New Perspectives, Research on Executive Onboarding Has the Attention of Business Leaders

When new leaders fail, the entire organization loses. In today’s economy, the stakes couldn’t be higher. Current studies from many organizations show a failure rate of over 40% for new executive hires. Statistics such as this are no surprise to onboarding expert George Bradt. “Over the last year, we have found people and organizations getting into trouble are failing to adjust fast enough,” he remarked. “The people that think that things are fine and don’t have to adjust – those are the ones that are about to get run over by a freight train.”

Bradt, co-author with Mary Vonnegut of, Onboarding: How to Get Your New Employees Up to Speed in Half the Time, was interviewed by Peter Clayton, producer/host of TotalPicture Radio. His podcast leads off a comprehensive Onboarding Guest Expert Series of podcasts on the popular career and leadership development show. The interviews are drawn from fourteen guest experts participating in Bradt’s “Onboarding” book; sharing their knowledge, personal insights, and unique perspectives.

How does business define onboarding? According to Bradt, “it’s the process of acquiring, accommodating, assimilating, and accelerating new team members, whether they come from outside or inside the organization.”

“The Onboarding Experts Series has turned out to be an online executive education course on onboarding,” Bradt said. To site a few examples: Tamara Erickson, the McKinsey Award-winning author, discusses onboarding across four generations of cohorts. Tammy explains “gen x’ers have been counting down the days for boomers to retire. With the economy, that just not happening, making a challenging situation that much more difficult.”

Staffing industry leader Sheila Greco talks about the sea-change taking place in HR, staffing, recruiting, and sourcing candidates, and how this has had an impact on the role and importance of the onboarding process. Communications expert Jean Brown reveals how “the communications plans for announcing a new executive often fall far short of their intentions and objectives, creating long-term negative consequences for the company, and the new hire.”

One of the most surprising podcasts is with top level executive recruiter Bill Epifanio, who contends “there’s still a war for talent” with A players. “With the current economy, it is very difficult to get executives to consider new opportunities,” he said. “A structured, precise, and well defined onboarding process must be part of making the right offer, closing the right sale, the right way.”

Returning to the topic of rapid and significant change, Bradt remarked, “I had two conversations with people that got new bosses. I called them up and I said, `Hey, guess what? New boss. This is a major change with an enduring impact,’ and one of them said, `I’m on it. I’ve figured that out, and I’ve gone back, and I’ve re-looked at all my stakeholders. I’m recommitting, and I’m having conversations with my boss.’ The other said, `Yeah, I hadn’t even thought of that.’ Our learning is to make sure that people are aware of the changes happening around them and help them adjust.”

The Onboarding Experts Series of podcasts can be found in the Inside Recruiting Channel of TotalPicture Radio.

George Bradt (gbradt AT, is founder and managing director of Primegenesis, (, based in Stamford, CT. He is the author of: The New Leader’s 100-Day Action Plan (Wiley, 2006, 2009), Onboarding: How to Get Your New Employees Up to Speed in Half the Time (Wiley 2009), The Total Onboarding Program: An Integrated Approach to Recruiting, Hiring and Accelerating Talent (Pfeiffer, 2010), Back-To-School Chats – Advice from Fathers to Their Sons (Durban House, 2006), and Back-To-School Chats – Advice from Mothers to Their Daughters (Lulu, 2009). He has a Harvard A.B., a Wharton MBA and dual U.S./European Union citizenship.

TotalPicture Radio is “the voice of career and leadership acceleration.” Led by producer/director Peter Clayton, TotalPicture Radio has been podcasting since 2005. In addition to their website, ( shows are available through iTunes,, and many podcast aggregation sites, including Odeo, SpokenWord, and Podcast Pickle.

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