How to improve onboarding with 30/60/90-day plans

Onboarding is a critical process for new employees, as it sets the tone for their entire tenure with the company. Poorly implemented Onboarding reduces the effectiveness of your team. One strategy I've used to ensure a smooth onboarding  is to implement 30/60/90 day plans. These plans outline specific goals and objectives for the new employee to achieve during their first three months on the job. In this post, we'll explore how to create effective 30/60/90 day plans to improve onboarding.

  1. Start with the Big Picture

Before diving into the specifics of the 30/60/90 day plan, it's important to give the new employee a sense of the big picture. This includes the company's mission, vision, values, and goals. Familiarizing your new employee with the company and team goals helps them focus their energy on high impact work. Make sure the new employee understands how their role fits into the bigger picture, and how their work contributes to the company's success.

2. Create Specific Goals for Each Phase

Once you've covered the big picture, it's time to create specific goals for each phase of 30/60/90 day plan. The goals should be realistic and achievable, but also challenging enough to push the new employee to grow and develop their skills.

For the first 30 days, the goals should focus on learning the basics of the job, getting familiar with the codebase, learning about internal processes, and gaining an understanding of the company culture. I also like to provide a list of key individuals they should meet with, which could include people outside your team. This accelerates their network building and understanding of the company org chart.

For days 30-60, the goals should focus on applying what the employee has learned and contributing to the team's success. This could include taking on small projects or collaborating with team members on larger initiatives. At this point they should be contributing code and code reviews, participating in all meetings, and beginning to identify focus areas.

For days 60-90, the goals should focus on taking ownership of projects and processes, and making a measurable impact on the company's success. They should be contributing in all facets of the team (planning, review, etc.) and be surfacing interesting ideas or observations to you.

3. Provide Support and Feedback

Critical in your 30/60/90 day plan being successful is proving ongoing support and feedback throughout the onboarding process. This includes regular check-ins with the new employee to discuss progress, answer questions, and provide guidance. It's also important to provide constructive feedback to help the employee improve and grow in their role. On top of my own support, I like to pair  new employees with a seasoned team member as an onboarding buddy. This gives the new employee a trusted person they can ask questions and a great start to building their internal network.

4. Adjust as Needed

Not every new employee will follow the exact same timeline for onboarding. Some may need more time to learn the basics, while others may be able to take on more advanced tasks sooner. It's important to be flexible and make adjustments to the 30/60/90 day plan as needed to ensure that the new employee is getting the support and guidance they need to succeed.

Implementing a 30/60/90 day plan can greatly improve the onboarding experience for new employees. By starting with the big picture, creating specific goals for each phase, providing support and feedback, and making adjustments as needed, you can set your new employees up for success and help them make a smooth transition into their new role.