Onboarding a Senior Hire : Setting Initial Expectations is Important

2:12 AM Suvir Sujan 0 Comments

Rapidly growing young companies inevitably hire a lot of senior resources and then leave them to execute their broad responsibilities without setting clear initial goals.  While this can work out for many hires, there is a possibility that an expectation mismatch could cause organisational heartburn. One must remember that senior resources have had functional responsibility elsewhere and naturally tend to spend on what they know and do best. So if there is a specific expectation of the senior hire that may be different from what thier core responsibility has been earlier, it is best to discuss that earlier.

We have seen this in a few of our companies that have hired star CXOs. When they joined the portfolio company,  there was an expectation that they would play a multi faceted role,  like is expected in most startups at the rapid growth phase. However, since the expectations were not clearly set, they gravitated to doing what they did best in their previous job and ended up sacrificing some of the priorities in the early days.

While this worked well for some, for others this has resulted in organisational friction as the priorities of the CEO and incoming CXO were different. And sometimes this could result in a significant lost opportunity in a rapidly changing environment if senior resources are focusing on what they know best versus what is best for the organisation at that moment.

Some examples of potential conflict of initial priorities of  a) CMO- Brand positioning versus customer acquisition, b) CFO- Business planning/Budgeting versus closing of accounts c) CTO - New product launch versus stabilizing the existing product d) COO - Cost cutting versus process setting.