Your First 90 Days: Do You Have a Plan?

When you first start a new job, it's very beneficial to have a "first 90-days plan." Why? First, because it gives you some direction about where you want to focus your time and attention in your first three months and second, because many companies will give you a "90-day review" after your first three months on the job or even your first three months in a new role. Therefore, having a plan for those first three months is an important factor in your ability to be successful from the start. When you have one of your initial meetings with your manager, share you want to put together a 90-day plan and have some of your own ideas about what it is you believe you need to focus on during that time. Doing things such as meeting one-on-one with other members of the team, with those you will be supporting or working with in your new job and getting to know the structure and culture of the organization should be included in your plan. Ask your manager where they think you should be spending your time and what their top three priorities are for you over the next three months. For example, a customer service representative for a large retail company recently started a new job, and in his 90-day plan, he had the following tasks outlined:
  • Meet one-on-one with five other customer service representatives on the team to find out more about their experience in this role, key challenges and opportunities.
  • Meet with the regional sales manager and sales director to understand their roles, the customer challenges and opportunities for improved customer relations.
  • Spend time reading and learning about the structure of the organization, which includes reading the biographies of the senior staff, understanding the history of the company and how it has grown in the past five years, understanding the current year business objectives and long term strategic plan.
All of these items were key factors to ensure that this individual would know as much as he could about his job and the company in his first 90-days. This not only showed his motivation and desire to do a good job, but also demonstrated his commitment to ensuring his own success. The 90-day plan often turns into a longer-term plan for individual performance goals and objectives. For organizations that have a formal 90-day review process for their new employees, the 90-day plan can then be transformed into the 12-month plan for individual performance objectives. Even if your company does not have a formal 90-day review process, you can still take the initiative to suggest this to your manager. When you meet to share your 90-day plan, tell your manager that you'd like some feedback after your first 90 days, and use that plan as the guide for your conversation. A lot of what happens in your current job and in your entire career will be the result of the effort you put into it and the commitment you have to your own success. Beginning with a 90-day plan, and then building from there, is a great way to start. Image from jörg röse-oberreich/Shutterstock

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