When Is The Best Time To Start Leadership Development For New Hires? – Episode 145

LFL 145 | Leadership Development


When is the best time to start leadership development for new hires? That is the question we answer in today’s episode. Patrick Veroneau discusses how organizations can attract, retain, and develop employees in this competitive market. He emphasizes that instead of focusing on concepts such as DEI, we should focus more on behaviors that breed that culture and environment. He boils down these behaviors into six “cables” that will build a strong bridge between leader and employee: congruence, appreciation, belongingness, listening, empathy, and specifics. Learn more about their model for leadership development by tuning in.

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When Is The Best Time To Start Leadership Development For New Hires?

This episode is based on LinkedIn live that I did. What I want to talk about here is when is the best time to introduce leadership development in regards to onboarding. Most maybe think, “I never thought of leadership development as part of onboarding.” That’s the push for this episode. As organizations, we will benefit far greater if we find ways to implement leadership development right out of the gate. As people become onboarded within an organization, there are multiple benefits. That’s what I want to talk about in this episode. Let’s get into it.

What I wanted to talk about is onboarding and leadership as part of onboarding. It’s important. This is a talk that I did several years ago for a group called DisruptHR. I floated this idea out there in terms of including leadership development as part of onboarding. What got me to think about it again was an article that I saw, and it was a survey by a global consulting firm, Grant Thornton. They surveyed 5,000 individuals that had recently changed jobs. They found that 40% of those people that had recently changed jobs were actually looking again for a new job.

It made me think back to one of the examples that I used in that talk several years ago. One of the surveys that I had seen by another consulting firm suggested that people are ten times more likely to leave an organization in the first year of employment than at any other point in their career with that company. The next time or the next highest on that was around their anniversary dates. Both of those make sense to me.

The first is around onboarding. If I feel as though the organization I’m with hasn’t delivered on what they said they were going to deliver in terms of employment, if I don’t feel as though I belong with this organization, I’m more likely to leave. I’m questioning, “What did I do? Why did I decide to come here? This is not what I thought it was going to be.”

The second one is around anniversaries where people are probably saying, “Here I am four years into this. Do I want to be here for the fifth year?” When I talk about onboarding and leadership development, it also applies now to the push that we’re seeing around diversity, equity and inclusion in organizations or individuals that don’t maybe see that there’s a need for it. They think that this isn’t a problem in their organization.

I believe that we should talk about this in terms of behaviors that address DEI without necessarily having to call it diversity, equity and inclusion. They’re natural behaviors that, by default, address those three things. We don’t have to label it as this is what we’re doing so much as we have to say, “These are the behaviors that we’re going to promote in this organization.” I do believe there is a seismic shift that’s going on right now. There is a reordering between the relationship of labor and capital within the organizations.

There is a seismic shift that's going on right now. There is a reordering between the relationship of labor and capital within organizations. Click To Tweet

Those leaders and organizations that want to resist that and don’t think this is the case. They’re going to be the ones holding the bag. This is a different environment. I’m not going to say that this is forever and it won’t shift back, but in the environment, I would say for the foreseeable future, there is a reordering. Employees have a great deal more say in terms of what they’re willing to do and who they’re willing to do it for in a work environment.

Those organizations and leaders that understand this are going to come out on top. They’ll be the ones that will attract the best employees. They’ll develop the best employees. I believe also they’ll retain the best employees because they’ve created a culture and environment based on a set of behaviors. That’s what leads me to the next part of this. I want to talk about what those behaviors are that within an organization, we could start doing it right out of the gate. It revolves around a model that I called CABLES. It’s based on six behaviors. I talk about this in terms of building bridges.

That’s all we do in our relationships, whether it’s as a leader or working with those people that report to me. I’m building individual bridges with each of them. It’s the result of my behaviors that determines what type of bridge I’m going to build here. How strong is this thing going to be? The stronger it is, the more stress it’s going to be able to withstand without falling down or without needing as much repair work on it. It’s as simple as that.

When we talk about CABLES, the first cable that builds this bridge is we talk about Congruence. If you think about it from the standpoint of onboarding in an organization, wouldn’t it be great when people come on board, and they start to understand that one of the behaviors that’s important here is talking about alignment? What we say and what we do are the same things. This provides an environment where people start to see, “Here are the values that we stand for as an organization. Are my behavior and the decisions I’m making as an employee here in alignment with what we say we stand for as an organization?”

I’ll take a step back here and say, “You can see where to me, even recruiting people to come work for my company.” This can become valuable. Let’s let people know before they get here what things we stand for and what this organization is all about. When we do that, maybe we reduce some of this 40% that we’ve seen of people that are looking for other jobs.

LFL 145 | Leadership Development

The Leadership Bridge: How to engage your employees and drive organizational excellence

I would guess that those people are like, “What I was told this organization was about and what I’m experiencing is not the same thing. They’re different. They’re out of alignment. There’s no congruence here. Maybe it’s my manager. My manager is not congruent or is not consistent. Some people get treated better than other people do here. Because of that, I’m now going to leave.” Is it related to diversity, equity and inclusion? We can put equity into that. When we are congruent with what we say our values are, we automatically promote equity within this organization.

