How to Design the Best 90-Day Plan for New Hires
During the first 90 days at a new job, your new hire needs to learn the ropes and figure out how to succeed. By implementing a 90-day plan, you create a foundation for a new employee to thrive by integrating seamlessly into your company’s culture.
A good onboarding program can increase employee retention rates by 50%. A 90-day plan helps with the onboarding process by giving clear direction on what new hires need to accomplish in their first few weeks. In addition, employees receive the support and resources to succeed early on.
The goal for the first 90 days is not only for the new hire to meet their objectives but also to gain confidence in their ability to bring value. This way, employees can hit the ground running by the time they wrap up their first quarter with the company.
What is a 90-day plan?
A 90-day plan is a short-term guide for a new hire. It's a low-friction way to get started and create a sense of momentum. The idea behind the 90-day plan is that it provides a framework for what the employee should be doing over the next three months.
The first 90 days are critical for new employees, so it's essential to use this time to set them up for success. One of the most important goals of your 90-day plan is to help your new hire feel at home in their new position. For a productive start, they need the right resources (hardware, remote work tools, training, or anything else). This way, they can start contributing immediately.
A well-defined onboarding process is especially important when hiring remote employees. Explaining your communicating practices is even more critical when you can't meet face-to-face. Make new hires familiar with communication best practices to avoid a toxic work culture later on. New hires should feel included in your team from the start, whether you work fully remote or not.
What to include in a 90-day plan template
Implementing the 90-day plan makes the onboarding process more straightforward and effective. A properly-organized plan is crucial for the onboarding manager, coworkers, and the new hires themselves. There are three critical stages in any effective virtual onboarding program:
- Onboarding Plan – The first step is setting up an onboarding plan that outlines how long it will take for a new hire to get up to speed and become productive within your organization (what to achieve in 30, 60, or 90 days). The length of time for different items should be based on how much training is required for remote employees to feel comfortable with activities.
- Communication strategies – For remote employees to feel like they are part of the team, they need to have well-defined communication practices for the company. For example, explain who to reach out to for specific queries, how to send a meeting request, when to create a task, take notes, update work, send files, etc.
- Learning milestones – Once you know what they need to accomplish over the next three months, it's time to create an actionable path with clear milestones over the 90 days (and beyond).
Task management software is one of the most effective ways to organize a 90-day plan. Tasks streamline activity tracking for everyone involved instead of juggling documents and excel sheets. Furthermore it makes it easier to discuss, involve stakeholders, and manage activities on an individual level.
Below is a 90-day business plan template to support an optimal onboarding experience with tasks. In this example, a sales hire.
30-day plan and goals
The first 30 days are about getting your new hires up-to-speed with their roles and responsibilities.
During this time, they'll be learning how to do their job while also getting familiar with company culture and processes.You can set up formal training programs and informal conversations with managers or peers for remote employees.
After the first 30 days on the job, each new hire should have a clear idea of what their role entails. Also, new hires should know how they fit into their department and company. Some goals to include during the first 30 days include:
- Introduce yourself to your department
- Meet your manager and coworkers by asking them about their interests, background, career, etc.
- Get to know your team members’ roles/responsibilities
- Read a list of resources about your company and its products/services (e.g., training videos, manuals)
- Understand the competitive landscape: key competitors, company positioning, differentiation, etc.
- Learn about the company's culture and history, its vision for the future, and its values
- Become familiar with company policies and procedures
- Shadow a coworker or manager to become more familiar with daily tasks in a full-time position. This way, employees can fully understand what activities the role entails and ask questions about their specific responsibilities if necessary.
- Complete at least one position related deliverable, preferably more.
For each milestone in your 30-60-90 plan, you can also include specific goals to help your employee get there. These goals should be measurable and achievable within that time frame (no vague statements like “learn all our products”).
For example, consider a 90-day plan example with realistic and specific goals like completing tutorials one through five on how to use Salesforce within the first two weeks. You can create a task, assign the new hire, and set the deadline so they know when to work on it.
Once they're finished they can move it to the done list informing the onboarding manager that they looked through it. If they have questions they can just drop a comment in the task so the manager directly gets more context.
Steps to manage the first 30-days
The hire can become his own 30 60 90 day plan leader and involve or update different stakeholders without too much struggle. With assignees and followers, you can already get everyone connected to certain activities before the new hire even joins.
Create an onboarding timeline including regular check-ins over chat, tasks, asynchronous video and in-person meetings with their manager during the first few weeks. By staying in touch, you can ensure everyone is on track with their goals and that there are no questions about what needs to be done next. It'll also allow managers to provide feedback on how things are going so far and make necessary adjustments.
You can build lists using task management software instead of putting the information on a Google sheet. Individuals can view their duties for each list during the first 30 days, 60 days, or 90 days of work.First, you would invite employees and anybody relevant to the onboarding process to a virtual onboarding space. That way, new hires can tag someone when they need to ask a question.
In addition, you can arrange assignments into individual tasks.Opening each task lets you have a conversation about the activity and clarify details. In addition, you can include any checklist items, along with start and due dates.
