The resources invested in a retail executive search can be considerable. Add to that the pressure of getting them operational and effective quickly, and top-level recruitment becomes an even bigger drain and distraction.

When the pressure is on, having a new senior member of staff who is out of step can have a ripple effect on the entire management team.

It’s a crucial time in other ways too. Staff who go through a properly planned and executed onboarding system are 69% less likely to leave your organisation in the next 36 months. Which means a significant annual reduction in management recruitment costs!

Has the digital workplace made onboarding easier?

Setting up new executives to be immediately successful has become more intuitive thanks to intranet software which can deliver consistent information, evaluation and online training. In turn, corporate social networks facilitate an open discussion of those ‘newbie’ queries and issues.

However, it’s becoming apparent that ‘remote’ working takes on a whole new meaning, with over-reliance on technology and senior staff feeling inadequately recognised from the outset.

Individual goals

One of the best ways to make retail onboarding seamless is to discuss personal goals. This is not just about giving them KPIs and the corporate vision, hoping they’ll adopt them as their own. Be specific about how you can help them achieve their own goals and vice versa.

For example, would more exposure to specific processes, infrastructure and policies benefit them? Could contact with personnel, suppliers and customer focus groups fill gaps in their understanding or daily use of retail business tools that impact on their role?

Invest in a clear plan

Setting executives up for success means translating onboarding goals into a practical plan, which can involve weeks – if not months – of strategic transformation and integration.

This plan should focus on the organisational and technical aspects of your retail organisation, but also social interaction too. They need to be given time to engage with their teams and establish two-way communication, building mutual respect and trust.

Inclusive, empathetic culture

Supporting your talent to bring their ‘best self’ to work extends not just across retail frontlines. It involves supporting the individual needs of executives from day one.

For example, establishing a new recruit’s work-life balance aims and giving them a mentor to answer queries in an open and nonjudgmental way. Semi-informal discussions are where senior staff fill gaps in their understanding that they weren’t aware existed!

Also, it’s wrong to assume that all new executives – even the younger ones – are technology-savvy and can pick up your IT with ease. Coaching in how to optimise your data resources and tools for communicating, collaborating and information finding is a wise investment.

Get the right person onboard!

It helps smooth out the onboarding process – and reduce staff churn – if you focus your retail executive search in the right place! Having new senior staff with all the attributes you need makes it infinitely easier to slot them into ‘play’ from day one.

For more on smooth transitions for new managers, contact Anthony Gregg.