More Articles
Human Resources

The Importance of Support During Executive Transitions

Navid Nazemian

Navid Nazemian

Global Head of HR at Vodafone

With around 40% of executive transitions failing over an 18-month period, firms need to reconsider their onboarding processes for senior leaders for both the success of the company and the individual. In this article, Navid Nazemian, Global Head of HR at Vodafone discussed the implications for unsuccessful executive transitions, and strategies that firms can deploy for success.

Why Is Support Important? 

Navid stated companies prioritising onboarding processes “for the masses”, is often “to the detriment of the executive floor”. Navid identified that only a third of organisations organise meetings for new executives with key stakeholders within the company. He argues “you can’t leave that to the PA or the new joiner to figure out”. Navid stated that a quarter of companies try to “facilitate cultural familiarisation”. This is set to help executives feel like they belong to their new company and understand the company’s ethos.  

Navid said that the cost to the company can vary anywhere between 2.5 to 30x the executive’s salary when a transition fails. He attributes the higher end of this range to the “fountain effect”, as poor company culture and frustrations are passed through the company’s structure and onto the consumer. Also, losing an executive pushes up the salary needed to entice another executive to take the role, furthering the costs incurred by the company. Navid mentioned that the cost to the executive from an unsuccessful executive transition will be much higher. They will not be offered the same role again, or if they are it will be for a less sophisticated or smaller organisation.  

What Strategies Can Firms Use? 

Navid identified a variety of different strategies that firms can adopt. He signposted his leading text titled “Mastering Executive Transactions” which unpicks these. The introduction of a transition coach can help executives manage their experience and expectations during a transition. Offering leadership training can help ensure executives have industry standard practice, reducing potential skills gaps. Navid stated the successful implementation of such strategies can increase the likelihood of a successful transition to 90%. More successful executive transitions bring revenue growth of up to 2.5x.  

Navid advocated “baking” support into the executive transition support equally across the executive floor. Standardising this process means that executives wouldn’t need to ask for strategies to support their transition. Navid identified that there is a large gender disparity in the level of support an executive receives during the transition process. Despite this imbalance, both have similar failing rates around that 40% statistic. 

Discover our next CONNECT HR | UK Leadership Summit >>