How to Make Sure a New Hire Feels Included from Day One

Beth was promoted to senior vice president at a Fortune 500 company. In addition to her existing responsibilities, she was given two new groups to manage. Overnight, her team doubled in size. Beth needed to hire senior executives to help manage her burgeoning division.

Within five months, she had her senior management team in place: four external hires and six internal executives who had worked with Beth for many years. Beth asked me to interview the team members to discover what each person thought about the opportunities and challenges within the business and how they felt about other members of the leadership team.

When Beth and I reviewed the interview findings, we found that trouble was brewing. The external hires already felt muted and isolated.

A schism had developed in the executive team between the newcomers and the people who had an existing relationship with Beth. Veteran team members already knew each other and had worked together frequently; they rarely took the time to meet with the newcomers. Consequently, the new hires were hesitant to speak up.

Beth was overwhelmed with her newly expanded responsibilities, and because she was confident in her new hires’ abilities, she had prioritized external meetings instead of spending more time connecting with them.

Everyone on the team was excited about the business and the market opportunity. They were highly skilled and well-intentioned professionals. However, they weren’t yet operating as an integrated team. Given the team dynamics, the new hires were starting to question whether they had made the right choice and whether Beth was even interested in hearing from them.

Beth’s team was on the precipice; they could easily plummet into dysfunction. Studies show that a staggering 50-70% of newly hired managers and executives fail at their new jobs and leave within 18 months. Losing a newly hired executive can cost up to three times that executive’s salary. More importantly, a loss of trust and confidence in leadership teams can affect employee morale, turnover, service, quality, processes, and much more.

Beth and I crafted a strategy to create a foundation for a new group culture that would better integrate newcomers and current executives. The goals were to keep both parties engaged with their mission and to retain the new hires. The strategy we developed can be used by any executive to engage new hires, create healthy team dynamics, and seamlessly transition to a new group culture.

Read the full article @ Harvard Business Review

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