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The 90-Day Onboarding Plan: Days 1-30

Have you ever started a new job at a new company and quickly realized it was not the place for you? You’re not alone. Up to 28% of employees leave within the first 90 days at a new job. From an employer’s perspective, that statistic is alarming. Luckily, early employee turnover is easily mitigated through solid hiring and onboarding practices. 

Top three reasons why employees quit early on:

  1. The job responsibilities and expectations did not match what the candidate was told during the hiring process 
  2. There’s no structured onboarding 
  3. Training stops after initial onboarding 

The job responsibilities and expectations did not match what the candidate was told during the hiring process. The hiring process does the heavy lifting to prevent employee turnover from incorrect expectations. It’s crucial to have a clear job description and communicate it effectively to candidates throughout the hiring process.

There’s no structured onboarding process. Companies should spend their time creating a new hire orientation and structured onboarding program that culminates in an exceptional first day and first-week experience.

Training stops after initial onboarding. To me, this means 1) there is not an effective 90-day training plan in place and 2) there is no ongoing training and job development in the role. 

The purpose of a 90-day plan is to have someone trained and performing in the role at the end of that time. They may not know everything at this point, but they should be producing. 

For some roles, the plan might be shorter, with the new hire beginning to produce at 60 or 30 days … or even during their first week! Keep in mind I’m talking about a more traditional 90-day plan that can be adjusted to your business and the positions for which you hire and train. 

Today we’ll address the first 30 days in your 90-day plan. Think backward: If at the end of 90 days, you want a fully ramped hire, what goes into those first 30 days on the job? 

The First 30 Days 

In the first 30 days, you want a new hire to both to get oriented both to your company and to the specific role. Remember, the more you invest in a new hire’s success upfront the sooner they will be producing and creating leverage for you in the long run. 

Shoot for small milestones during this early period. 

During the first week, you may have specific goals or a schedule every day. I do this at CareerPlug, micromanaging new hire’s calendars for the first week to help make introductions and focus their training on what I want all of our team members to know: who we are at CareerPlug and how to use our product. 

It’s important to create a great first impression during this first week. Use onboarding checklists to ensure you’re staying compliant with paperwork and giving new hires early need-to-know info about the office and your team.

Weeks two through four may skip the day-to-day agenda and instead focus on goals or milestones for the week. For example, here are a couple of goals we had for our recent Director of Product hire during her first four weeks: 

Week one: 

  • Learn about company and culture
  • Start to understand our products and client base

Week two: 

  • Continue learning about our product and our clients
  • Get an introduction to our place in the ATS market
  • Begin to understand how we use data at CareerPlug
  • Get logins for and learn how to use product team tools 

Weeks three and four:

  • Continue learning our product and our space
  • Take on writing of small tickets
  • Articulate what makes CareerPlug different from our competitors 

These goals were followed by the same key tasks for the week and allowed flexibility for our new Director to set up meetings, build relationships, and use company resources to accomplish these goals.

You can see that the goals for the first 30 days are mostly learning-related with some actual producing (writing up small tickets) happening by the end of the month. 

You can use this general idea — learning to small production tasks over four weeks — for most positions. For many jobs, production will come much sooner: a new server at your restaurant might only need a few days of training and shadowing before they can start handling their own tables. 

Here’s a sample list of goals for a salesperson’s first 30 days:

  • Understand our core product offerings
  • Research competitors and articulate what makes us different
  • Spend time shadowing current sales team members
  • Handle an inbound prospect call or email 

Check-in frequently with your new hire. During the first week, the new hire’s manager should be having daily or near-daily one-on-one contact. After the first week, set up a weekly meeting to review goals, cover what they’ve learned each week, and work through any roadblocks. This will give you a good pulse on how they are progressing and keep them focused on the right priorities as they get up to speed. 

In future blogs, we will outline a plan past day 30 to 60 and 90 days. Check out our 30, 60, 90 day plan for managers if you want to get ahead.

Take Action: 

  • Create onboarding checklists for the first week
  • Identify where you want a new hire to be at the end of their first 90 days. Define what fully ramped looks like in the role.
  • Create goals/milestones for the first four weeks on the job 
  • Setup a consistent cadence to check in with new hire on their progress (at least once per week)

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