How To Onboard Leaders Into Your Membership Organisation

Onboarding leaders; is it really that different? The answer is yes. Leaders and senior managers are pivotal to the process of growing any membership organisation or body. 

However, it’s critical to remember that the hiring process does not end when someone accepts your offer. 

Though there are numerous factors that can impact a leadership hire’s longevity within their new role, robust onboarding consistently improves the odds of success. 

Therefore, preparing your new leaders to immerse themselves into your membership culture and the ‘way you work’ will be critical to both yours and their success. 

Research consistently shows that onboarding limits the need for costly replacements in senior roles. It helps newly-placed leaders to integrate into the organisation seamlessly, and even boosts the business bottom line.  

Companies with effective onboarding can see 1.9 times larger profit margins, and 2.5 times greater growth according to The Boston Consulting Group.  

So, where do you start? Let’s explore the vital steps in this post. 


Onboarding ‘Must Haves’ 



At membershipbespoke, we have worked with many membership organisations and those that embrace the concept of developing a high performing team always implement a robust onboarding process. 

For onboarding to work the process needs to include the following general elements: 

  • The membership mission, goals and vision and why they are important to ongoing success. 
  • The relationship of the job description to deliverables in the role. 
  • How your organisation ‘does’ their company culture and what is expected of leaders and senior managers. 
  • Practical workspace, where your team ‘sit’ both locally and nationally, health and safety and internal policies and documents. 
  • What performance parameters will be set and how these will be measured and reviewed in the first 30, 60, or 90 days? 
  • Development – what is possible for them as they navigate their career through the organisation 
  • What goals have you set in the first 30, 60, or 90 days? 

An effective onboarding process is a crucial way to eliminate confusion about the expectations of any role in an organisation. To help your new leaders, make sure you tailor the process to their role too. 


Onboarding and Their Specific Role 

Onboarding sets the tone, expectations and hopefully the frame for a positive experience for all concerned. 

Depending on the role in question a sales manager in charge of growing the membership will have a different onboarding process to a head of policy. 

For instance, the head of membership sales will need to know: 

  • Membership growth goals and time frames and in which areas of the country, are these full-time members or affiliates? 
  • Which team members they will be working with daily 
  • What the current sales picture is; pipeline, sales and marketing campaigns, budgets versus targets 
  • What is working and what isn’t 

For each specific role think granular if you want your new leader to be clear on what they need to do and therefore ultimately be successful in their role. 


It’s All About Company Culture 



Let’s be frank about it. As a specialist recruitment company in the membership sector, we understand how important company culture is. We can send you four qualified and skilled candidates and, all things being equal in today’s connected world, the final decision is often based on culture fit. 

Leaders need to integrate. A good onboarding process can provide quick introductions to some of the most critical individuals your new leader will connect and collaborate with each day.  


Help Them Settle In At All Levels 

Remember, as a leader or senior manager the lines between our personal and professional lives are often blurred.  

Most executives take their career home with them. If their professional life suffers, they cannot be happy at home, and the reverse applies too.  

This means that onboarding needs to support both the personal and professional needs of your new employee. 

Moving into a new position is a huge change for anyone. Your leaders are likely to feel more comfortable in their new position if you look for comprehensive ways to welcome them.  

For instance, reach out to their family and give them advice on how they can settle into a new town or city. Provide links to social media groups where they can get support with managing the change.  

Demonstrate to them how important they are to the organisation. 


What Else Can You Do? 



Most membership organisations understand the administrative side of onboarding a new senior employee into the team; though they don’t always know how to provide the support, their colleagues need to embrace potentially different cultural norms and expectations.  

An onboarding process helps with this, but it is only the start.  

While “onboarding” involves giving your new employee the confidence they need to make the first step in your company, onboarding shouldn’t stop after their probationary period. 

An “integration” approach goes beyond the initial onboarding process to give leaders the consistent guidance they need to become a fully-functioning member of a team. 





About Us 

The membershipbespoke group remains the only specialist recruitment organisation in the UK, which offers a dedicated service tailored to the needs of Trade Associations, Unions, Professional and Regulatory Bodies. 

We use our considerable expertise in successfully recruiting for positions across every department within a membership context. To find out more call us on 0203 4403653 or email us here. 

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