After an extensive search, finding the right CEO feels like a triumph. But that is only the beginning. The true challenge lies in what comes after—the integration of your new leader. You want to offer enough support so they can hit the ground running, but they need autonomy to do the job you hired them for. And you need a system of accountability to ensure everyone’s expectations are aligned. It’s a tricky balance to achieve. Your search firm can be a strategic partner to help.

Hiring Approach Matters

Working with a search firm that uses a competency-driven approach (shameless plug: like Staffing Advisors) gives you unique resources to support a smooth transition. You gain access to job-critical insights that surfaced during the search. And you can benefit from the guidance of a trusted facilitator who understands the perspectives and expectations of both the new executive and your existing leadership team.

Other search firms may take a different approach, but in our experience, the most effective support is based on what experienced CEOs say they really need. That’s how we’ve built our CEO onboarding service—by talking to nonprofit and association leaders who have gone through these transitions to find out what they needed, what worked, and what didn’t.

The Power of a Results-Based Process

The driving force behind our Results-Based Hiring® Process is determining the results you want to achieve with your hire and the key job competencies most likely to deliver them. Those competencies guide every stage of the search, from targeted outreach to evaluating candidates. For that to work, we dig deep into what your organization needs from its next CEO.

For top leadership searches like CEO or executive director, that means we conduct interviews with multiple key stakeholders, including:

  • Staff
  • Current and former board members
  • Leaders of peer organizations
  • Other relevant stakeholders

Our team keeps detailed notes on every conversation. We distill and synthesize that information to debrief search committee members and ultimately inform the job description and vetting criteria. That same information creates a solid foundation for post-hire support.

Data-Driven Accountability

Once the search process is complete, it’s not unusual for things to change in an organization. There could be turnover in board membership or shifts in stakeholder expectations. You need some way to ensure board members and the new leader are accountable to the expectations set during the hiring process. And for that, you need good data.

Beyond the briefings from our stakeholder interviews, we maintain a rich archive of information from your search. It’s a goldmine for developing precise performance benchmarks. You can be more rigorous in evaluating the success of your new hire, and they benefit from objective, concrete goals to reach for. For example, if stakeholder interviews revealed a need for the new CEO to focus on improving the business model, we can help set specific activities and metrics to track progress in this area.

With decades of experience in executive search, our team has a deep understanding of industry trends and leadership dynamics and can provide strategic recommendations based on patterns we see emerge.

Navigating the Transition: A Framework for Structured Post-Hire Support

Our framework provides targeted guidance and accountability at key points throughout the new leader’s first two years. Here’s what post-hire support looks like working with our team.

With board approval, we debrief the new executive with key insights gathered from the search process. This valuable information helps the new CEO understand the organization’s unique challenges, opportunities, and expectations, enabling them to prioritize their efforts and make mission-focused decisions from the start.

As a neutral third party, we can be a trusted moderator between your board and the new executive. We have guided both parties throughout the search process and can help focus attention on key issues early on.

With our experience in job design and organizational structure, we can help assess team dynamics and align staff roles with the new leader’s strategic direction. For instance, if the new CEO identifies a need to restructure the management team to better support their vision, we can provide guidance on designing roles and responsibilities that align with their goals. And because we already have an in-depth understanding of your organization, we have a head start if you need support to build a high-performing team.

At the nine-month milestone, we can assist in evaluating the new CEO’s performance and setting expectations aligned with immediate achievements and long-term strategic plans. During the one-year performance review, we can offer valuable insight on the leader’s transition, emphasizing the continuous alignment of leadership actions and strategic goals. This support helps the board assess the CEO’s progress and make informed decisions about the organization’s future direction.

Our Investment In Your Success

We take our responsibility to our clients seriously and view every search as part of a long-term partnership. Our team invests a significant amount of work into developing an information ecosystem that enables us to find the candidate who can drive the impact you need. And we consider it our ethical obligation to pass that along so you can make data-based decisions, proactively address challenges, and set your new leader up for long-term success.

Learn More

Planning for a CEO transition is no small task. Need some guidance? We pulled together our best resources on topics ranging from succession planning and choosing a hiring partner to a comprehensive checklist for search committee chairs—all based on our search work with nonprofit and association leaders over the years. Check out our CEO Search Committee Toolkit.