The First 90 Days: Transitioning New Hires into Valuable Team Members

Jen Dewar
By Jen Dewar
March 2, 2022
Creating an exceptional onboarding experience is crucial for new hire retention, which is why crafting a successful 90 day onboarding plan is so important. After all, 69% of employees are more likely to stay at their job if they have an excellent onboarding experience.

Not only that, but the costs of finding and onboarding an employee replacement are high. In fact, SHRM estimates it costs companies 6-9 months of an employee’s salary to acquire a qualified new hire and get them up and running. So what can you do to create a 90 day onboarding plan that will impress your new hires?

With strategic employee onboarding, the transition from new hire to valuable team member takes place in the first 90 days.

Boosting engagement, optimizing productivity, and increasing employee retention, a strategic onboarding program sparks this new hire metamorphosis. But the transformation doesn’t just happen with the luck of time. It takes a clear, structured onboarding program to reach your new hire goals.

Here’s the 90 day break down to gaining valuable new team members through employee onboarding.

Sapling’s FIRST 90 Days: Transitioning NEW Hires into valuable team members will Cover:

DAY 1: With a stale first day,
new hires expire

1 in 25 new hires leave their new job after a bad first day. Don’t miss the chance to make a lasting impression — the first day should be reserved for a warm welcoming to the team, company culture, environment, and their new buddy.

Weaving esignaturing into employee preboarding lets you focus on giving new hires a first day experience that will get them excited and engaged. Once a new hire starts, having onboarding playbooks to reference can be immensely helpful, whether that's an engineering new hire, sales, or marketing!

DAY 15: Invest in culture,
encourage feedback

Encourage feedback

A great idea is setting up new hires to eat, meet with their coworkers to ensure a connection, a great idea is to have their manager take them to lunch after the first two weeks on the job. Encourage the manager to get feedback about the onboarding process, how they are settling in, questions that have come up. This is the time when any new hire is gathering valuable information, so encourage honest and read feedback.

Invest in culture and Company Values

Keep in mind, the first two weeks is all about making sure the new hire is invested into the company culture and is seeing the value that your organization brings. When speaking with the new hire, tie in phrases when answering questions such as," We do this, because quality is important" or "We have heard from our customers, that this makes us most effective."

DAY 30: Connect,
learn, and set goals

1 Making Connections

Say you’re introduced to 10 people within 30 minutes of arriving to an event. What are the chances you’ll remember all 10 names an hour later? Strategize coworker introductions by detailing employee names, headshots, titles, and roles in a central onboarding location. To enhance the way new hires befriend their colleagues, learn about company culture, and access fundamental information, establish a buddy program as part of your early onboarding process.

2 Strategizing with early onboarding goals

New hires should have a detailed description of their position for a concrete understanding of their role. Setting clear, time-bound early onboarding goals gives new hires the structure they need to get moving in the right direction. Make expectations clear and provide full access to resources and assistance so that new hires can begin accomplishing manageable tasks.

3 Early training for
Accelerated success

Early tasks and projects can build confidence and highlight where new hires might need more training. Not all new hires have mastered every skill they’ll need. Ask about their preferred method of learning and use mentorship and structured training to accelerate success, guiding them on new software, tools, and skills.

DAY 45: Performance
plans, continue checking in

1 set up a performance plan

Once the new hire has had time to become acquainted with the company culture and has had time to adjust to their new role, it is critical that HR helps set up a performance plan. A performance plan consists of goals they want to hit, career mapping, metrics and activities.

2 Continue checking in

There is no such thing as too much communication. Continue checking in with the new hire, even for just 5 minutes at the end of every week to ensure that they are adjusting well to the new role. During this check in time, you can outline what they have for the following week, or recap what went well for them.

DAY 60: Collaborate, align, and
hold accountable

1 ALIGNING goals AND encouraging collaboration

Continue aligning new employees with company mission and values by fostering engagement, strengthening teams, and encouraging collaboration. Get the whole team involved in onboarding by holding regular group meetings. Set goals that align with the organizational strategy to help new hires realize how they can individually contribute to the company’s mission.

2 Delegating accountability and Managing workflows

With ongoing training and support, new hires should start making more meaningful contributions. Keep the workflow process organized and centralized, so managers and employees can access and update progress, holding new hires accountable for their own work.

DAY 75: Outside learnings
and small wins

1 Encourage new hire to continue career development

Once the new hire feels well acquainted and integrated into the company environment, it's important that they continue their learnings. Most companies have a learning stipend that encourages employees to further their education, maybe books, webinars conferences. Share with the new hire a list of recommended learnings so that they can start to incorporate that into their work.

2 Create projects for SMALL WINS

It's critical that the new hire starts working on their own projects that contribute towards their metrics. Around day 75 ensure that the new hire has a project that they work independently on and succeed, in order to feel ready and up to start working more solo on projects.

DAY 90: Increase responsibility
and pursue Development Plans

1 INCREASING responsibility

As new hires become more independent, their responsibilities should increase. Encourage new employees to contribute ideas and take the reigns on bigger, long-term projects. With the training and support they’ve been receiving, they’re now ready to carry out all responsibilities their role entails.

2 Establishing ongoing engagement with Employee Development

87% of Millennials — the largest share of the US workforce — report that professional development or growth opportunities are very important in a career. Making sure new hires are happy with their Employee Development Plans will keep them engaged and on board with the company. As onboarding comes to an end, the structure of a Development Plan can ensure that new hires stick around to continue growing with the organization.

Enhancing Onboarding: Check in
and continually measure success

1 Checking in

When it comes to the first 90 days, don’t leave your new hires guessing whether they’re making it or breaking it. Companies using strategic recognition are 48% more likely to report high employee engagement. If your new hires are on track, recognize their success. If not, communicate with them to find out what’s happening. Onboarding check-ins can reveal where new hires are excelling or where they might need a bit of help, so schedule meetings around days 1, 7, 30, 60, and 90.

2Measuring engagement and improving the onboarding process

Glassdoor reports that 90% of job seekers find it important to work for a company that embraces transparency. Incorporate regular, candid feedback into your onboarding process to find out what is and isn’t working in your new hire onboarding. Strategic surveying and the use of key metrics can help you measure new hire engagement and refine an onboarding program that accelerates the transition of your new hires into valuable team members.
Understanding how to develop new hires within their first 90 days can go a long way towards boosting employee productivity and engagement. Want to learn more about building better connected, more engaged, and higher performing onboarding program?
The depth of connectivity of Sapling into OneLogin, Greenhouse, ADP and Zapier has significantly reduced administrative busywork - allowing us to focus on the more strategic parts of our role.
Hannah DiBruno, People & Culture Associate

How Sapling helped Compass onboard 1,500 hires in 12 months

By partnering with Sapling and OneLogin, Compass’ IT team saved over 15,000 fields of data entry, streamlining handoffs, driving automation and protecting employee data.

By avoiding 750 hours in lost productivity, they saved $37,500 in people costs


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