A 90-Day Onboarding Plan to Help Turn New Hires Into Valuable Team Members

Employee onboarding usually consists of throwing a bunch of projects at someone their first week on the job. Here's why a 90-day onboarding plan could be a better way to turn recruits into true assets for your business.
March 06, 2015

As a small-business owner, you’re probably familiar with this situation: You’ve hired new employees, and their first week on the job, you dump every single orphaned project on them. Then you call it “onboarding.” It can be tempting, but I find this to be foolish.

Regardless of how much experience your new hires have under their belt, it takes time for them to learn the tools, processes and responsibilities in their new role. You can’t just leave new hires to fend for themselves. Consider these statistics from TalentWise and our own TINYpulse research:

  • It takes an average of eight months for a new employee to become fully productive.
  • 49 percent of millennials agree that they would like a better onboarding process for new hires.

Onboarding can be done better. In fact, a 90-day onboarding plan is what you may need to ramp up a new recruit flawlessly and create a true asset for an organization.

Why Go Beyond One Week?

You might think that a one-week training program is sufficient for new hires. But that’s where a lot of managers miss the mark. Learning takes time, and a study by the The Aberdeen Group agrees—76 percent of companies have extended their employee onboarding to beyond one month.

Lay the fundamental groundwork for success. Have you ever tried picking up a new skill? Maybe learning new software? You don’t become an expert right away. The same goes for your new hires. Breaking down the learning process into 30-day increments allows your employees to focus on learning certain skills at certain times.

Give your new hire a roadmap. Implementing a strategic plan clearly communicates to your employee the onboarding stages. They’ll understand where they’ll start, where they’re going and what they’ll learn along the way. And employees value transparency because a clear direction lets them know what’s expected of them. Laying out this plan gives them that roadmap.

The 90-Day Employee Onboarding Plan

30 days. This is when your new hire starts the ramping-up process. During these first days, introduce them to the software they’ll be using, start them off with small projects and set goals for them to achieve. And most importantly, get them acclimated to the company culture. By the end of 30 days, new hires should have a good idea of their responsibilities, what to expect in their role and what’s expected of them.

60 days. The next 30 days should involve more collaboration and handing over bigger responsibilities. So this is when you should ease off on the training and focus more on the doing. And since your new hire is now an expert on smaller projects, raise the bar and introduce bigger projects and longer-term responsibilities. Not to mention, they’re comfortable with the company culture, so have them collaborate with other teams.

90 days. The last 30 days is all about removing the training wheels. As your employee is taking on more responsibilities and accomplishing bigger tasks, they’re going to start becoming more accountable for their own work. Your new hire is now able to tackle projects with limited guidance from you, and they’re now equipped with bigger responsibilities.

Starting a new job is tough. But having a clearly laid out plan lets your new hire understand what they’ll learn, when they’ll learn it and how they’re going to accomplish each goal. And if you want a handy employee onboarding checklist to tackle this approach, here’s a convenient one for you to try out.

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