Hope is Not a Plan: Here’s How to Make Sure Your Leaders Succeed

Congratulations — you’ve finally found and hired (or promoted!) the perfect person to fill an open position in your organization.

All of the time and resources spent searching, interviewing, and selecting the right candidate are behind you and now it’s time to get them up to speed as quickly as possible so they can be the success you know they can be — and need them to be.

It certainly helps that your organization is rallying behind them and earnestly hopes they’ll succeed.

But is that enough to make sure they do?

Most likely not.

There’s a huge difference between wanting someone to succeed and providing them the support necessary to ensure that they do. But many companies don’t make this distinction.

Often, the process for integrating a newly hired or promoted employee is disconnected from the organizational culture and focuses around a list of goals the employee must achieve in the first six months.

But without framing the first six months of a new role as a transitional period where space is left for acclimation and adjustment, your employee runs the risk of starting off on the wrong foot and becoming frustrated, confused, or disengaged.

Luckily, this can be avoided…if it’s recognized that:

New leaders need support

Anyone in a new role — whether they are a first-time manager or a newly promoted executive — needs guidance. But often, the person who’s assigned as their leader has a limited amount of time and resources available to give. That’s natural — and a given in a busy work environment — but it needs to be taken into consideration when providing true support to your new or promoted employee. A person transitioning into a new role shouldn’t be limited to the amount of guidance their leader’s availability allows.

Supporting a leader accelerates their assimilation and productivity

Transitioning into a new role — and dealing with the challenges and obstacles that come along with that — takes time. It’s unavoidable. But wanting and hoping that a new or transitioning employee assimilates smoothly to their new role does nothing to speed it up. You need a plan. Providing support in the form of sufficient internal mentoring or sustained external coaching, for example, creates a standard that acknowledges that stepping into a new role is indeed a time of transition and learning. This recognition allows your employee to feel more comfortable asking for support, demonstrating their vulnerability as a leader, and ultimately results in a quicker assimilation and increased productivity.

Unsupported hires are attrition risks

When employees receive the support they need to do great work and enjoy their jobs, they stay. When that support is lacking, they are more apt to leave. And every day a position remains open, it costs an organization money. Research cites that the total average cost of voluntary turnover for one position is $109,676.* While some turnover is both healthy and expected in times of low unemployment, these are not costs any organization wants to incur. Investing in support for your new leaders and their teams will make them more successful and return dividends as well.

Moving Forward

So how do you provide the support your newly hired and promoted employees need to be successful? If you don’t already have a plan in place to nurture them from interview through their first year, consider these ideas:

1. Conduct a focus group of recent leaders (over the previous 24 months) and ask what they wish they’d known, what would have been helpful for assimilation, or what particular areas or issues they would’ve appreciated coaching on.

2. Draft a strategy and plan to support newly hired or promoted employees. Remember to identify how you will measure success.

3. Select a pilot group of roles you are working to fill and pilot your plan.

By having a strategy and plan in place to support your newly hired and promoted employees, your organization is far more likely to not only retain them, but help them be more productive, engaged, and content in their roles. And that creates success for everyone.

Heidi Zdrojeski joined CRN in 2016. She has over 25 years experience leading global learning and shared services teams in large financial and manufacturing organizations. She’s also a certified executive and leadership coach.

* Research Bulletin, Talent & Workforce, Employee Engagement, Calculating the True Cost of Voluntary Turnover: The Surprising ROI of Retention, Bersin by Deloitte / Robin Erickson, 2016, Accessed August 2018. HR Factbook 2015: Benchmarks and Trends for U.S. Organizations, Bersin by Deloitte / Karen O’Leonard and Jennifer Krider, 2015.

Originally published at www.coachingrightnow.com on September 24, 2018.



Coaching Right Now works with organizations going through growth, disruption, or change to help them develop their Core Leaders through 1:1 virtual coaching.

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Coaching Right Now

Coaching Right Now works with organizations going through growth, disruption, or change to help them develop their Core Leaders through 1:1 virtual coaching.