Onboarding: The First 90 Days

Onboarding a new employee and their first 90 days can be crucial to both of you. You spend so much time and effort finding the right people.  However, what happens when they show up on Day One? How do you handle employees’ first few hours and their decisive first 90 days on the job?

A Plan

You won’t get a second chance to make that vital first impression. Yet many workplaces simply throw new hires to the wolves with a “sink or swim” strategy. Not smart! Employees who participate in a structured onboarding program are 69% more likely to remain with the company after three years compared to those who have no training.

You need a plan in place, nothing complicated, just simple training.  Therefore, this article attempts to lay out a straightforward, practical 90-day strategy to welcome employees. It gets them up to speed and helps them become fully engaged. The result: Better performance and stronger retention.


I put together some ideas to put into your planning.  First and always include the six critical steps of onboarding (call me for information) and how to implement them.  Above all and in all sessions, give the new employee a voice.  Furthermore, allow him/her to ask as many questions as needed

First Day:

Welcome your new hire with good old-fashioned hospitality. Serve coffee, donuts, juice or any other good food. Invite the entire staff or the important leaders from the employee’s assigned work areas to greet him/her.

Company Orientation:

  • The culture and values take time to completely understand. For that reason, help the new employee understand the kind of place he/she now works.
  • Basic administrative activities, such as payroll, email, etc, should be completed right away.
  • Through a benefits overview the new employee is impressed that the value of their employment with the company reaches beyond just the hourly pay or salary they receive.
  • A Handbook review, the guidelines you set forth for all employees, must be on the agenda.
  • Introduce the employee to a company overview, explaining what the company makes, who the customers are, and what each of the departments do.

Host them for a luncheon at least on the first day of the on-boarding.

Finally, make sure the new employee receives proper, current Compliance Training in harassment, violence in the workplace, ethics, and safety.

Second Day:

It’s time to move the trainee to his/her respective work areas.  This called Skill Level Training.

Begin this phase of training with an overview of the job(s), the skills they need to learn, and the performance criteria expected. Always inform your employees to expect performance reviews.

If unable to do so the first day, introduce the new employees to the team members with whom they will work.

Give a tour of the work area and show how their work and portions of the overall process affect the outcome of company’s finished product.

The First 90 Days:

Re-introduce new employees to his/her assigned trainer/mentor and explain the training process.  Provide all documentation necessary for understanding the job, the skills, and the quality requirements.

Furthermore, provide step-by-step plans for the training process. Remember to include release points for determining the success or lack of success of the employee.

As training progresses, take time to explain how each step being taught fits into the bigger picture.  Impress on the new hire the value of meeting quality requirements.  Also, never leave out the importance of communication both to and from the employee.  Make proper and appropriate communication a requirement of the job.

Conduct documented performance reviews at 30 days, 60 days, and finally, at 90 days.  Instill in the employee the understanding that a reasonable amount of time will be given to accomplish the skills necessary to do the job.

Finally, conduct the 90-day performance review with the understanding that the employee demonstrates the ability “work at speed” and perform all quality requirements.

New Employees

What matters to new employees and what they want to know from you:

  • Obviously, the number one thought of the new employee stems from the concern of how he/she fits in to the new environment.
  • Secondly, he wants to know pay and benefits.
  • Then, he will want to know there are measures of understanding in place in the expectations set forth on job performance.
  • Finally, he will want to know when to expect that his training will end and that he is considered a regular employee.

Consider this:

Research shows that almost 50% of Millennials plan to switch employers this year because their expectations about the job contrasted so greatly with their actual experience. A smart 90-day onboarding plan would stop such turnover in its tracks.

So, stop spending more time on your company picnic than you do on your onboarding process. Unlock the secrets to create a simple but effective 90-day onboarding program that will help you achieve two of your most important HR goals – higher productivity and lower turnover.

Call Don Swift and Associates for help and guidance when you begin your onboarding process.