Tuesday, December 30, 2008

When the Dew Comes Off the Rose

Moving to a new organization is an exhilarating time. A clean slate! A fresh start! No baggage! A shiny new boss that just picked you from hundreds of candidates in a hiring process!

Yes, it's an exciting time. This post focuses on the relationship with the "shiny new boss" and how this relationship often morphs very quickly and the "dew comes off the rose".

The recruitment process is by nature a courtship. We put on our best clothes, we emphasize our most attractive qualities and we bring our respective lists of what we are looking for in the other party—candidate or employer. In the role of hiring manager, the boss wants to be respected and admired. In a competitive market for top talent, he recognizes that his management style is part of the “attraction offer”. It’s a rare hiring manager that completely lets down his guard in the recruitment process and reveals all of his leadership faults.

So… you are wooed! This boss appears to be everything you are looking for. Everything your current manager (whom you’ve known for the past five years) is not. All the qualities you listed as being important to you in a manager, he miraculously seems to have. You can’t wait to be mentored by this perfect boss.

Then a couple of weeks into your new job, the dew begins to come off the rose.

Once the orientation meetings that were pre-booked by HR are no longer being added to your calendar, you can’t seem to get the boss’ ear. He travels so much and always seems to be closeted in critical meetings with the executive team.

The parts of YOUR job description that he used to handle have not been delegated to you yet and the annual budget process is starting in two weeks. You don’t have a clue of what’s been spent in current year on the budget line that you were supposed to inherit.

Your boss always seemed so patient and respectful in the interview process, yet lately he has been edgy and curt.

You have a sinking feeling that your new manager is not the ideal boss you thought he was afterall.

In my coaching of leaders in the first few months of their new role—during the onboarding phase—this scenario is repeated all too often. Many clients find themselves waking up to a reality of a boss relationship that is not what they had dreamt of finding in their new role.

It’s been my experience that the clients who are most successful in coming out the other side of this disappointment are those that take the following approach:

1. Face Up. Your Boss is Human Too
2. Have a Discussion About Mutual Expectations
3. Decide if the Gap Is Workable

In my next blog post, I will elaboarate on each of these 3 steps.

Stay tuned!

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Thursday, December 11, 2008

Onboarding & Social Networks

It's exciting to see the exponential growth of social networking activity in this field. It wasn't long ago that I could only identify 1 small group in LinkedIn that was established to address the topic of Onboarding.

Now, there are numerous Fortune 500 companies that have established sites explicitly for new hires in a given year. It's a great way to create a cohort to foster connectivity-- particularly important for engagement and retention of your Millenial hires. But the value cuts across generations and organizational levels. Everyone craves a feeling of belonging when they're the "new kid on the block".

There are also social networks cropping up for participants in various conferences related to the topic of onboarding.

As I've observed this growth in activity (from a time when I began working in this niche four years ago and had to spell the word "onboarding" each time I mentioned it)...I still notice a couple of gaping holes in the social networking scene related to onboarding. So, I've just launched 3 LinkedIn Groups in an attempt to address these holes.

1) New Hires- Clearing the 90-Day Hurdle: This is a public forum supporting entry level and professional new hires across a broad spectrum of industries. I'll draw from work with clients and research on success factors & derailers in the first 90 days to lead discussion groups and foster connectivity between fellow new hires.

2) New Managers- Clearing the 90-Day Hurdle: This is a similar public forum addressing the unique needs of leaders and managers as they join new organizations or ramp-up in a new role and face enormous pressures to perform.

3) Onboarding Best Practices: This group is a forum for Onboarding specialists, HR professionals and Recruiters who are passionate about raising the bar for preboarding and onboarding experiences of new hires and their managers.

I'm looking forward to stimulating discussions and plenty of sharing in the months ahead!

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