The Onboarding Dictator – Readers Contribution


Now when we heard this story, we simply didn’t believe it. Sorry, we didn’t want to believe it. But we have heard since from others who have had the same experience. So much so, it will become a feature in the Handbook. We’ve called this leader “The Onboarding Dictator”

Our contributor tells a story, of a time many years ago when she transferred north from the southern confines of Melbourne. She had arranged a job with a financial advisor, was excited and settled in the south-east suburbs of this northern city with her young family. She had gone through a testing recruitment and had bonded well with the company directors… or so she thought.

She was a mobile finance adviser and the company was based in the city, and the directors had given her assurances of flexible working hours to help her adjust with her young daughter going to school. Based on that she accepted the job and made the long trek north.

On her first day, THE FIRST DAY, she came across the DL. It was induction and it was her way or the high way. And this tale gets represented in workplaces right around the world. This one goes like this.

DL – “Welcome to the company, you come highly recommended and we are looking forward to having you on the team.”
FA (Financial Advisor) “It’s awesome being here. Looking forward to it”
Right you get the picture. It’s pleasant at the beginning.

The DL informs the young FA of the need to be at the office at 8.30am every Monday morning for a meeting. Every Monday morning. And she was adamant that it was non-negotiable. Our young FA asked about the effectiveness of the meeting and asked why it couldn’t be held at 10am.

All of which was met with a stone wall.

Now put yourself in the shoes of the young FA. She had moved her family interstate, was given re-assurance from the directors and was excited about the job and on the first day she met the Onboarding Dictator powering up on her.

In desperation, she mentioned the directors by name, and asked if they were aware of this need for the meeting as it was contrary to what they had spoken about. The DL said she didn’t care, she set the rules for this team and that this meeting was mandatory. And non-negotiable.

Seemingly there was no option so our FA left.

First morning of the first day, she jumped back in the car and in tears headed home.
Now for the only sake of fairness in this story, the DL seemed shocked when FA mentioned that she couldn’t work there. With, what seemed like, genuine emotion the DL spoke of how excited she was to have the FA was working with the team and she didn’t want the FA to leave.


The meeting was non-negotiable.
So, she left and never came back.

There is a fair bit of dumbness here and we need to explore it. Firstly it must be said that for any job offer, ensure that all agreed details are included in the job offer. That provides you security and peace of mind. We have heard many times, that promises made in the negotiation of the job haven’t been delivered. The reality is, if it isn’t included in the job offer, it doesn’t exist.

The Dumb Leader

The DL, ensured by her approach, that the company lost a great candidate, a fact she admitted in the story. In a situation like this, surely there may have been some flexibility in the process. Could a phone call have been made to clarify the new team members expectations? Recruitment is an investment and that investment was lost in this case.

The Dumb Directors

Our Resident Expert Kevin Gammie, from Growth Mentors see this a lot in the recruitment industry and sees this as dumb. “Clarity around the position and what is the package being offered is critical for the integrity of the company. What is clear in this case by the actions of the onboarding manager, is that attendance at the meeting was always mandatory. For the directors to suggest otherwise to bring the person onboard is fraud. And they lost a great team member because of it. That’s dumb”
The Process
Michella Francis, our Resident Expert from Venus Consulting shares her beliefs on the induction process. “Onboarding new team members should flow from the recruitment process, cementing the culture of the company. In this case, the disconnect was clear and left the new team member in a confused position where the culture she had picked up in recruitment, didn’t match the culture of the induction process. When designing your induction, bringing your culture to life is important.”

What Happened!

What evolved from this? The person who shared the story has used this as motivation to build her own successful finance broking business and become one of the most recognised small business finance brands in her location. She took the disappointment and channelled it into positive action. A great study on what to do from your learnings from your interaction with a dumb leader.

Photo by Brendan Church on Unsplash

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