Create a 90 day plan for new staff (FREE TEMPLATE INCLUDED!!)


Often times change in your organization means changes to staffing.  This could include hiring employees from the outside as well as promoting and shifting resources within your organization.  When this happens, it is important that those employees get onboard in their new role, are supported, and are able to add value effectively.   Depending upon the situation, some people will add value very quickly, such as if they’re moving from within the team, however; please don’t under estimate the learning curve even for those internal moves.  For instance, if you have a business analyst being promoted into a manager role, it is important to understand how their role will change (e.g. leading others, approving payroll, understanding how to budget) and develop a plan accordingly.

To help ensure a successful transition of your employees, create a 90 Day Plan that will help accelerate that transition so that those people get to a breakeven point where they’re adding a net value to the organization faster.  Below are a few key items that should be considered when creating the 90 Day Plan.

  1. Identify what type of situation they’re transitioning into – Michael Watkins, author of The First 90 Days outlines the STARS model (Startup, Turnaround, Realignment, and Sustaining Success). Depending upon the situation, a different skill set may be required and different approaches to introducing them to the organization may be required.  For example, if someone is transitioning into a sustaining success situation, their 90 day plan may not need to be as aggressive as a in a turnaround situation.  Additionally, in a turnaround or realignment, it may be important for them to understand the politics in the organization first to avoid early missteps. Ideally, you should identify this when the job is first posted to ensure that you’re hiring a candidate with the appropriate skillset.
  2. Develop a Learning Plan – too often we throw people into a new role and expect them to sink or swim – we assume they’ll learn what they need to know when they need to know it. This can lead to disastrous results.  Instead, include in your plan the learning items that the employee needs to complete as part of their 90 day plan.  This could include company overview training for new hires, training on the required systems needed to do their job, soft skills training, and training related to the team and those they will interact with.  Spread this learning out over the 90 day period based upon what they should know on their first week, and 30, 60, 90 day milestones.  Again, don’t discount the learning process for internal candidates, especially those moving into leadership roles for the first time as they will need to learn how to manage a team and how their role is different from that of their previous role.
  3. Develop a Systems Plan – as basic as this may sound, it is important to outline the systems and access the role will require and ensure new employees have that access to be successful. This will likely tie in with the learning plan, but this can reduce frustration with employees not having the access they need in order to learn and explore the systems and environment.
  4. Develop an Interaction Plan – building relationships is critical and a key part of the 90 day plan. Consider who the employee should introduce themselves to.  Interactions provide an opportunity for people to get to know one another and how they may collaborate with each other in the new role as well as to understand the organizational, culture, and political lay of the land.  If meeting with a key stakeholder, it can also provide an opportunity to understand what others expect of them in their role and how they can secure early wins.  Prioritize those interactions over the first 30 days and beyond if need be.  Interactions can be at a variety of levels and also include observations.  For instance, having a new Marketing Manager sit in the contact center and listen to calls to better understand the role of the contact center staff and the customer experience may be key for them to understand the culture and inner workings of the organization.
  5. Set up a coaching plan – 1:1’s are absolutely critical for a leader to have with all of their employees. These are especially important for new employees to ensure they are getting to that breakeven point within the 90 day period.  As part of the 90 day plan, discuss the employees’ strengths and weaknesses and adjust the learning plan accordingly to ensure they are getting what they need.  Additionally, this provides an opportunity for the employee to reflect on their transition process and as a leader to help provide them with the motivation and support needed.
  6. Give them time to listen AND do – during the first 90 days, it’s important for new employees (particularly leaders) to listen and understand the organization. Just as important is to not keep them on a leash and help provide them with opportunities to secure early wins.  Those wins will help them build credibility and also build their confidence in their new role.
  7. Give them The First 90 Days Having personally transitioned several times, I have chosen to re-read the First 90 Days by Michael Watkins each time. Doing so has helped provide a roadmap the guidance needed to make the change effective.  If possible, give them the book before they start to provide them with the opportunity to get started early.  As a leader, this can help guide your coaching and provide a common framework.
  8. Optimize – reflect back on your last transition. What went well, what didn’t?  What do you think would have helped you get to that breakeven point faster?  Sometimes your worst experiences can provide you with the best ideas to ensure the past doesn’t repeat itself.  Once you’ve created the plan, reflect back and optimize.


Transitioning into a new role whether it be a leader or individual contributor, whether internal or external to the organization can be unnerving.  Not having a plan or a supportive leader will only make this process more challenging and less successful.  Develop your plan today and execute – to get your new employees to the breakeven point in their First 90 Days.

Click on the link to download the Collaborative Dynamics 90 Day Plan for FREE!! to help get you started.  It is fully customizable to meet your needs.  Contact us today and we can help facilitate this process for you.



Collaborative Dynamics is a management consulting firm dedicated to helping organizations lead through change by providing consulting, training, project management, and coaching solutions.

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