Your new team member – The first 90 days – Leading them to success

The first 90 days for any new hire is critical. It’s your role as their manager to lead them to success.

1) It starts before they start:

It’s a great policy on the day that the future team member sends back the signed offer/contract of employment, to contact them. An email is ok but a personal call, no matter how brief, is far better! Congratulate them on securing the role in your team and welcome them. This small gesture goes a long way.

A few days before they start, send them an outline of what their first week will look like, a schedule of any training, any paperwork they may need to do upfront. This should also include all the details for their first day — where to park, who to ask for, the dress code and anything else they may need to know. Make sure their work station (phone, computer, etc.) is set up and ready for them. All of these logistical and small administrative and communication efforts go a long way in building trust and creating excitement for your new team member.

2) Day 1:

First impressions count. People often refer back to their first day as a point of reference down the line, so make them feel welcome. Arrange some time to sit with them on their first day, talk to them about how their training will be handled, who they can go to to ask anything, what they need to know, and where you expect them to be in terms of knowledge and delivery at the end of the week. Make sure they know when they will receive training on specific systems and processes and how that training is set up for them.

Day one is also a good time to begin setting short-term goals and giving long-term goals context at a high level. This first meeting will set the tone for future meetings, so make it a worthwhile one. Check in at the end of the day.

3) Week 1:

I always like to have an informal breakfast, cakes or drinks at the end of week 1. Your new team member should now feel more relaxed with the rest of the team and this is a great way to interact with them and for the rest of the team to get to know them.

It’s important to check in with them also around how their training is going, is there anything they are struggling with, do they have a good understanding of what is expected and is there any way in which you can support them through this learning period. Do they understand what your business stands for and what behaviours are regarded are crucial? It is important that your team member be given a project or assignment to handle so that they feel as if they are contributing.

4) Mid-Month 1:

Check in again around progress toward the goals you set on the first day and reiterated in the first week. This will help you early identify and resolve any challenges or areas of concern and this will have a huge impact in increasing the potential for great performance.

5) Month 1 and 2:

So your team member should now be familiar with the company and the team. Give them a combination of smaller and larger projects/assignments. Be realistic about their progress and your expectations of them. Make sure you communicate these clearly and often.

At the 45 -60 day mark, given that about 20 percent of staff turnover happens in the first 45 days, take time to spend time with your new hire. If your training and induction programme has a feedback or test component, be sure that you are giving this feedback to your new team member. Its more than just monitoring their abilities though. Find out how they are feeling about the company and team, are they happy with the type of assignments they have been working on, what have been possible tough aspects for them. This meeting is crucial in retaining them.

6) Month 3:

Typically, toward and at the end of 3 months, you should start seeing serious results. They should have a thorough understanding of what is expected and how to achieve this. The 90 day review is another key milestone and this two-way feedback meeting should really be focussed around what they have achieved in terms of the short- term goals set and should also include an outline of the long-term goals at this point. This gives them direction and a clear indication of what will be expected from them down the line. It may also provide valuable information from them about gaps in your training or what you can work on with new employees in the future.

Leading people to success is a process and it requires commitment of your time and efforts. In the long term, these 90 days will prove to be critical in ensuring the team member becomes a valuable contributor. It is extremely fulfilling when you get it right and can be very costly when you don’t. Take the time and make the effort to set up people for success.

Wanda Olszewski

With an Organizational Design and Industrial Psychology background, Wanda has over 40 000 hours of recruitment experience, has interviewed over 15 000 candidates and placed literally hundreds of people over the past 17 years across specialist and rare-in-market requirements. She is passionate about adding Talent value to clients and assisting top professionals in finding fabulous careers.

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