How to use a 30 60 90 day plan for success in a new role

Marlo Oster

Starting a new job is very exciting, but it comes with a fair share of anxiety too. Are you going to get along with everyone? Where do you begin? What if you don’t adapt fast enough? How do you hit the ground running? Enter the 30 60 90 day plan—a clear view of your first three months on the job.

You may have heard the saying, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” A well thought out plan will help you prioritize your tasks so that you can spend your time effectively and adapt to the new environment quickly. Designing and following a clear, adaptable plan that lays out your goals for the first 30, 60, and 90 days of your job will not only impress your manager, but it will also help you make a positive impact on the team quickly. Plus, it will provide you with a metric to gauge your own success.

In this post, we’ll break down the benefits of a 30 60 90 day plan, what medium to use, tips for crafting a 30 60 90 day plan, and what to include.

What are the benefits of a 30 60 90 day plan?

It’s easy to feel like a fish out of water when you start a new job or take on a new role. A 30 60 90 day plan will help ensure you adjust quickly and effectively. The three-month plan will be made up of targeted, manageable goals that meet the expectations of the role as well as those of the company at large.

Without a plan, you won’t know which tasks to prioritize or where to begin. You’ll be scrambling, anxious, and, before you know it, in over your head. Why did I think I could do this job? I don’t even know what I’m doing! Sound familiar? Quiet down your anxiety and Imposter Syndrome by outlining a plan of action. Confidence won’t materialize out of thin air. The best way to confidently hit the ground running is to be prepared.

Creating a 30 60 90 day plan will also ensure your goals align with the organization’s, and it will help you orient yourself to the company’s culture, systems, and processes. Share your plan with your manager and seek their feedback, as this way, you can feel confident that you’re prioritizing the right tasks and taking all of the right steps as soon as you begin.

Plus, creating a 90 day plan will demonstrate that you’re self-reliant and a self-starter. It shows initiative, determination, focus, and accountability—all of which are guaranteed to make a strong first impression on your manager and your team.

How to think through your 30 60 90 day plan

Keep in mind that your plan is likely to change, but preparing one is still extremely valuable. To make things simple, group tasks and projects into four different areas.

  1. Things I must tackle immediately 
  2. Things I want to research and prioritize
  3. Bigger projects that are important but need to be scoped
  4. Projects I’m aware of and may tackle at a later date

Start by doing your research. Learn the ins and outs of your specific role as well as the company’s mission, goals, values, and processes. This will help you create objectives that align with what the company wants to achieve. You can find this information on the company website or by talking to your manager.

Next, take some time to familiarize yourself with the systems and processes you'll be using in your daily work. This includes project management tools, expense reporting systems, communication networks, and so on. The last thing you want is to fumble around trying to figure out how to do things when it's time to get down to business.

Once you have all of this information, start brainstorming objectives for your first 30 days, 60 days, and 90 days on the job. For each objective, think about what success looks like and the metrics you’ll use to measure it. For example, if one of your objectives is to learn the company's product inside and out, you might measure success by completing certain training modules or passing a quiz given by your manager.

Finally, once you have all of your objectives mapped out, put everything into a document or series of slides that you can refer back to as needed. Make sure to share your plan with your manager so that they can provide feedback and offer guidance along the way, ideally during your regular one-on-one meetings.

What format should your 30 60 90 day plan be shared in?

The format of your 3-month plan will depend on the specific organization you work for, as well as your own preferences. There isn’t necessarily a standard length for a 30 60 90 day plan, but it should include resources surrounding onboarding and training, goals you’ll reach by the end of each 30 days, as well as the people and resources you will need to achieve those goals.

It could be a document that’s a few to several pages, or it could be a presentation. Discuss the format with your manager to determine the best way to present your plan.

At Charma, we prefer and recommend new hires use a basic PowerPoint/slide deck (3-5 slides). In the process, we suggest they link to resources that will be useful on an ongoing basis, such as a marketing roadmap, content calendar, product roadmap, etc.

Tips for creating a 30 60 90 day plan

1. Ensure your goals are SMART

SMART is an acronym you may have encountered before. It’s designed to help teams and organizations create clear, attainable goals. It enables teams and organizations to structure and measure their goals in a practical and transparent way. 

SMART stands for:

  • Specific: Make sure your goals are specific, simple, and targeted in order to plan effectively.
  • Measurable: How will you know if you’re making progress or falling behind? What key metrics will help you reach your goal?
  • Achievable: Your goals must be grounded. What can you realistically accomplish within 30, 60, and 90 days?
  • Relevant: It is vital that your goals support the company’s long-term aims and brand values. How will achieving your goals help realize the future hopes of the business?
  • Time bound: A 30 60 90 day plan must be time bound—that’s the whole point. Make your goals practical but ambitious to maintain efficiency and motivation.

