Valuable business lessons about talent management to be learned from George Bradt and Mary Vonnegut

Of all the business challenges that await in the New Year, none is most important than getting everyone off to a fast start in January. Some new people will be hired, others will be promoted, and still others will be reassigned to new duties and responsibilities. Far and away the single best source for information, insights, and advice on this immensely important process is a book co-authored by George Bradt and Mary Vonnegut, Onboarding: How to Get Your New Employees Up to Speed in Half the Time.

As they explain, onboarding “is the process of acquiring, accommodating, assimilating, and accelerating new team members, whether they come from outside or inside the organization. The prerequisite to successful onboarding is getting your organization aligned around the need and the role.”

Yes, I realize that the subtitle refers to new hires but this book — first published in 2009 — may well be even more valuable to leaders in organizations that are doing little (if any) hiring. How so? Having a “deep bench” is more important now than ever before. With only minor modifications, many (if not most) of the onboarding strategies and tactics that Bradt and Vonnegut recommend can also strengthen any organization’s succession planning.

For example, when building that deep bench of talent and experience,

• Ensure that everyone understands what is needed and how it will be obtained
• Clarify and communicate key information
• Craft a time line, formulate a recruiting brief, and enlist stakeholders
• Create a slate of highly-qualified candidates
• Evaluate while pre-selling and during pre-boarding
• “Make the right offer, and close the right sale the right way”

I also highly recommend The New Leader’s 100-Day Action Plan: How to Take Charge, Build Your Team, and Get Immediate Results, co-authered by Bradt, Jayme A. Check, and Jorge E. Pedraza. This book is written for the new leader and not limited only to those hired at or promoted to the C-level.

To read my interview of George Bradt, please click here.

To read my review of Onboarding, please click here.

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