XBInsight Blog

Onboarding Senior Leader's Checklist

A detailed executive onboarding strategy is key for integrating new-leader hires into an organization. Newly hired executives clearly want support. While each organization is different, an effective executive-onboarding program includes several vital elements: clear performance expectations that are routed in strategic priorities, helpful operational overviews, realistic descriptions of the company’s culture and how decisions are made, stakeholder “maps,” coaching and more. Download our checklist for onboarding senior leaders.

Senior Leader Pre-Boarding

  • Provide the executive with:
    • Bios, resumes, org charts, assessment data or team reports for direct reports.
    • Required applications and forms (e.g., benefits, employee manual ethics information, travel card application
  • Work with IT and Facilities to coordinate work space so the executive has an appropriate parking space, office equipment, identification, PDA/Blackberry, computer,  etc.
  • Order business cards.
  • Pre-populate the executive’s calendar with onboarding meetings and conference calls (e.g., meetings with mentor/sponsor/coach, lunch with senior leaders, standard conference calls).
  • Create a list of key stakeholders and executives with name, title, phone number and email address. Provide to the executive on the first day.
  • Assign an executive sponsor. 
  • Assign a mentor.
  • Assign a coach to help the executive progress in his or her current position, as well as with individual development and career goals.
  • Develop a briefing book or website with:
    • Key information about the department (e.g., structure and mission, background, financial information)
    • Organizational chart and employee contact information
    • Photos and bios of key executives
    • List of acronyms
    • Required training information
    • List of recurring meetings
    • Maps and building information
    • Payroll calendar
  • Obtain items with the company logo or brand to give on the first day as welcome gifts
    •  This is a nice touch to say we are glad you are here and you are a part of our team.
  • Executive should provide direct reports and staff with a bio, photo and a letter of introduction

Week 1:

  • Create and review a 30-60-90 day plan and present to executive. Include expectations and milestones.
  • Schedule meetings with company executives in key departments (i.e. legal, marketing, finance, HR, IT)
  • Introduce the executive to direct reports, staff, senior leaders, etc.
  • Conduct an executive briefing, transition meeting or other forum to provide the executive with information about his/her team. The briefing should include: a quick introduction to personnel policies and rules (financial “dos and don’ts”, acquisitions, hiring, firing)
  • Training and information designed to provide initial familiarity with crucial systems and procedures. Introduce the executive to his or her assigned mentor and sponsor.
  • Executive should review the list of key contacts and stakeholders and begin to schedule introductory calls/meetings.
  • Meet with executive to ensure job roles and responsibilities are clearly communicated.
  • Take the executive to lunch.
  • Executive should meet with direct reports and staff in-person or via conference calls.
  • Executive should create an action plan. This can take the form of a set of strategic questions an executive should ask and get the answers to over time, in order to better understand his/her department.

First 30 days: 

  • Conduct a Jump Start meeting including direct reports to assimilate the new leader to his/her team.

  • Finalize the executive’s performance objectives.

  • Executive should create an Executive Development Plan (EDP) with his or her manager and solicit input from coach/mentor.

  • Executive should schedule a formal feedback session with his or her manager and coach/mentor.

  • Facilitate networking opportunities and provide resources to make networking possible.

  • Discuss with the executive his or her individual work styles and preferences.

  • Executive should meet with his or her coach.

  • Executive should seek out unwritten rules (e.g., how to get things done; who can help and who can’t or won’t; what to do and, more importantly, what not to do) with mentor, sponsor and peers.

  • Contact the executive to get feedback on his or her experience after 30 days.

First 90 days
  • Executive should identify professional development opportunities.

  • Executive should develop an action plan.

  • Executive should review performance objectives with his or her manager.

  • Provide the executive with the resources, tools and time to successfully accomplish tasks in this phase.

  • Contact the executive to get feedback on his or her experience after 90 days.

6 to 9 months
  • Executive should engage in a leadership assessment process for developmental purposes and to identify areas for improvement; follow up with coaching and/or an action plan if appropriate.

  • Executive should schedule a formal feedback session with his or her manager.

  • Executive should reflect on his or her role with coach/mentor.

  • Executive should revisit the EDP to assess professional development goals and track progress.

  • Provide the executive with the resources, tools and time to successfully accomplish tasks in this phase.

  • Contact the executive to get feedback on his or her experience after 6 months.

1 Year
  • Executive should revisit the EDP to assess professional development goals and track progress.

  • Contact the executive to get feedback on his or her experience after 6 months.

  • Executive should complete a 360° assessment (or other leadership assessment process) in addition to the annual performance appraisal.

  • Executives should develop a roadmap for long-term success.

  • Contact the executive to get feedback on his or her experience after 1 year.

Topics: Succession Planning, onboarding