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Onboarding Strategies

Podcast with author and PrimeGenesis founder, George Bradt

George Bradt, PrimeGenesis George Bradt

Welcome to rewind 09 - here on TotalPicture Radio, we're replaying some of the most memorable podcasts from 2009 - Today we're rewinding one of the most popular interviews from last year -- our podcast with George Bradt founder and managing director of PrimeGenesis. Bradt the author of numerous books on Onboarding.

This interview is particularly relevant for executives who've recently accepted a new position, are currently in a job search, as well as hiring managers, recruiters and HR professionals. Our focus: The Second Edition of The New Leader's 100-Day Action Plan: How to Take Charge, Build Your Team, and Get Immediate Results.

Our conversation with George Bradt first aired in March of 2009. According to our guest, George Bradt, founder and managing director of PrimeGenesis, "Moving into a new job is among the toughest career challenges you'll face. Half of newly hired executives fail within 18 months. Many, many more new employees simply fail to distinguish themselves."

George is the author of The New Leader's 100-Day Action Plan: How to Take Charge, Build Your Team, and Get Immediate Results - the Second Edition was just published by Wiley. I interviewed George in 2007, when the first edition of the book was released.

The Second Edition includes 40% new material and updates -- including new and updated downloadable forms -- plus:

  • A new chapter on positioning yourself for a leadership role
  • A new chapter on what to do after the first 100 days
  • A new chapter on getting promoted from within and what to do then

Before interviewing an author, I like to go on Amazon.com and read some customer reviews. Here's an excerpt from one reviewer of The New Leader's 100-Day Action Plan, Stephen Denny:

"I joined a company many years ago -- hot brand name, great technology, high riding stock price -- only to find out upon arrival that 1) the job I was promised wasn't agreed upon by other stakeholders, 2) that there were others in the company who also had 'my job', and 3) my boss was about to get fired. I left after seven months. Had I spent 15 minutes with this book, I could have unlocked a few of these secrets ahead of time. You live and learn, but you don't always have to learn the hard way."

I think a number of us can relate on a personal level, to Mr Denny's experience. The PrimeGenesis team have found there is a huge difference between the leader who has a plan, hits the ground running, and makes an impact on his first day on the job, and the executive who walks through the door, expecting a plan to be in place. Good luck with that concept.

Onboarding is the process of interviewing, hiring, orienting and successfully integrating new hires into the organization's culture. The best onboarding strategies will provide a fast track to meaningful, productive work and strong employee relationships. Onboarding activities begin pre-hire through effective and accurate recruitment communications, followed by an interviewing and screening process that increases the success rate of position acceptance. The orientation of new hires starts prior to the employee's start date and usually is extended through (at least) the first 6 months of employment. Onboarding is applicable to promotional opportunities within organizations, and strategies implemented to promote and orient company veterans to new roles follow the same time-line.

What you do (and how you do it) before and during your first 100 days in a new job absolutely determines your chance for success. Studies report that 40-50% of newly appointed executives last less than 18 months. With statistics like that you can't afford to be casual.

The New Leader's 100-Day Action Plan is really a workbook, with detailed, step-by-step action plans to guide you through the first 100 days in a new job. Obviously, this book is written for executives in leadership roles, but I think any professional can benefit from using the PrimeGenesis methodology - and knowing the difference between onboarding and "employee orientation." If your starting a new job and onboarding has not been part of the process, buy this book and onboard yourself!

George Bradt Biography

George Bradt, Founder and Managing Director, has a unique perspective on helping executives accelerate transitions based on his combined senior line management and consulting experience. Prior to founding PrimeGenesis, George served as chief executive of J.D. Power and Associates' Power Information Network spin off and in general management, marketing and sales at Coca-Cola in Europe and Asia, Procter & Gamble and Lever Brothers. AB Harvard; MBA Wharton.

Talking Points

  • In today's economy, onboarding has become critical. No one can afford to make a mistake, especially at an executive level. However, onboarding is a concept with lots of interpretation. I think it would be helpful if you explained what the term means to your organization.
  • Considering the job market – or lack thereof – I would imagine many candidates would jump at just about any job offer they received. What's your advice?
  • In addition to the second edition of The New Leader's 100-Day Action Plan, you have another book coming out this year, Onboarding: How to Get Your New Hires Up to Speed in Half the Time. Give us a preview.
  • You've also launched two online initiatives: called newjobprep.com, and TotalOnboardingProgram.com – can you give us an overview of these services?
  • I'd like to share three questions from the "Opportunity Audit," taken from the newjobprep.com web site: Why does the job exist? Why was the position created in the first place? What needs to be accomplished in the position? – George, these are excellent questions to ask in a job interview – but give us some insight on how these are used.
  • What advice can you give to those in the interview process. Let's say I'm one of three finalists being considered for an executive position. What can I do to enhance my chances?
  • Let's flip the coin: What are some of the most common inefficiencies you see in the hiring process? What do companies consistently do that has you shaking your head?
  • Your onboarding program uses a 5 step process – Align, Acquire, Accommodate, Assimilate, and Accelerate. Which of these have you found that companies skip over?
  • Reality check, George. At an executive level, how long is it taking from first interview to offer letter? Is this different than last year?
  • You've also started an Onboarding Prep Workshop – give us an overview. Where are these programs offered?
  • What haven't I asked that you would like to share with the audience?
Peter Clayton

About Peter Clayton

Peter Clayton, Producer/Host, is an award-winning producer/director of radio, television, documentary, video, interactive and Web-based media who has created breakthrough media for a wide array of Fortune 100 clients.


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