Managing the First 90 Days

How the first 90-days are managed is crucial to how a new employee will succeed within an organization. It is important to make an employee feel comfortable and welcome, which at the end of the day adds to retention if you can believe it. The employee may not know a lot of people or really anyone at the company, so as his/her manager, they’ll appreciate that you show an interest and enthusiasm that they have joined your team.

There are a few key steps to ensure that the employee’s first 90-days are as successful as they can be:

Have the employee’s desk set up before they start. In my career, there have been a few times where I didn’t even have a desk or a computer wasn’t hooked up either on the first day, or first week on the job. Although I was usually in training the first week of these jobs did require computer access which left me at a loss from the beginning. It was frustrating as a new employee to not have the tools to do the job. Also, making sure all new hire and orientation paperwork is already printed and ready for the new employee to access.

On the first day introduce them to the team. Either have a luncheon with the team or simply informally introduce the new employee so they get to know everyone. Give the employee some time during his/her first day to talk to a colleague about the position and let them pick his/her brain a bit. At the end of the day, sit down with the employee to make sure they enjoyed his/her first day and to see if they have any specific questions.

Setting goals is very important for the first 90-days. The goals should be both align with the new hire’s position and the organization’s strategic plan. Create a plan for what the employee should have accomplished within the first 30/60/90 day periods. At BlueFire HR we frequently develop onboarding toolkits for all new hires. These kits outline goals, people to meet, and roles and understanding of what is expected from them, from you, and other important positions impacting his/her position. Also, if the employee needs a certification or a license as a part of his/her job, that should be outlined early on depending of the requirements. Also, make sure that you are setting specific, measurable, attainable, results oriented, and time based goals (SMART).

45-day review is a very important review. At this point, the employee should know enough about the company and how it works, and should have familiarity with the position and what is required. It’s a great time to see if the employee is happy and if they understand the bigger picture with the company.

90-day review is essentially the end of the employee’s trial period. They should have made significant strides in his/her work and you should be able to see results. The employee should understand what needs to be done and his/her expectations going forward. This is also a period where, depending on the company and/or contract, if the employee is not performing up to standards, they can be let go.

Although these are not specific rules for managing the first 90-days, they should help an employee succeed. In my past experience, what was really discouraging as a new employee was not having proper materials or even a desk to sit at. However, where I have succeeded was at companies where they took the initiative and provided all the materials to be prepared to do the job, had meetings ever few weeks to see how I was doing, and who provided me with support if an issue arose.

All companies are different, managing the first 90-days shouldn’t vary too much. By showing the employee that they are welcomed and important, and also providing them with the materials and feedback they need will give them the confidence and knowledge they need to succeed.

Laura Nelson, LEED GA – Business Analyst

BlueFire HR

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