2. Stay organized and set clear action items

Organize your plan so that you can easily review it and see a clear picture of the action items you’ve laid out for yourself.

For example, if you want to familiarize yourself with the company’s style guide, your category or goal might be “Understand Company Style Guide.” The action items to ensure you accomplish this goal might be locating and saving the style guide, reviewing the style guide, and asking any questions you have at your next one-on-one meeting.

If you work in sales or marketing and want to gain your first sale or a certain number of leads by the end of your second month, your goal might be “X Sales or X Leads to Show a Meaningful Contribution.” To accomplish this goal, what actions do you need to take? You might include orientation to the company’s products/service, familiarization with sales or marketing tools, and audience outreach.

3. Be flexible and adaptable

You won’t be able to stick to a rigid plan, as it’s likely that you will need to adapt repeatedly. You are designing your 30 60 90 day plan before you know the lay of the land and have figured out your way around. It’s a good foundation, but ideally, the plan will grow and evolve as you learn more about the needs of your role, the people you work with, and the goals of your company.

If you’re presented with new information or different priorities come up, roll with the punches and adapt. Showing an aptitude for adaptability is just as important as demonstrating initiative and preparedness, as adaptability is one of the most sought-after traits in employees. Design a thoughtful plan, as this shows initiative and ensures you’re prepared, but understand it’s likely to change.

📌 Learn more about the importance of your Adaptability Quotient (AQ) and how you can improve your adaptability →

4. Don’t work on your plan in a vacuum

It’s imperative that you discuss your 30 60 90 day plan with your manager and your team. You’re new to the job. If you design a plan without speaking to your team members, you could completely miss the mark. How do you ensure your goals and action items are actually relevant?

Ask questions, seek feedback, and actively participate in one-on-ones and larger team meetings. You’re new, which means your veteran team members are the experts in the room. They’re there to help. Review your plan with your manager and adapt it to the needs of the team and what’s asked of you.

What to include in a 30 60 90 day plan

Month 1: Consider your foundations

The first 30 days of your new role are all about getting acclimated to your new company and team. During this time, focus on learning as much as possible about the company's culture, values, and norms. Start building relationships with your coworkers.

Here are some specific goals to keep in mind during your first month on the job:

  • Familiarize yourself with the company's mission, vision, and values.
  • Learn about the company's history and most recent successes/milestones.
  • Get to know the members of your team and what their roles are.
  • Understand what the company's customers/clients are like and what their needs are.
  • Start building relationships with key stakeholders inside and outside of the company.
  • Save key documents and resources that will help you succeed in your role.

Month 2: Consider implementation 

Gear your second 30 days toward implementation. After a month, you’ll have settled into your role and gotten to know the ins and outs of the company, which means it's time to start putting your knowledge into action. During this stage of your plan, focus on adding value to the company by working on projects and initiatives that move the needle forward.

Here are some goals to be mindful of during your second month on the job:

  • Make meaningful contributions to ongoing projects and initiatives.
  • Start working on long-term projects that will have an impact beyond your 90 days.
  • Identify opportunities for improvement within your department or team.
  • Bring new ideas to the table during team meetings and brainstorming sessions.
  • Continue building relationships with key stakeholders both inside and outside of the company. 

Month 3: Consolidation and adaptation

After two months, you will feel like (and hopefully be seen as) a valuable member of the team. During this final stage of your plan, continue adding value to the company by executing projects and offering innovative solutions when needed. Start thinking about what you'd like to accomplish beyond your 90 days.

Here are some goals to keep in mind during your third month on the job: 

  • Consolidate all that you've learned over the past 60 days.
  • Lead or take charge of at least one major project or initiative.
  • Continue offering innovative solutions to challenging problems. 
  • Begin thinking about long-term career goals at the company. 
  • Review the goals you set for yourself when you first started, and make adjustments as needed.

Onboard new hires with ease using Charma

Beloved by managers, HR, executives, and ICs alike, Charma is the best practice toolkit for managers to organize, motivate, and engage their teams. Use our platform to turn onboarding into a simple and welcoming experience for every new team member. It’s the ultimate tool of transparency, so you can be genuine, clear, and informative from the first day a team member starts.

If you liked this article, we think you’ll enjoy 40 smart questions to ask your boss, which outlines 40 questions to ask during one-on-ones, performance reviews, and casual conversation; plus, we break down why it’s important to ask questions, where to ask your boss questions, and how to find ideal moments.

If you have any questions about our product or content requests, reach out to our team at any time.

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