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BY NANCY SWAIN, Practice Leader, Career NSwain76-12-0001Transitions/Outplacement

The days in which a new executive could take their time to learn what he or she needed to know about the company is over. Those blissful weeks or months when you were not really expected to deliver any results but just “get to know” the people and the culture, be out and about and take advantage of community activities — like a honeymoon.

Well, there is no honeymoon and no real time to “enjoy the moment” before substantive results are expected. The day you show up for work, the honeymoon is over and reality begins. So, I want to make the case for effective onboarding.

After a company has invested upwards of $40,000, or much more, working with a recruiter to get the right person for the job, it makes no sense not to assist the new hire in establishing a solid foundation to build their success on. It’s a win-win!

As we know, healthcare reform has created a climate where senior executives are increasingly driven by the bottom line, shareholder expectations, and government regulation. There is precious little time to adapt to the culture. Onboarding is NOT Orientation. It’s nice to help a new hire find their way around the physical facility, it’s yet another matter to help them “find their way around”.

According to Forbes, 40% of new hires are pushed out, fail or quit within 18 months. It’s expensive not only to the bottom line but also to morale.

This transition period for a new executive is often one of the most challenging times in his or her professional life. The new hire must contribute to productivity and outcomes, as well as oversee direct reports and assist them in their success. All of this while he or she is adjusting to not only a new position in a new culture but often in a new city, a new house, putting their children in new schools, and so on.

The importance of successful onboarding should be well understood and the practice should be standard. Too often, the success of the new executive seems to be left to chance. The newly hired executive needs the support of formal customized and personal onboarding that will help them establish key relationships, align with company culture, bring role clarity, offer counsel, provide warning indicators, and accelerate integration into the leadership team.

If you are a new hire or are looking for your next position, be sure to ask what the onboarding program is. You would never go on an adventurous vacation without knowing something about the place, the hotel, the sights to see, the culture, the currency, the weather, the population, the transportation options, the food, the history, the people, the language, and “things you must do” recommendations. Yet, a new hire walks into a position as “the chosen one”, with good intentions and a bundle of skills hoping to maneuver their way to success.

Remember, it’s onboarding NOT orientation.


More About Nancy Swain

Ms. Swain directs JohnGSelf + Partners’ Transition Coaching practice and serves as the Firm’s behavioral and values interview consultant. She brings more than 25 years of extensive and diverse experience in counseling, public speaking, education, training, sales, and career transition coaching.

Previously, Ms. Nancy Swain, President and Founder of Strategic Intelligence, Inc. has been a senior executive in sales and marketing for multiple healthcare companies and has provided career coaching for out-placed, terminated, or simply unhappy individuals at all levels of organizations. She has developed tools and processes necessary for individuals to have the skills to truly manage their careers. In addition, she was a founding contributor and board member of Hire Heroes USA, a not-for-profit dedicated to assisting transitioning soldiers from military to civilian careers. Strategic Intelligence, Inc. was chosen to provide the career transition services for 250+ outplaced employees during the MedAssets / Broadlane acquisition.

Her career coaching and “Value Proposition Workshop” is grounded in a master’s degree in counseling from Western Kentucky University, and a broad-based career in sales and marketing. Ms. Swain was an instructor at the Cox School of Business at Southern Methodist University, Dallas, from 1998 through 2003 teaching Career Management, Organizational Change, Human Resources Administration, and Business Communications.  She has facilitated career transition workshops and provided executive leadership coaching for multiple corporations in all industries including privately held and Fortune 15.

During her career, she had a private counseling practice and was founder of two successful consulting firms designed to improve personal and professional competencies. Ms. Swain has developed and facilitated a broad range of customized training and development programs for various business and industry enterprises such as: MedAssets, Voluntary Hospitals of America, Kinetic Concepts, GTE, AT&T, Kodak, Unisys, Lincoln Properties, Owens and Minor, IMCO, SKB, Right Management Inc., Abbott Laboratories, Scott Paper, Dallas Community Colleges, Kim Dawson Modeling Agency, Cardinal Health, Time Warner, The MED Group, Sabre, Motorola, Hire Heroes USA, Staff Care, StratCenter and Right Management.

Nancy was the founding contributor to the VHA Supply Sales Division with a $1.2 billion dollar P & L. She also held the position of Southwest Sales Manager for Cardinal Health, a $60 billion global provider of healthcare services, and also founded the telesales and member services division of The MED Group in conjunction with a 4-year contract to increase GPO membership by 50% in the DME market.

About the Firm

JohnGSelf + Partners provides an integrated suite of talent management services – talent acquisition, talent planning, leadership development, executive coaching, and team building. Together, we’ll help you identify, develop, and retain the business and clinical leadership needed to take your organization into the future.