The first 90 days of employment are critical for focusing new talent and supporting the ability to quickly impact a business. These early days shape the employee's relationship with the company and set the tone for his or her entire tenure. In today’s economy, where top talent with marketable skills have multiple job and career opportunities to choose from and business moves so quickly that “quick terms” are more costly than ever - making nailing the first 90 days more important than ever.
One way HR leaders can facilitate a strong start is by leveraging data to manage and monitor those first 90 days. Using data collection checkpoints or stage gates throughout the first three months of an employee’s arrival, HR leaders can monitor compliance with key actions and trainings in a traditional way. In addition, more strategically minded HR leaders can leverage data captured during the first 90 days to craft indices that measure employee capability, which can provide insight to the health of an organization’s onboarding function as well as to a new hire’s short and long term career trajectory.
4 Crucial Checkpoints For Understanding Employee Potential
Day 0 - An Informed Fresh Start: With the increased use of data analytics in hiring decisions, HR professionals typically begin with a wealth of data before a new employee ever steps foot inside the building. HR leaders can begin with a solid understanding for the potential of their new hire to set the stage by mapping out what they’re looking for from a new hire against the skills, references and past roles that the employee has under his or her belt. Key baselines and insights can be gleaned by creating a Talent Index that reflects a synthesis of information collected during the hiring process from assessments to interviews.
Day 10 - Initial impressions: At 10 days, managers can begin to get a better idea of an employee’s personal career goals and initial impressions of the company. These findings should be considered benchmarks to measure success. Agreeing on ways in which to measure that progress allows leadership to begin charting projections for how well a new hire is fitting in the organization, culturally and with regards to how their personal career goals align to the larger needs of the company or team. In many companies, these first two weeks are marked by training that is directly related to an employee’s ability to contribute to the organization. Such trainings provide great settings for further evaluation of tendencies that may predict an employee’s success working individually, in teams, or even as a leader. During this period, it’s important to note any potential derailers while working on providing feedback and guidance that helps an employee acclimate to his or her new organization and team.
Day 45 - Performance Check: The 45 day mark provides a good stage gate for managers and HR partners to do a quick evaluation of an employee’s performance, based on the short-term projects they’ve worked on and direct feedback from the employee’s team members or other stakeholders. Notably, 22 percent of employee turnover happens during the first 45 days, which means that this period is crucial for mitigating the risk of “quick terms” and supporting longer term success. HR can play a central role in nurturing talent by leveraging data collected pre-hire and during the first 45 days to paint an objective picture of early employee performance. Has the view of the employee’s potential changed? Increased? Stayed the same? What does the data you have available tell you about how to coach and guide the employee through the next 45 days to complete the acclimation process and unleash his or her potential?
Day 90 - Long-Term Prescriptions: After 90 days of employment, managers should begin to see some quantifiable results from a new employee that provides an informed picture of an employee’s aptitudes and areas of improvement. This data should easily convert into prescriptions for how the employee and the organization can work together to overcome challenges and reset any initial expectations on potential. Do you want to accelerate this employee to a leadership track? Set them up with a mentor to address core competencies that need to be stronger? Use their particular skillset for a different area of the business?
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