CHRO Onboarding Plan: Lay the Foundations of Success for Your New CHRO
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April 28, 2023
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Congratulations on hiring your new Chief Human Resources Officer!
Chief Human Resources Officers (CHROs) are increasingly being elevated to "a seat at the strategy table." They are driving talent as a top priority in organizations, according to PwC's recent Pulse Survey.
They are responsible for the strategy, management, oversight, and outcomes of an organization's people.
As such, CHROs are uniquely positioned as C-Suite leaders and enablers of human capital, balancing strategic perspectives, business objectives, and tactical challenges with the people potential of organizations.
What does this mean for you?
If you're welcoming a new CHRO into your organization, the best way to facilitate their impact is through an effective, comprehensive, and engaging onboarding journey.
In this article, we'll explore the key components of a successful CHRO onboarding plan and provide tips for creating one that works for your company.
Your new CHRO is a trusted adviser to your CEO and will be instrumental in directing your organization's employee experience, culture, and strategic outcomes.
An effective onboarding strategy is essential as it will lay the foundations for your new CHRO's success. It will also lower the likelihood of their early departure, reducing the risk of disruptions to your organization's senior leadership.
📝 CHRO onboarding 30-60-90 day plan template
So, how can you give your new CHRO the best possible start? Here's a tried and tested 90-day onboarding plan to do just that.
The first step is preparation, i.e., completing the required onboarding paperwork and administrative tasks.
Gather industry-specific information—Focus on the industry context, such as critical competitors, positioning in the broader economy, regulatory developments, and key challenges.
Update internal company documents, e.g., organizational charts, HR policies and procedures, company vision statements, hybrid work arrangements, and leave entitlements.
Compile role-specific information, e.g., your organization's HR tools and systems, people and culture policies and framework, bios of C-Suite executives, and support for professional memberships (e.g., The Society for Human Resource Management).
☑️ Systems and hardware—Laptop, phone, email, and access to work premises and systems:
HR systems and software;
L&D dashboards and systems;
performance management systems and applications.
☑️ Team orientation—Inform colleagues about your new CHRO, schedule onboarding meetings, and encourage networking and engagement with key stakeholders:
the CEO and C-Suite executives;
members of the HR Leadership Team (HRLT);
heads of other business functions, particularly those overseeing significant personnel changes;
key contacts at recruitment agency partners.
☑️ Public announcements—Consider issuing press releases in industry publications and, if relevant, notify regulatory authorities (e.g., SEC).
☑️ Plan the first week—Map out their first week and cover company onboarding and role-specific activities.
☑️ Collate and refresh content, including:
scope and responsibilities of the HR team;
company core values and mission statement;
HR frameworks, e.g., feedback approach, compensation policies, and DEI initiatives;
key partnerships, e.g., recruitment agencies;
information about current and recent HR initiatives;
performance management framework and related systems and analytics platforms;
Preboarding helps with making strong first impressions.
☑️ Send a welcome package—Include company merchandise or other exciting items, e.g., acclaimed books on talent management, workplace culture, and decision-making such as Tomas Chamarro-Premuzic's The Talent Delusion, Amy Edmonson's The Fearless Organization, or Daniel Kahneman's Thinking, Fast and Slow.
Use your CHRO's first week to set them up for success.
☑️ Engage in 1:1 conversations—Discuss expectations, build rapport, and fill knowledge gaps.
☑️ Focus on enabling role clarity—Explain the responsibilities, tasks, processes, and goals that they'll be accountable for, including:
Key responsibilities, e.g., contribute to strategic planning through deep engagement with your C-Suite and CEO, lead talent management and people development, identify and address people issues, promote a high-performing culture, facilitate change management initiatives, champion DEI, and cultivate better ways to use data for talent acquisition and related decisions.
Key performance indicators (KPIs), e.g., employee engagement rates, job satisfaction monitoring, retention and turnover metrics, absenteeism, costs per hire, productivity measures, tracking organizational L&D goals, and evaluating employee wellbeing.
Compliance and regulatory people management and industrial relations obligations.
Your organization's people management process, e.g., identifying and retaining talent, evaluating the employee experience and satisfaction, performance management, aligning employee and organizational goals, feedback mechanisms, and monitoring outcomes and success measures.
The responsibilities, processes, and expectations of senior leaders in your organization.
☑️ Initiate an early assignment—Commence a practical assignment such as evaluating current HR priorities relative to business objectives.
☑️ Encourage networking—Set up meetings with colleagues and stakeholders, including in-person or virtual coffee and lunch roulettes, to strengthen relationships and promote engagement with critical stakeholders.
First 30 days
As your CHRO settles into their first month:
Check-in—Use Slack, Teams, email, or in-person meetings to engage with them and get insights into their progress from their onboarding buddy.
Reinforce role clarity—Discuss and clarify their KPIs and responsibilities.
Seek feedback—Ask them how things are going and build rapport.
Track KPI progress—Investigate whether they are on track to meet their objectives. Provide support if necessary.
➡️ Use our handy onboarding survey template for meaningful feedback from your new hire.
First 60 days
Continue supporting your new CHRO through their second month:
☑️ Training and conferences—Address knowledge gaps with executive training and encourage networking through industry conferences.
☑️ Review and iteration—Reiterate the scope and purpose of their role and answer any outstanding questions.
☑️ Facilitating strategic thinking—Ask them for feedback on your organization's alignment between employee and business goals, where there are opportunities for improvement, and suggestions for driving future competitiveness.
☑️ Giving feedback—Give your new CHRO feedback to help them focus on their most productive areas.
Recognizing their contribution—Acknowledge their contribution by recognizing their progress to date.
Asking for more feedback—Seek feedback about your new CHRO's experience through an onboarding survey.
Conducting a performance review—Carry the first 360 performance review, collecting insights from peers and direct reports.
💡 Looking for more inspiration? Check out 15+ extra onboarding templates. You'll find more role-based onboarding plans, but also buddy templates and a new hire training plan template.
👀 4 Elements for an effective CHRO onboarding
CHROs prioritize employee satisfaction, engagement, and business growth, according to Evanta's recent Leadership Perspective Survey.
So, how does a new CHRO successfully pursue these priorities? Spencer Stuart, a leadership consultant, highlights the following areas of focus based on numerous executive transitions that they've managed:
➡️ Say goodbye to lackluster new hire experiences with Zavvy
At Zavvy, we know why effective onboarding matters and how to do it properly.
We know how to bring out the best in your new CHRO with an engaging and efficient onboarding experience. Our employee enablement platform has the tools, programs, and templates to enhance their potential through:
📅 A dependable onboarding journey through event scheduling and automated calendar invites.
🏢 Integrated HRMS for maximum efficiency.
⚙️ "Zero-touch" onboarding using team information, location, and hiring dates—once you've integrated your HRMS, you won't have to do ANYTHING (i.e., it's comprehensive and hassle-free).
💬 Slack and Teams workflows to provide a genuinely guided onboarding journey.
🏞 Rich Content embeds from YouTube, Google Drive, Typeform, Loom, and more, without having to manage them separately.
Your new CHRO is essential for your organization's success—don't let them down with inadequate onboarding!
Book a free demo to see how our onboarding tools and processes will set your new executives to deliver their best through a targeted and effective onboarding approach.
Alex is a marketer at Zavvy. On this blog, he mainly shares insights gained from discussions with selected experts and from helping our customers set up and improve their onboarding or learning programs.