. Don’t make the mistake of thinking this can be a very quick process – the longer the onboarding, the happier and more confident your new leader will be, and the better the quality of work they will carry out.  

When you plan your onboarding programme for senior hires, consider these tips: 

  • If you can, begin onboarding before they start working. Allow plenty of opportunities for them to contact stakeholders and ask candid questions. 
  • Allow them time to get used to the company, as you would for any other hire. Don’t expect them to dive in and work on complex projects straight away. 
  • Give them a mentor – preferably someone who has worked in that role previously, or another successful leader. 

You can find out how to build an onboarding strategy here.