08 March 2022

#1 Onboarding A Senior Employee - Amazing insights

Submitted by: Arnold Muscat
#1 Onboarding A Senior Employee - Amazing insights

A short read 4 minutes

#1 Onboarding A Senior Employee Benefits

I recently noticed on LinkedIn that Annemarie Joubert was starting a new post, Congrats, and it got me thinking about the apprehension, fear of failure, excitement, and how should her successful integration into the Company/Department should be approached.

I have hypothetically created this scenario below to try to illustrate how, why and who should be charged with onboarding a senior employee.

Obviously, her core strengths were evaluated during the interview process and her CV was exemplary with fantastic references. her leadership qualities were apparent, besides the technical knowledge and experience required for the senior post.

How To Onboarding A Senior Employee

How often is a senior person onboarded? In my personal experience, it was almost zero or at best limited to policy matters, cursory introductions etc. You were expected to get a move on and perform without delay. In one situation the post had been vacant for months and the backlog was massive and deadlines had been missed. needless to say, this was a stressful time, and there were potential internal candidates who were overlooked for the post.

The onboarding process is defined here, "An employee onboarding process is the systematic and purposeful transformation of promising candidates into top-performing employees. By carefully planning onboarding steps, companies give new employees the information, relationships, and tools they need to be comfortable and confident enough to do outstanding work."

The employee could be granted a grace period of a week or so to visit the various departments, sites, and employees before actually doing any tasks. The exposure to all aspects will help to understand the corporate culture as part of onboarding a senior employee process.

  • Share the grievance and disciplinary codes policies
  • Share the Mission statement and organigram
  • Provide the previous year's financials and CEO's message
  • Add them to your management profiles, including LinkedIn and company website
  • Send out a press release that will show the incumbent that you are serious and want them to be known and successful.
  • Send out a company circular with their picture and post title as part of the onboarding of a senior employee process.

Why Onboarding A Senior Employee Is Necessary

The person is expected to lead their staff and provide guidance whilst juggling and adapting to the new environment. Any assistance to make them feel relaxed and comfortable will result in a smoother transition.

The staff will react to the new energy and positivity and leadership.

If the appointment is a failure, the staff will not readily accept the next incumbent and their morale can be damaged.

The selection process is time-consuming and expensive. Starting a new selection process again because of not having a robust onboarding process is foolhardy. Senior employees require just as much onboarding as junior staff, maybe even more as they must lead.

If the appointment fails the company's reputation could be tarnished.

Who should Be Onboarding A Senior Employee 

This is probably the most difficult part to consider in onboarding a senior employee.

  1. Asking the immediate subordinate could work, however, they may resent the appointment.
  2. A manager from another department may be useful in some respects provided that they don't have an axe to grind with top management and the company. They also may not have a clear picture of the department and its employees.
  3. The MD or Directors could be tasked to onboard the senior employee, however, that have severe time constraints and little knowledge about the technical aspects of the department.
  4. Mostly onboarding a senior employee is handed to HR. Once again, the issues above may be apparent.
  5. In one situation I was given a handover by the departing employee which was great for deadlines and technical aspects but in this case, it was a bitter departure, so I heard about the infighting. A great start.
  6. Occasionally an external consultant may be used to onboard a senior employee.

I don't have the perfect solution but probably a mix of the about points will provide a good onboarding a senior employee result.


  • Should the senior person receive training during the onboarding process? If so what training is required? Conflict Management would send a negative signal, therefore, a general course like Developing Positive Assertiveness and Dynamics of Diversity would be appropriate at this juncture.
  • Why am I going to an onboarding process, I am a senior employee?
  • It's my first day, where do I go?
  • Where do I park?
  • I heard there is an in-person Orientation session. How do I attend?
  • Where do I find my Access ID?
  • Where is the IT department if I need assistance?
  • Here is a resource onboarding checklist that can be applied to onboarding a senior employee.

I look forward to any comments and where your company has started using shorter workshop training sessions and our Work Ready courses. Arnold email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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