People want to work for inspiring leaders. As McKinsey argues, “Talent attracts talent, especially in technology functions. Investing in high-profile hires, potentially from nontraditional sources (for example, recruiting high-tech talent for enterprise IT roles), can help build buzz on the recruiting market.”
There’s a reason why candidates want to work for Jack Dorsey, Mark Zuckerberg, and Jeff Weiner. High-profile leaders can help your organization bring in candidates of similar caliber. But, an executive’s visibility is just one part of the equation. Once your newest employees have signed on the dotted line, they want to feel welcome in the organization. Onboarding is proven to improve employee retention, boost employer branding, and even increase profit. Use your onboarding process to connect your senior leadership with every new hire: here’s how.
Host an AMA
Heidi Zak, co-founder and CEO of Third Love, started implementing AMA’s – ask-me-anything calls – when candidates are still in the hiring process. These brief conversations with prospective new hires offer a chance for an individual to ask literally anything. “The 15-minute calls are an opportunity to see deeper into the organization–who is at the helm and what’s inspiring us to continue moving forward. As a founder or executive, sometimes you forget how exciting it can be to join a new company and, more importantly, what that person imagines their own future looking like,” describes Zak.
Ask-me-anythings are also a great way to set the tone for your company culture. Research shows that leaders who are transparent about their decision-making will find employees who are more invested in the business’s future. Transparency leads to trust, which in turn generates higher engagement, productivity, and better business results.
Sit with them
Literally: senior leadership should make an effort to leave their office space and join a team for the day. “You can’t understand what’s happening at each level of the business if you aren’t willing to leave the executive floor and dive into the daily dealings of the business,” Dottie Herman, CEO of Douglas Elliman, told CNBC.
Meg Whitman, CEO of Hewlett-Packard, got rid of the executive suite altogether and placed senior leadership in cubicles with the rest of HP’s employees. For some teams, space limitations won’t make this possible (or even desirable). But, when a new hire comes on board, spend the day sitting with them and their new team to make them feel seen, welcomed, and valued. Visibility is a key metric in building transparency, and also one of the easiest to accomplish.
Have an open-door policy (that works)
If you must have private offices, come up with a way to encourage new hires to meet with your senior leadership during office hours. Credit Karma CEO and founder Kenneth Lin has a literal open-door policy. “I want new employees to feel like this is a mission we’re all in together. An open-door policy sets the tone for this. Whenever I’m in my office and available, I encourage anyone to come by and share their thoughts about how they feel Credit Karma is doing,” Lin told Inc. Magazine.
Keep in mind that some employees – including a growing number of Gen Z candidates – will be more comfortable reaching out to senior leaders through digital means. How can you make it easy for entry-level employees to approach senior leadership? Consider setting aside a Slack channel or internal platform for the team to ask questions directly to executive leadership. One CEO gives out his cell phone number to new employees and encourages them to call whenever they have a great idea. Find the communication tool that fits naturally with the size of your company, your executive’s communication style, and your internal culture.
Start a mentorship program
Mentor programs lead to higher job satisfaction and a more engaged workforce, according to multiple research studies. “Company leadership should embrace, promote and value mentoring programs to realize a return on investment,” argues Harvard Business Review.
Mentorship isn’t just for entry-level hires; senior leaders must invest in managers across the organization. Mentoring can also help executives gather feedback to build a stronger company culture, boost innovation, and improve employer branding initiatives. Mentoring by senior leaders can result in:
- Better succession planning
- Better goal-setting and achievement
- Stronger teamwork and internal team communication
- Improved retention and knowledge transfer
Get your C-suite leaders involved from day one to start building a workforce that’s motivated, excited, and innovative. Learn more by following Elevate Hiring on LinkedIn.
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