How to Retain and Engage Executives Through Strategic Onboarding

By Simpplr Marketing
If you're reading this, you've probably heard of the Great Resignation. This unprecedented movement of professionals quitting their jobs to move to better positions, take time off to spend with family or pursue other personal endeavors hit employee experience professionals unexpectedly and without a plan. In November of 2021 alone, over 4.5 million people decided to go their way - an attrition rate that exceeded pre-pandemic rates with room to spare. Such a drastic shift in the labor economy has created new challenges and opportunities for employee experience professionals to rethink how they hire, retain, and engage employees – especially since the cost of losing each employee can be as much as twice their salary.

Unsurprisingly, most of those participating in the Great Resignation noted their motivations for quitting rooted in their negative experiences as employees. Chiefly, the rethinking of how employees view the relationship with their employer. In the old world, employers incentivized workers with monetary incentives and benefits to motivate productivity. At the same time, employees were de-incentivized to quit their job without cause as the pressures of unemployment and fiscal ruin loomed over their heads. These dynamics stemmed from a market where a surplus of jobs and lack of positions made the risk of leaving a company high.

In our present labor economy, the sands have shifted. In March of 2022 alone, the market saw a chasm of 3 million between the number of open jobs (10.4 million) and candidates searching for a new position (7.4 million). Now more than ever before, the power in the market has shifted to the employee. They call for a fundamental evolution in the employee-employer relationship with that power. While some might rush to think that the Great Resignation has only affected individual contributors or mid-level management, their conclusions would be incorrect. 

Executives have also joined the movement at every level of the senior hierarchy, from Director-level management to C-level executives. The threat facing organizations is losing strategic partners who have designed, and own integral business growth functions are only increasing. The monetary impact to businesses alone is devastating as the cost of losing a C-level executive is 213% of their salary, on average. Employee experience professionals across industries are urgently trying to answer the question, “How can we reshape our executive employee experience to retain and engage them long-term?” To correctly answer that question, one must look at the executive’s employee experience journey from start to finish and identify what is wrong with the traditional model.

Accelerating an Executive’s Time-to-Integration

The first stop? Employee onboarding. Over the years, thought leaders have debated what a successful onboarding process looks like and how to shorten employees’ time-to-launch through accelerated onboarding and more. Most of these conversations focus on the available resources (content, IT necessary for employees to begin delivering outcomes—onboarding experience rather than executive onboarding. A recent survey of executives in the United States indicated that most received no formal onboarding when joining a company. Broadly, the study found executive employees were 35% less likely to go through an onboarding process when compared to the more excellent employee base. 

While both are employed at the same company, the discrepancy in onboarding leaves knowledge-gathering, cultural understanding, and enablement mainly up to the executive to fulfill themselves compared to their counterparts. This failure decreases the long-term organizational agility of the executive and lengthens the executive’s time-to-impact within the organization. Leaving them with a less than satisfactory experience in their first few months with your company can be devastating to the rest of their experience. One tactic employee experience professionals can face this challenge head-on is through a strategic executive onboarding program. 

Strategic executive onboarding programs distill the cultural, functional, and organizational foundations for executives to operate at optimal levels into a clearly defined ramp plan. While every program looks slightly different depending on the organization, the process should include a few key pillars:

  • Functional Onboarding 
    • I understand how to fulfill my role’s desired outcomes and access the resources I need to get my job done.
  • Organizational Onboarding
    • I know the organization, its members, and how to collaborate cross-functionally to move the organization forward.
  • Cultural Onboarding 
    • I know, and I am aligned to the company values and how to promote them within the organization.
  • Product Onboarding
    • I know our product’s use case, its value proposition, and how it impacts the lives of our customers.

To clearly understand what knowledge, connections, and resources are required to fulfill each of these onboarding pillars, employee experience leaders should start by interviewing key leaders to understand what information is viewed as critical to a new executive’s success. The required content should be consolidated into an accessible source of truth and intuitively distributed across the executive’s onboarding journey accordingly. For modern organizations, an employee experience platform can make this process easy to fulfill as content can be stored in one placegoverned through artificial intelligence to ensure its relevance, and distributed to the executive through a personalized experience

Dont forget to share this blog!


Connect with Simpplr