24 Apr

Holding Executive Recruiters To A Higher Standard

Congratulations!  After partnering with an executive search firm to identify and recruit the best candidates for your position and company, you just reached agreement with your candidate of choice.  Once the offer is accepted, a final invoice is generated and the executive search consultant moves on to their next assignment, (hoping that the new hire stays put).

With executive failure rates1,2 bumping along at about 40% over the last eight years, more needs to be done to help ensure the new hire makes a successful transition from candidate to a fully integrated member of his/her team and the company.  A recent study3 by Egon Zehnder highlighted the importance of an effective onboarding process in determining an executive’s success in a new role.  In partnership with Michael Watkins, a nationally recognized author and leading expert on accelerating transitions, they developed an “Onboarding Effectiveness Assessment” which an organization can use to improve their internal onboarding and integration processes.

While we agree with the premise of their study, and we applaud the focus on effective onboarding processes, we believe that the search firm needs to be a more involved and invested partner in ensuring their candidate’s success.  Our experience has convinced us (and our clients as well) that a more supportive, proactive approach by the search partner can dramatically increase the probability of a successful transition. It also strengthens the relationship between the company and the search firm, and it maximizes the ROI for both the client company and the search firm.

At Kinsley|Sarn Executive Search, we stay engaged with our candidates to ensure they have the tools, insights and understanding necessary to make a successful transition to their new opportunity. For more than ten years, (and for no additional fee), we have included with each search placement our three-step “Transition Success” process. Our process includes the following steps:

Step 1. Critical Success Profile (CSP) – using the Search Profile as a foundational document, we conduct additional interviews with key stakeholders to prepare a CSP that provides the new hire valuable information to facilitate their assimilation and integration. Most importantly, the CSP provides clarity on the key deliverables upon which success will be measured, helping the new hire focus and plan accordingly.

Step 2. New Leader Assimilation Workshop – The purpose of this facilitated workshop is to accelerate the new hire’s awareness and understanding of the challenges and opportunities they will face in their new role. The workshop provides a forum for team members to get to know their new colleague or leader and it enhances their understanding of the new hire’s leadership style and background. In turn, the new hire learns about his/her team’s views of current and potential issues, as well as their specific concerns, interests and/or questions. We facilitate the workshop, and we coach the new hire throughout their transition providing guidance in dealing with any assimilation challenges and sharing the best practices we have learned from our more than ten years’ experience successfully guiding our candidates through their transition.

Step 3. Executive Assessment – After approximately ninety (90) days in the new role, qualitative 360-degree feedback is gathered for the new hire through interviews with appropriate respondents. The purpose is to provide the new hire with early feedback on their progress in assimilating to their new role and to the company’s culture. While preserving the confidentiality of the respondents, the new leader receives feedback on what is going well and, most importantly, opportunities to improve their fit and positive impact.

This robust, proven process enables quick and effective transitions by clarifying expectations, establishing clear lines of communication, and providing actionable feedback to better ensure success. In our experience, this process also accelerates engagement, which has a direct correlation to stronger operating income4 and earnings per share5.

If you are looking to achieve a strong ROI on your executive recruiting and would like a partner whose consultants and processes who are not just focused on their own bottom line, please give us a call. We’d love to earn your business.

1Masters, B. (2009, March 30). Rise of a Headhunter. Financial Times
2Smith, J., (2015, March 2) 4 Common Reasons Half of all New Executives Fail. Business Insider.
3Scanlon, Scott(2017, April 20) Why Onboarding is Key to a Successful Recruiting Strategy. Hunt Scanlon Media
4MacLeod, D, Clarke, N (2017). Executive Recruiting for Dummies
5Gallup, (2013). State of the Global Workplace.

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