Master New Hire Onboarding with a 30-60-90 Day Plan

You sat through a ton of interviews, evaluated your best candidates, and made a hire. You’re pumped about the impact this new employee will make on your business. They have the values and potential you were looking for during the hiring process.

Before you throw them to the sharks, it’s important to put together a plan with key milestones and metrics. A strong onboarding process helps new hires measure themselves and feel like they are making a contribution to the company.

What if I hired someone who can do everything on their own?

Even though most superstar candidates are self-starters, they still need a strong onboarding process to help them become comfortable with their new role, and the people they will interact with.

If you need some more convincing, here are some new hire facts. 17% of new hires leave after the first three months and up to 20% of all turnover happens in the first 45 days. And that’s for all jobs! If you employ hourly employees that rate is even higher. Hourly employee turnover rates are close to 50% and losing an hourly employee could cost you $5,000 on average!

How to Win at the Onboarding Process

The first 90 days can be critical to a new team member’s success and their desire to continue with the company. This is an important time for new hires to learn about the company, the people that they will be working with, and their roles and responsibilities so they can become that star employee.

To do this, many companies set up a 90-day onboarding plan for new hires. This is usually a checklist that includes milestones and key meetings that help new employees learn, and eventually perform, during the first 90 days.

Here at CareerPlug, we put together a quick onboarding checklist for you to help increase employee engagement and boost career development. That way your new hires can become great hires, faster. Use these to get some quick wins with your new hires and help them get comfortable in their new role!

One thing we should note, this is not an all-inclusive list of steps you should have new hires complete during onboarding, just a little something to help you and your new employees get some quick wins. This also does not include any federal and state forms that may require being completed. You should edit this as needed.

If you’re looking for more detail on some of these steps or an explanation of what kind of goals you should set, keep reading below.

30-60-50 day onboarding plan

Onboarding Goals for the First 30 Days, 60 Days, and 90 Days + Definitions

Setting onboarding goals for the first 90 days, and any amount of time in between can be difficult. Most of this time will be spent learning as employees try to become comfortable with their new role.

When setting goals for the first 30, 60, or 90 days, we recommend using a mix of learning goals, performance goals, growth goals, and personal goals. We included mostly learning and performance goals in our checklist, which should be the bare minimum that should be established.

Here are some definitions for key terms you will see in our checklist, and throughout the rest of this post.

Learning Goals: These are goals that are focused on learning tools/software, any job knowledge needed, and about the company (mission, vision, values, etc.)

Performance Goals: These are milestones or KPIs that need to be hit to ensure your new hire is succeeding. Many performance goals will carry over past 90 days.

Growth Goals: These are goals your new hire will set. These goals focus on ideas or ways that the new hire will establish themselves as a leader.

Personal Goals: These are goals that help a new hire grow as a person within and outside of the workspace. Setting personal goals can help new hires feel like they are part of a community rather than just another cog in the wheel.

Milestones: These are qualitative goals that help establish whether a new hire is doing a good job. Becoming familiar with product or service offerings can make for good milestone goals.

KPIs (Key Performance Indicators): These are quantitative goals that also establish whether a new hire is doing a good job. These should be numbers based. Think sales revenue made per day or along those lines.

Onboarding Goals for 30 Days

The first 30 days should be focused on learning about the company, responsibilities, and getting acquainted with managers. Consider setting up lunch or meetings for your new hire with their manager or department head (if applicable). This is a great time to introduce your new person to other teams and the company culture that they will be a part of.

New hires should also set learning goals so that they can become proficient in the tools, resources, and knowledge they will need to be successful at their job. This should include learning about any software, products, services the company uses or sells on a day-to-day basis.

Another important part of the first 30 days is reviewing milestones and KPIs. Even though new hires shouldn’t be expected to meet KPIs in their first week, or even their first month, it’s important that they have a good understanding of what they will eventually be measured on.

Consider giving new employees a realistic milestone goal during the first 30 days that they can complete. An example might be job shadowing someone for a week. When you add these milestone goals in, employees feel like they are hitting goals which helps them to find their new role more enjoyable.

The first 30 days will most likely be your longest list of items new hires need to complete since they will need to set up many things before they can start contributing.

Onboarding Goals for 60 Days

At this point, new hires should really start to become more comfortable in the onboarding process. This is a time where they will be able to start taking on some long-term responsibilities, become comfortable with other employees, and start to participate in any necessary discussions.

While much of the learning should be completed by the end of the first 30 days, this is a good opportunity for managers to teach through feedback. If there are any areas that the new hire might need to improve in, this is a good time to surface that feedback.

This is also a great time to identify any knowledge gaps. Maybe your new hire didn’t know how to process a request from a customer or client. Maybe they don’t feel completely comfortable using the software or a point-of-sale system that’s used on a daily basis. This is a good time to ask new hires what roadblocks they have come across or if there are any questions they have received that they don’t know the answer for.

Onboarding Goals for 90 Days

By 90 days new hires should be able to start working independently on tasks or projects. They should be participating in any relevant discussions and be comfortable using any tools or software that need to be used. 

During the end of the 90-day onboarding process, new employees should start working towards KPIs or any other goals that have been set forth. Make sure any knowledge gaps have been filled so that your new hires can become superstar employees.

They should also be taking on more longer-term responsibilities and proactively offering solutions or suggestions to any shortcomings. New hires should also have established trust among managers and other employees. They don’t need to be best friends with everyone they work with but there should be some rapport built.

The last, but most important goal that should be completed during the end of the onboarding process is a 90-day review. This should be a formal discussion with your new hire that offers feedback and analyzes their performance during the first 90 days.

Final Thoughts on Launching New Hires

As we wrap up, here are some closing points to help you master the onboarding process. Think of these as summary tips to make sure your great hire becomes a great employee! Remember, a great onboarding process is crucial to increasing employee engagement and knowledge. 

Engaged, knowledgeable employees can help earn more money for your business which can fuel your growth.

  • Set goals for 30 days, 60 days, and 90 days.
  • Goals should be a combination of learning goals, performance goals, growth goals, and personal goals.
  • Make sure your goals are both qualitative and quantitative.
    • It can be hard for new employees to hit on KPIs early on especially when they are still learning.
    • Qualitative goals allow new hires to feel like they are getting quick wins and reaching goals.
  • Onboarding isn’t just about learning and performing a job, it’s as much about creating lasting relationships that help your new hires grow professionally and personally. That’s how they will end up sticking around!

Download a free 30-60-90 Day Onboarding Checklist

30-60-90 Day Onboarding Checklist

Use the free onboarding checklist designed by the Hiring Experts at CareerPlug for your own onboarding needs.


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