Although recruitment and talent acquisition are essential, high-priority tasks for any business, onboarding is in many ways the most important stage of the hiring process, especially for companies invested in retaining high-performing employees in the long term. Even as more and more businesses shift to include preboarding practices in their onboarding process (initiating onboarding remotely before the new hire’s official first day), it can be easy to lose sight of how the first 90 days of official employment impact a new hire’s productivity, alignment with company culture, overall engagement, and job satisfaction.
One powerful tool that employers can use to ensure that new hires start well and continually progress is a 30/60/90-day plan for onboarding. By formulating a written plan that gauges each new hire’s acclimation and success at 30, 60, and 90 days, it offers employees clear expectations and gives managers and supervisors a way to track (and encourage) employee achievement early in their tenure with the company.
In this article, we’ll explore how to create a 30/60/90-day plan and what to look for at each interval to measure employee acclimation and productivity, including how to make training adjustments as needed.
Onboarding – A Holistic View
Nearly 70% of employees are more likely to remain with a company for three years or more if their onboarding experience is positive. As with other stages of onboarding (including preboarding), the overriding goal of creating a 30/60/90-day plan is to support a new hire’s success within your organization, which includes establishing clear goals, understanding company policy, and receiving consistent guidance and support from fellow coworkers and supervisors. Whether it’s technical training to use company software, or simply developing positive relationships with other team members, navigating these processes thoughtfully can mean the difference between an employee who feels alienated in their workplace and an employee who is comfortable, clear about their role within the business, and significantly more productive as a result of this alignment and enthusiasm for the work they contribute.
Generating a 30/60/90-Day Plan for New Employees
Although some HR experts advocate creating new employee plans that extend into six or twelve months, the truth is that by 61-90 days, it’s ideal to begin granting a new employee increased autonomy, accountability, and responsibility with their new position. What makes this possible (and successful) is a 30/60/90-day plan that prioritizes transparency, ongoing communication, clear learning goals, and agreed-upon metrics of success and productivity.
Days 1-30 – Training, Acclimation, and Initial Work
Even if you’ve implemented a preboarding process that empowers your employee to take care of HR paperwork, read the employee manual, and complete some training before their official “day one” start, the first 30 days will be a crucial time to focus on learning about key company processes and job responsibilities.
During the first 30 days, the new employee should be offered opportunities to do all of the following:
- Participate in official and unofficial training. Whether it’s formal platform-based training on how to use company software, intranet systems, and HR tools, or learning about the layout of the office and where physical documents or resources are kept, training should include a combination of modules that the employee can independently complete as well as opportunities to connect with coworkers while learning the basics about their new workplace.
- Acclimate to company culture. The employee handbook is a great starting point, but your new employee also needs to get acquainted with the day-to-day experience of collaborating with coworkers and understanding (in practice) how client relationships are forged and maintained, how teams work together/communicate, etc.
- Meet regularly with their manager and team members. In the first 30 days, a new hire should have the opportunity to meet all of their team members and have scheduled one-on-one meetings with their manager each week. This latter type of meeting is not offered just to help the employee stay on course, but is a precursor to the “stay meeting,” providing valuable feedback to the manager on how onboarding is going so far and which steps are going well (or need to be addressed).
- Develop a career plan with their manager. This is the manager’s opportunity to communicate and reemphasize job responsibilities, but also to set realistic “SMART” goals with the new employee, including ways to gauge success within the 90-day onboarding period. It’s also a chance to understand the new employee’s values and long-term ambitions as an employee and to encourage their desire to succeed in their new role.
- Understand clients and/or products and begin work on initial projects. This step relies on the support of other team members and the manager, who should leverage their institutional knowledge and experience to give the new hire a clear picture of the product(s) they sell, the clients they work with, and the central goals of the first project or projects to which they will be contributing.
Days 31-60 – Applied Learning and Heightened Responsibility
Whereas the first 30 days of onboarding focus on incremental learning and becoming acclimated with company processes, days 31-60 will encourage the new employee to apply their knowledge to participate more meaningfully in projects, discussions, and business development.
During days 31-60, the new employee should be completing all of the following steps:
- Offering deeper contributions to projects, team collaborations, and work tasks. While a new hire can be expected to focus on listening and learning in the first 30 days, by the second month of employment, you should see increased participation from the employee. This can include offering fresh ideas at meetings regarding how to approach/refine a current project, feedback based on observations from their current role, or simply an increased “team mentality” during any collaborative process of which the employee is a part.
- Working with their manager to self-assess, address any issues, or begin measuring progress. By this stage, the new employee should be able to take a more collaborative approach with their manager, offering independent feedback about what they feel they are doing well and where they are struggling. With the goals and metrics formulated in the first 30 days, both manager and employee can use these as a reference point to gauge progress while working together to refine goals, apply valid feedback from either side, and rectify any issues with productivity, performance, or confusion regarding a job responsibility.
- Establish consistent team and manager meeting times. By this point, it may no longer be necessary for the new employee to meet weekly with their manager, but a new cadence of meetings should be established for the foreseeable future. This ensures ongoing accountability, but also provides a consistent opportunity for managers, team members, and the employee to voice new ideas, express concerns, and evaluate progress (individually and collectively).
Days 61-90 and Beyond – Encouraging Autonomy
Capitalizing on the momentum gained in the second month of employment, by days 61-90, the employee should be gaining traction and feeling more confident about working independently and fulfilling the full range of job responsibilities assigned to them.
During days 61-90, the new employee should be accomplishing all of the following:
- Working with less supervision and more autonomy. The new employee should feel confident in their ability to complete tasks and projects with limited managerial oversight. Should questions arise, they should be aware of the subject matter experts within the organization (which ones to speak with) or how to promptly discuss a concern with their manager.
- Offering support and expertise to other team members. Since they have become more acclimated to the company and can fulfill all of their job responsibilities, they are in a better position to support other new hires or existing employees who seek out their opinion, advice, or input on a relevant project or task.
- Taking independent accountability for their job performance. At this point, the employee should feel comfortable reaching out to their manager if they encounter a roadblock on a particular project or with a client or job responsibility. Although meeting times have been scheduled to support the new employee moving forward, a rapport has been established that encourages the employee should they have a more nuanced question or if they want feedback on the career goals they established early in the onboarding process.
- Participating in a stay interview (after 90 days). A stay interview is a chance for the new employee to offer the employer or manager feedback on which aspects of the onboarding process were helpful and effective, and which ones could be improved for future hires. It’s also a great chance to reassess the career development plan you formulated at the start of the onboarding process or to gain a general sense of how the employee is feeling about their individual progress with the organization so far.
Optimize Onboarding with CAVU HCM
Talent acquisition, recruitment, and hiring are all essential HR processes, but a great onboarding experience makes a lasting impression on a new hire, improving their productivity, job satisfaction, and engagement with your organization. CAVU HCM offers a comprehensive onboarding solution that empowers your business to welcome, support, and develop your new hires into confident and high-performing contributors to your organization.
Ready to retain top talent and implement a strategy that lets your new employees thrive within the first 90 days? Contact us today to start our collaboration.