Next, we move on to Appreciation. That’s about recognizing people for who they are, their personalities, their backgrounds, and where they come from. That is about diversity. When we appreciate people for who they are and also what they do, right out of the gate as part of onboarding, we start to set the tone of this is what we do in this organization. We’re going to recognize diversity here. That’s part of the appreciation. We’re already hitting 2 of those 3 things that we talk about, diversity, equity and inclusion within an organization, which is part of onboarding too.

Next, we talk about Belongingness within an organization. How do we create this inclusion that we need? When we have belonging and inclusion, we have what’s called psychological safety. From an organizational standpoint, we get stronger. We know the research that’s out there that demonstrates this too. The people that work for those organizations who experience psychological safety thrive.

It makes perfect sense that if I’m in an organization where I feel I can make people aware of things that might not be going well here, things that we could improve on without fear of being ridiculed or retaliated against, or maybe even ignored, the organization gets stronger because of that. In work that I’ve done with organizations for years, especially when there are challenges or problems, I will often say to the executives that hire me that the solutions and answers to the problems that this organization is experiencing are right within the walls of this organization.

The people that are here are the ones that know how to solve these things, but oftentimes they don’t feel they’re included in the solution. Maybe they’re too far down the line in terms of what their titles are that people think that they don’t have any value to be able to provide the solution. That’s clearly not the case. They probably have more insight as to what’s going on than an executive that’s probably more removed from the day-to-day operations.

The clear organizations are in terms of what the expectations will be when somebody comes on board, the less chance you're going to have this conflict or people that are unhappy. Click To Tweet

Next, we talk about Listening. It is such an important component of what we’re talking about here in terms of onboarding. Teaching people the value of listening and what it means to develop that skill of listening, not just listening with our eyes, which is watching for body language, facial expressions, and different things like that. Listening with our ears when we listen for individual tones of voices, the words that they use, and the pace that they speak at.

We also listen from the standpoint of curiosity. We listen with our minds, trying to take a step back and not be reactive when people are saying things to us, but try to pause and understand why are they saying what they’re saying. What does it mean? Lastly, listening with empathy. That requires us to listen to other people. If it was reversed, how would I want somebody to listen to me if this was a problem that I was having?

When we activate all four of those components of listening, we are fully engaged with somebody else. We can’t be doing other things. We can’t even multitask when we are truly listening with all four of those different components. The earlier people can learn about effective listening, it benefits the entire organization.

We then talk about Empathy. This is our next cable. Within an organization, it hits on when we talk about diversity, equity even or inclusion. All of those things are hit in regards to dealing with behavior or empathy. Putting ourselves in somebody else’s shoes. How would I want to be treated? What’s it like to be where they are? Have I tried to think of things from their perspective? How important that is.

The last one we talk about is Specifics, and this is about clear expectations. Within an organization, this one is vitally important from a couple of different perspectives. I go back to this idea of recruitment. Having clear expectations for people. What does the job function require here? What will be expected of you before you’re hired?

LFL 145 | Leadership Development

Leadership Development: Why wait two years to start developing leaders? We need more leaders today, not in two years.


I was speaking with somebody, and the conversation came up about Millennials. They want to be the CEOs of the organization right out of the gate. I would argue that. I’m a Gen Xer. I would say that there are many people at that age. When you’re starting out, you have a lot of excitement and belief that you can make a difference. I think less about trying to tamp that down. I think more about setting what are clear expectations here. What are the growth paths here, and how do you get promoted or developed here within this organization?

The clearer organizations are in terms of what the expectations will be when somebody comes on board, the less chance you are going to have this conflict where people are unhappy. They clearly knew what was the expectation when they started employment here and the paths that were going to be available to them.

I’m going to circle back around to the front of this around congruence. It is that if there’s an area that I see in terms of problems, it’s that clear expectations are not followed through on. They’re clear maybe, but we don’t take ownership and we don’t adhere to them. We’re back to the beginning of this as a lack of congruence. We don’t walk the talk with what we say our clear expectations are.

If we combine that as part of onboarding, what we do is create an environment where we give people the license and the ownership to say, “We’re an organization that is very much about setting clear expectations to make sure that we know what we need from each other to be successful here. We take ownership in those meaning that we’re going to call each other out. We’re going to hold each other to what we say that we stand for. We all have the ability to do that.”

That’s it. We talk about CABLES as being the framework of how you can establish a greater organization right from the get-go and right from where the employees are. On top of that, why wait two years to start developing leaders? We need more leaders now, not in two years. When you create leadership development as part of your onboarding, what you will find is that there are certain people that are going to self-select.

They’re going to take those behaviors, and they’re going to magnify those. If you think about this from the standpoint of building better bridges, those people that say, “I’m all about those behaviors and I see the value of them,those behaviors inspire followers to say yes to your request more often because you’ve built a stronger bridge.

I hope, in this, you’re able to maybe take one of those and work on them over the week where you say, “I’m going to work on specifics, clear expectations.” Maybe within your organization, you’re going to look and say, “How can we start to look at creating onboarding within our organization and add leadership to that? Until the next time we’re able to connect. I hope you’re able to go out there and utilize some of the things that we’ve talked about and also rise above your best.


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