The Importance of Having a 30-60-90 Plan for Your New Job

Jolene Pilgrim
4 Aug 2018

So you’ve toiled, searched, interviewed and followed up and have finally had all of your hard work rewarded with a brand, sparkling new job offer.  Congratulations! Pop the champagne, pat your own back and take some time to congratulate yourself on a job well done, and earned. Once you’ve got that out of your system, however, it’s time to get to work.

Starting a new job is an exciting time in everyone’s career.  The occasion also is an opportunity to make exponential career advances.  A new job means a new supervisor, team and ability to provide value to your new company.  Statistics show that a new employee’s contributions return a greater level of value to the employee in terms of pay raises, bonuses, and promotions than when the same relative actions are taken after several years into an employment.  Want to prove your worth, succeed in your new position and take advantage of this “honeymoon effect” when it comes to employer perception of performance? Read on for a handy 30-60-90 day action plan that will set you up for success with any new job opportunity.

The Purpose of Planning

Before we delve into specifics, let’s talk about the benefits of laying out your 30-60-90 plan before you’ve set foot in the door of your new job.  It’s a well-known fact that setting out a plan of action allows individuals to be more focused and helps keep you on task. Setting goals allows you to better allocate resources across an extended period of time and can keep you and others accountable when certain thresholds aren’t met.  Developing a set of milestones can also help strengthen your position with superiors when you have your “goals and accomplishments” already laid out without prompting during your performance review or check-in. A plan can be formal or a set of notebook entries; whichever format works best for your working style.  The mos

The First 30 Days

The first 30 days in any job will mostly be dedicated to learning the ropes of your new company and position.  It’s important to not overreach with what you think you can accomplish during the critical first month. Give yourself time to learn systems and procedures as well as company culture and structure.  You’ll be building your long-term career on this foundation so be sure to devote the necessary time and resources to learn as much as you can.

Your actionable items for the first 30 days should be centered around the understanding that you still probably won’t know what you don’t know.  Tangible targets for this milestone could, therefore, be items like “knowing the names of my team and company management” or “understanding where my role fits within the organization.”  If you’re using software or machinery you are unfamiliar with, make it your mission to know the systems inside and out before the 30 days are up. A great piece of work product for this time could be creating documentation of your department’s workflow.  You may not be ready to make any major changes at this point but creating a document will help you identify areas of strength and weakness that may need to be upgraded as you progress.

The 60 Day Milestone

The next big set of milestones should be your one to two-month window.  At this point, if you followed your plan you will have learned the basics of your company and individual job role and are ready to start getting things done.  It’s important to note that this is your time to shine when it comes to demonstrating your value to your manager and the company. If you have a probation period, most companies will have the expiration of that window fall within the 30-60 day mark.

With all of this in mind, employees starting a new job should think of the 60-day mark as a time when you should demonstrate value and alleviate stress or workload from other team members.  Real examples of accomplishable items could be an assessment and implementation of a system for escalating problems and decision making. Determine a few key tasks that should wind up on your plate rather than that of your manager.  Identify areas of inefficiency and put together plans and proposals for small changes in process. Substantive overhauls will take longer than two months, but working with the resources at hand will allow you to make an impact that is visible during this critical period of time.

90 Days…And Beyond

After you’ve soared through the first two months on the job it’s time to get to work planning for the long term.  At this point, you should be integrated with your fellow team mates and the feeling of being the new kid on the block will be easing.  During this stage, you can start making grand plans for changes in process, replacement of existing infrastructure, and ways that your role can help the company grow.  While the oversight you receive will be lessened after you’ve made it past probation, your managers will still be checking in to make sure you’ve got a firm understanding of the position.

From two to three months, start setting meetings and check ins with your fellow team members.  Find out how the minor process changes you previously made are working out. Ask for feedback and encourage open communication of problems or areas of improvement.  These meetings will be important for letting your team know you have a firm grasp on your position and are actively working towards bigger and better contributions. Depending on your industry or job description, concrete goals such as “x dollars of increased sales” or “y number of more customers” would be great 90 day goals.

After your 90 days is up, the party certainly isn’t over.  Documenting goals through the use of a quarterly or yearly plan can help you gauge your own performance and can also aid in professional development.  Becoming stale is never a good thing in life or business and a regular honest assessment combined with milestones to work towards can help avoid getting into a rut.

Finally, when it comes to format a plan can be as formal as a typed memo or as simple as a set of notebook entries; whichever format works best for your working style.  The most important aspect is writing the plan down and continuing to check in regularly. Keep this up throughout your career and you’ll be assured of always working towards something and moving upwards and onwards in your career.

Jolene Pilgrim