Despite the misconception being repeated ad nauseam, top dogs often do need a helping hand when they’re first join a company according to top recruitment specialists Hays.

And helping Chief Executive Officers into their job is often the difference between a productive executive suite and a revolving door at the top, says Hays Managing Director in Australia, Nick Deligiannis said.

“When an organisation is looking to fill the top job, the processes usually applied to more junior staff are often not employed, leaving the CEO to find his or her own way,” says Mr Deligiannis.

It’s also much less likely that you have a formal onboarding process in place when hiring your CEO because you only do it once in a blue moon. But the risk increases the more senior you go. Getting a senior leader’s onboarding wrong from the outset is a fundamental problem for any business.” 

Contrary to popular belief, onboarding does not start on day one of a new job. Induction or orientation programmes are designed to help new arrivals learn the ropes. They effectively take over where onboarding leaves off. Onboarding begins before the new employee has started working, from the moment that he or she is in the running for the job.

 “Some new CEOs find it difficult to adjust in that first three-to six-month period because they’re not able to sort the wheat from the chaff and really understand what is meaningful to the business and what isn’t,” says Deligiannis.

Certainly, the potential damage of creating a bad hire by failing to manage an individual into a business is great. Some estimates suggest that the financial cost to an organisation can be up to 14 times the employee’s salary, though the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) in the UK puts this at a more modest level of between four and six times’ base salary, depending on the seniority of the person in question.