When a new employee arrives at the office for their first day of work, chances are they will experience some nervous jitters—and that’s completely normal. However, ensuring that your new employees feels like part of the team not only eases these jitters, but also plays a pivotal role in their productivity and overall success.

So, how can managers set them up for success? Through effective onboarding and task preparation, for starters. Research from Urbanbound shows that organizations with a standard onboarding process experience 54 percent greater new hire productivity. However, organized onboarding goes beyond simple orientation and delves into goal-setting and continuous support—and it is critical in helping employees succeed in their first 90 days.

Nail the 90-day mark and set your employees up for success with this comprehensive guide:

Mastering the Pre-Game: Hiring & Preparing Employees

A positive onboarding experience leads to higher job satisfaction, improved performance and less turnover, but the real work starts with the hiring manager. One study conducted by The Aberdeen Group shows that the most successful companies are 35 percent more likely to begin onboarding processes before day one. If the candidate is still a green light after initial interviews, skills assessments and reference checks, hiring managers should have them complete a 30-60-90 day plan.

This simple 1-3 page document outlines the net results that the potential hire is committed to achieving during their first thirty, sixty and ninety days at work, and provides a preemptive roadmap to follow. Incorporating the 30-60-90 plan into the hiring process allows managers to preview the candidate’s self-planning method and, more importantly, develop a customized onboarding procedure applicable to the hire’s goals.

When a potential hire accepts a job offer, managers should then send them an orientation schedule and new hire paperwork. Also, take time to set up their work station and write a thoughtful welcome note. These small initiatives help build excitement, establish trust and instill confidence starting on day one.

Welcome to the Team: First 30 Days

As a manager, your influence shapes a new employee’s first impression of your organization. After completing paperwork, shift the focus to physically welcoming new hires on their first day. When an employee arrives, give them a tour of their workspace and introduce them to the team. Instead of simply sharing new colleagues’ contact information via email, take the reins and set up more informal conversations over coffee or lunch. After introductions, allow the employee to dive into their job responsibilities, with you as their guide. For the first week, it is helpful to schedule a regroup with the new employee at the end of every day so they can ask questions and you can provide initial feedback.

As a new hire adjusts to their job, managers play a critical role in goal-setting, particularly on how their individual work contributes to overall company objectives. When developing goals, focus on specific targets that can be monitored (SMART goals). But remember: at 30 days, the new hire probably won’t have made enormous impact yet, which is typical. This timeframe is about making them feel comfortable and building the framework for future success.

Making Strides: Beyond the First Month

After the first month, employees are more acclimated to their new work environment and, therefore, their productivity increases. Forty-five days is typically an important milestone, as this timeframe is said to be the benchmark to get a new employee fully up and running. Research conducted by O.C. Tanner also shows that up to 20 percent of turnover happens in this period. Managers can minimize the possibility of turnover by holding regular deep dives—a formal conversation reviewing their projects and answering questions—at this time. These meetings are also opportunities to assess their performance and how it aligns with their pre-established goals.

At 90 days, managers should begin seeing substantial results from their new hire—but that doesn’t mean the road will be obstacle-free. As a manager, consider maintaining an open door policy, which removes barriers to communication if a problem arises. Your new employee’s thoughts and suggestions will allow you to build and adjust for the future– bringing you one step closer to creating an office of outstanding talent.

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