Mentoring for New Hires (On-Boarding): Part 2

Posted by Kim Wise on Thu, Jan 13, 2011 @ 07:55 PM

A few days ago, we wrote about Mentoring Millennials and new hires at entry level positions.  Another form of mentoring with a high IRR (Internal Rate of Return) is On-Boarding aimed at Senior Level and strategic hires.new hires

By way of background, most firms hire when they need someone to fill a specific position.  They seek someone with exactly the right experience and qualifications who is available at that moment.  (That is a bit like the San Francisco 49-ers deciding they needed another player and seeking a Cam Newton, on the assumption that a player of that caliber will just happen to be looking for a new  job.)  By contrast, the firms with the strongest bench strength and an entrenched talent-management mindset, are always looking for talented managers. They hire great managrers whenever they get the chance, knowing that opennings will become available in the future.

At General Electric, for example, three to five percent of middle and senior managers have been brought in from other firms.  (GE aims for 20% of open positions each year to be filled by outsiders.) Bringing in high quality people on a regular basis is a good way to calibrate and raise expectations throughout management, as they provide new insights.  They also provide new role models for existing managers.

The problem is those managers, who appeared to be talented stars in other companies, don’t always work out.  McKinsey studies found the failure rate for these mid- and senior level hires at about 30%.  Even with the high cost of failure, the gains from the remaining 70% were significant enough to justify the outside hiring.  Still, one of the best uses for an on-boarding mentoring program is to reduce the failure rate of the seasoned managers from outside. 

Beyond their skills and the match between their management style and the corporate culture, a thoughtful assimilation for each hire should include an orientation into the official aspects of the company, as well as the informal ones.  The new executive needs assistance building his or her own network and understanding the cultural idiosyncracies of the firm. (Chapter 4 “Rebuilding your Recruiting Strategy” from The War for Talent discusses this at length.)  Mentoring by a peer has been shown to be a highly effective in helping these new hires build their network and learn the informal processes and expectations of the organization.

Mentor Resources is one of the leading providers of software for managing mentoring programs with a few dozen pairs to thousands of participants.  Our software can be tailored to nearly all of these. Most of our customers run several mentoring programs with different objectives and participants, and our software has considerable flexibility to help you reach your mentoring goals.

Talk to us about your mentoring program and your current needs.

Topics: talent management, competitive advantage, expand, eMentor, start, GE