Bringing a new leader into your organization, whether a member of the C-suite or a divisional manager, requires careful steps to help them feel equipped and empowered to perform. While your onboarding process can get you part of the way there, you’ll need a plan for integrating new hires into your culture so they can have maximum impact in fulfilling your company vision.
The difference between onboarding and integration
On the surface, it may seem that onboarding and integration are more alike than different. After all, both are critical to the success of any new hire. Onboarding gives new hires the tools and resources necessary to get their bearings in a new role. Similarly, integration helps new hires understand and align with company culture and values.
Despite the similarities between onboarding and integration, they have some key differences. Consider the following:
Onboarding typically includes a time-bound set of activities. It’s a task-driven process that is often managed with a checklist. Occurring from a new hire’s first week to the first 90 days, onboarding is all about introductions. New hires are introduced to the people, processes, and systems that will help them understand the company and how things get done. For new leaders, this is a time to get better acquainted with direct reports and learn about existing team dynamics. Eventually, once new hires are considered fully acclimated, onboarding ends.
Unlike onboarding, integration can be an ongoing process with no set time limit. It can also occur in tandem with onboarding. It’s less about introductions and more about transition; it covers the experiences that help new hires develop critical relationships and become embedded in company culture. Managed with a customizable playbook rather than a one-size-fits-all checklist, integration ultimately enables newly hired leaders to make meaningful change and improvements.
Tips for integrating new talent
Both onboarding and integration are critical to helping new hires transition into their roles and reach peak performance. In a Glassdoor survey, 89 percent of employees who went through effective onboarding said they felt well-integrated into their new company’s culture. However, to put new hires on a path to success, it’s necessary to do more than onboard them. As one onboarding expert wrote in Forbes, “Organizations choose new executives because they have capabilities the rest of the team do not have. If organizations focus just on onboarding new executives into existing teams, they miss opportunities to evolve those teams with the introduction of new executives.”
The following actions can help you integrate new hires and position them to elevate team and company performance:
1. Develop an integration strategy for each new hire
Create and document a formal plan to help new leaders integrate with the business functionally, geographically, and across levels. The plan should include diverse experiences designed to build knowledge and instill a sense of belonging, including cross-function business meetings, workshops, and visits to other company locations. To stay on track, ensure the plan includes critical success metrics and opportunities for regular check-ins to share feedback and assess progress.
2. Boost engagement with other leaders
Offer new hires plentiful opportunities to connect with their peers. Those moments of connection not only help new hires build relationships, but they can also help them understand decision-making dynamics and identify opportunities to exert influence and create change. And there are other benefits: A study summarized in the Harvard Business Review found that new hires with strong peer relationships experienced higher job satisfaction and were less likely to leave the company in their first three years.
3. Provide a support system
Whether through an internal mentor, coach, or less formal “buddy,” new hires need a support system to replace the one they left behind in their previous role. The support system can help new hires understand the “what” of company values and culture and the “why,” thus filling in the blanks about the history behind certain ways of doing things.
4. Communicate expectations
Helping new hires understand expectations isn’t just about defining their performance goals. It also requires pointing out the opportunities they have to create meaningful change, which can include challenging the status quo and conceiving new business opportunities or products. Clarifying what new hires “must do” and what they “could do” empowers them to pursue innovation and creative problem-solving.
Given the time and energy it takes to bring on a new hire, it makes perfect sense to build on that momentum with effective onboarding and integration activities. With the help of experiences and connections tailored to their needs, new hires will be equipped to make a profound impact on your company’s success and growth.
ForceBrands offers end-to-end hiring solutions for all stages of growth. Whether you’re just starting to hire or are looking for the next step in your career, we’re here to help you be a positive Force that makes an impact.