Onboarding: an act of transformational leadership

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Author: George Bradt
Date: June 2010
From: People & Strategy(Vol. 33, Issue 2)
Publisher: Human Resource Planning Society
Document Type: Article
Length: 990 words
Lexile Measure: 1120L

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Onboarding is an act of transformational leadership. This is true for both hiring managers and for the new employees themselves. New employees must assimilate into teams and organizations while, at the same time, improving those organizations. This is two-way transformational leadership as organizations transform new employees while new employees are transforming the organizations they are joining.

For their part, hiring managers (direct supervisors of new employees) must be important initiators, drivers and supporters of those transformations as part of their fundamental responsibility to inspire and enable others. For hiring managers, bringing new employees into their teams or organizations is one of the most important investments they make with some of the highest potential impact. In my experience, it is unconscionable how many hiring managers do not take this as seriously as they should.

Exhibit: Hiring Managers' Roles in Onboarding * Producer--Assemble resources. Align stakeholders. Pivot off Total Onboarding Plan. * Director--Partner with new employee to map out Personal Onboarding Plan. * Stage Manager--Announce, introduce, and support behind the scenes.

Digging into hiring managers' roles in acquiring, accommodating, assimilating and accelerating new employees, it is useful to think about what they do across three phases. At first, hiring managers are producers, assembling resources for success. Then, they act as directors, working with new employees to map out onboarding plans. Finally, hiring managers become stage managers, working behind the scenes to support new employees' efforts.


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