Finally, you can add a resources list with tasks, or you can add the resources in the notes. You can include:
- Documents that describe the new hire's roles and responsibilities
- Expectations for work during the first few weeks
- Instructions for completing specific tasks
- Other relevant information
Similarly, you can use the Files mini-app for onboarding resources and directly connect relevant cloud files to the space, tasks and notes.
60-day plan and goals
Employees should feel ready to take on some work, the goals within the first 60 days should focus on getting fully comfortable in the role. Here are some goals you can set for your employees during their first 60 days on the job:
- Master the company's products, services, or projects and how they fit into the overall organization strategy
- Learn to proficiently use any software tools your department needs (such as a CRM or Design tool). Make sure to enlist new hires in a remote tech course if you have no internal resources or documentation for this.
- Get to know the company's customers (if you're working directly with them) or at least understand the market segments that your products/services serve (this can be done through interviews or by reading past case studies)
- Learn about the key internal stakeholders (e.g., HR) and their expectations about deliverables and performance metrics
- Start building relationships with coworkers outside of your department who could be valuable allies in the future (e.g., if you want to help with cross-department projects or initiatives)
- Become proficient at understanding what other departments need from you, and start delivering on those requests
In addition to learning about your company's products and services, it's also essential that new hires learn about the culture of your organization. The best way to communicate company culture is by talking with people inside and outside their department.
One of the most crucial parts of onboarding is helping new hires find their voice within company chat rooms to have a sense of belonging within their team. New employees should talk to others in their department and colleagues across departments.
Setting up a virtual water cooler or digital office environment for employees can facilitate such relationships.
Steps to manage the first 60-days
Suppose you have a question concerning a specific document. With a task management approach, the employee can ask a question within the task and mention the hiring manager. Then, the hiring manager receives a notification and can provide an answer.
As a result, communication is better organized and its easier to find the person responsible. Additionally, the ability to check off completed tasks is rewarding for the new hire. Watching that onboarding to-do list go from 20 tasks to 10 can feel like a great accomplishments in the first few days. At the same time, it gives a perspective of how far along the employee is in their onboarding.
On the management side, instead of meeting continuously you can switch to more asynchronous work. Schedule a monthly meeting to review how each procedure in a 30, 60, 90-day plan is doing and keep other communications going with messages and comments.
You can adjust filters in your virtual workspace to categorize everything included in the 30-day plan. Similarly, you can separate tasks by the 30 and 60-day plans together, or only the 60-day ones. Using deadlines helps new hires stay organized during the onboarding process.
Employees can easily switch to a calendar view to visualize which tasks need completing and when.
90-Day Plan and Goals
Once your new employee has been working for a couple of months, it's time to start thinking about the 90-day goals. The next step could include more advanced training or certifications. Also, you want to ensure they're ready for whatever comes next in their career path at your company.
Maybe it's not time for new hires to take on additional responsibilities or projects, but they must know where those opportunities lie. That way, they can start preparing themselves now rather than later.Below are five goals to consider as new employees move from day 60 to 90 at your company.
- Become fully integrated with the company culture
- Set performance metrics for monthly, quarterly, and annual reviews
- Start building relationships with customers and clients, if applicable
- Set up a network with mentors and other leaders within the organization
- Assess where the involvement of the employee for the onboarding of new team members
- Set up a process for suggesting new ideas or projects that could improve your company long-term
The 90-day business plan should include personal development goals. For example, learning new skills or taking classes could be options. Give your new employees autonomy by handing over some responsibility and letting them take ownership of their roles.
It's crucial to regularly communicate with your new hire while getting settled into their role (and even after joining the team). The more often new hires hear from their manager and coworkers, the more engaged they'll feel during their first few weeks.
As a result, companies experience better performance and long-term retention rates.
Steps to manage the first 90-days
Instead of creating a template that nobody uses, a hands-on idea of doing a 90-day onboarding plan is more effective and engaging. In addition, you feel like your team is connected to your onboarding experience.
During the last 30 days of onboarding, employees may consider inviting a mentor or manager to the virtual space. Anyone who wants to participate can join the discussion or start conversations. At the end of 90 days, it's time to evaluate your new employee's performance and determine whether she's meeting or exceeding expectations.
Check whether every item in the original list has been moved to done and create new tasks if necessary. You might want to keep this onboarding space for performance assessment, quarterly reviews or other relevant post-onboarding activities.
Additional Tips for Onboarding New Employees
In addition to the 90-day action plan template, here are some tips for onboarding remote employees:
- Provide detailed instructions on how to use software tools. Remember to attach instructional videos or files to each task to keep them organized.
- Train everyone who will interact with new hires during onboarding. These employees could be managers or someone else in HR, IT or their new team.
- Leverage asynchronous videos with tools like Loom so new hires can connect in a personal way. This way, employees can follow virtual meetings best practices and connect with multiple team members without scheduling too many meetings. Set clear expectations around job responsibilities so there aren't any surprises down the road.
When you're growing your team, keeping up with the onboarding process can be challenging. But one of the biggest mistakes you can make is not setting up an actionable plan.
Virtual onboarding programs rely more on technology to get the same work done compared to face-to-face. Help make the transition easier by outlining what you expect from new employees, what they expect from you, and how you prefer to communicate.
Manage your team onboarding with Rock to quickly integrate new hires into your workspaces and day-to-day project management. Organize all your data in one place and build a positive company culture.