Being new at anything is both a stressful and an exciting situation. When it comes to management positions, the excitement is most often shadowed by all the challenges they pose. This is why onboarding is an essential step in ensuring a smooth and short transition for all involved.
Although integration programs are in place for most new hires, companies tend to neglect implementing them for newly appointed managers.
Whether they have been promoted from within the organizations or hired from outside, it seems everyone expects them to have reached a certain level of expertise that will allow them to perform flawlessly and without effort. Rather than being a vote of confidence, it adds a lot of pressure to an already not very comfortable situation.
There are a few things to be done in order to take some of the edge off and create the optimal conditions for these high level new hires to perform.
Onboarding should start with the first interview
It’s a common misconception that onboarding begins on the first day on the job – with the showing of the workspace, creation of users and optionally watching of the inspirational clips on the company’s mission and culture.
What should be happening instead is for the candidate to be thoroughly informed about the job description, the prerequisites and objectives of the position during the first discussion. Honesty on both sides is very important at this point as being aware both of his strong points and of the challenges to come will make the new manager a lot more confident on that first day on the job.
Information is power and in this case can also provide peace of mind and a very clear path to be followed. During later interviews, once it becomes apparent who the right person for the job is, transparent discussions about the team to be lead and its dynamic should also take place. It will let the manager know not only what but who he is getting on board with.
First impressions count
It’s true that judging a book by its cover is not advisable (unless it’s “The Manly Art of Knitting” – that one is safe to judge by both the cover and the title) but the truth is that first impressions matter.
You might think that since we are talking about mangers, not entry-level new-hires, wowing them about your organization (if they are recruited from outside) or about their new job or team if they are internally promoted is not as important. Especially since they have been around, meeting their expectations is very important.
It is best if the person who did the hiring is there on the first day with a smile and encouraging words. The team members should also be given some inside information about who the new boss is, where he is coming from and what his interests are. Leaving stuff to the imagination usually gives birth to very interesting but not very constructive speculations.
Showcase your company culture
As Simon Sinek so eloquently put it, people did not follow Martin Luther King on account of his “I have a plan” speech but his “I have a dream speech”. If you hire people only because they can do the job you need them to do, they will work for the money. But if you hire those who believe what you (or better said your organization) believes they will give their all with much better results.
This sense of purpose or greater goal is especially important to the new generations – and they are undoubtedly the new leaders. Millennials will not put effort into something that doesn’t speak to them. Stating the company’s vision right off the bat and showing pride in it will ensure that whoever will fill that open management position will bring added value to the organization and be in it for the long haul – and that’s no small thing for the Y generation.
Assign a mentor
Mentoring is not a modern invention. It actually goes back to mythological times when the old and wise Mentor advised the young and bold Odysseus. As the story goes, the mentee managed to get very far and overcame a lot of tricky situations.
Having an older and more experienced manager act as such a valuable adviser goes much beyond onboarding – though in itself the process does take longer than a day or two. As I have stated at the beginning of this article, finding oneself in a new managerial position can be very stressful. The aid of a more experienced manager who knows the ropes around the organization can prove a lifesaver in many cases.
Good leadership is essential for business success. Finding the right person for a management job is the first step but the process should go far beyond that. It’s the only way to make sure they will not only fill a position but give their best to your organization.
Raluca Cristescu is a Faculty of Letters graduate with over ten years of experience in corporate training, focused mainly on soft skills for customer service and direct sales.