Hitting the ground running

Every CIO we speak to is keenly aware of the shortage of skilled and qualified senior people out there who can get the job done.

There simply are not enough talented individuals who combine IT expertise with an understanding of how to work effectively in a business.

This skills shortage is exacerbated by a volatile market, which requires more agile and technologically innovative organisations.

The challenge of creating and retaining a talented and fulfilled senior management team weighs heavily on a CIO.

CIOs are unlikely to be offering the talented people who do join them the right start in the business. Not only is this wasteful and counter-productive, it is also likely to be turning the new hire off the job.

We recently undertook research among senior executives who had changed jobs in the last 12 months.

Their integration into organisations is falling far shortof the mark. More than one in three senior hires found their start so bad they considered walking away from their new employer within the first three months.

It is of course common for new hires to get drawn into short-term fire fighting and immediate problems, nowhere more so than in IT where one of the biggest motivating factors for a candidate is a challenge.

But the initial period when a new senior hire joins is uniquely valuable. Only for a short period will they retain their critical outside perspective.

They have but a few months when they can see things in a different way and ask probing and challenging questions, often the kind of activity needed from new talent.

It doesn’t mean they have all the answers just yet, but it does provide a golden opportunity to tackle some serious and systemic problems. However less than half of these new joiners feel able to raise issues with their line managers.

Throwing new hires in at the deep end to sink or swim doesn’t maximise return on talent and secure their discretionary effort; this period needs to be viewed partly as an investment in their long term value.

Supporting them to gain a deep understanding of the organisation, the market, including suppliers and competitors, the customers and what they value, as well as internal informal networks and power structures, is key to this.

So how can new senior hires be better supported?

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