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New Employees: The First 90 Days are Critical

The first 90 days of a new employee’s career in your organization is critical to their success. Too often we get employees ready day one – office or cubicle area set up, computer ready to go, maybe take them out to lunch, introduce them around the department, get all the paperwork completed – and then we may check in with them, but we have no formal 90 day plan to ensure they are starting off on the right foot and getting what they need to be successful.  For many companies, it is a “make or break” situation in the first 90 days. They give the employee 90 days to “make it” or they let them go. It is considered a trial period.

Here are some ways to ensure that your new employees’ first 90 days are effective and of value to both you and them:

  • Check in with the new employee regularly – at least 3 times a week during the first and second week of employment; then at twice a week for the next two weeks (one month)  then move to once a week during the second month. During the last month (third month) check in with the new employee on a bi-weekly basis.
  • During those first 90 days, be sure to introduce the new employees to everyone he/she will be working with in the department; employees in other departments that are his/her peers, and provide a general overview of the organization and how all of the departments are interconnected.
  • After the first 30 – 45 days, begin to check in with other employees within the department and those outside the department with whom the new employee works regularly to see how it is going.
  • At 60 days, sit down with the new employee and discuss how things are going overall (a mini performance review). Are they finding their way around the department/office? Are they beginning to get up-to-speed on how work gets done (internal office politics, informal decision makers, etc.)?
  • At 90 days, review the following based on conversations with the new employees, information gathered from co-workers and your own perception of the new employees based on observations:
    • Competence in the role
    • Ability to work within the group and independently
    • Ability to solve problems, manage conflicts
    • Punctuality
    • Organizational skills
    • Ability to get answers to questions
    • Participation at meetings

Even after 90 days, you should still be spending time with the new employee via one-on-one meetings (just as you would with all your other employees). And, for at least another 30 – 45 days, check in on occasion the new employee’s co-workers to see how things are going.