What is a 30-60-90 day plan? A definitive guide

Unlock your career success with our definitive guide to the 30-60-90 Day Plan. Learn what it is, when to use it, and how to create one that guarantees


Raja Bothra


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Starting a new job or transitioning into a new role can be both exhilarating and overwhelming. During those initial days, having a well-structured plan can make a world of difference. One invaluable tool for this purpose is the 30-60-90 day plan. In this comprehensive guide, we'll delve into everything you need to know about the 30-60-90 day plan, from its definition to its benefits, creation, templates, examples, and tips.

What is a 30-60-90 day plan?

A 30-60-90 day plan is a strategic document created by individuals, typically new hires or those transitioning into a new role, to outline their goals, objectives, and action steps for the first 30, 60, and 90 days in their position. This plan serves as a roadmap to guide their activities, help them integrate into the organization, and ensure they make meaningful contributions during their initial months on the job. It typically includes specific, measurable, and time-bound goals and action items that align with the individual's job responsibilities and the organization's objectives. The 30-60-90 day plan is a valuable tool for setting expectations, measuring progress, and achieving success in a new job or role.

A study by CareerBuilder found that 60% of employers use 30-60-90 day plans to help new employees get up to speed quickly. Another study by Glassdoor found that 70% of employees who had a 30-60-90 day plan said it helped them be more successful in their new role.

Studies have shown that 30-60-90 day plans can help new employees:

  • Learn about the company and its culture
  • Understand their role and responsibilities
  • Build relationships with their team members
  • Establish goals and track their progress
  • Set themselves up for success in the long term

Overall, the research and statistics show that 30-60-90 day plans are a valuable tool for new employees. They can help new employees get up to speed quickly and set themselves up for success in their new roles.

The significance of the first 90 days

The significance of the first 90 days in a 30-60-90 day plan cannot be overstated. These initial three months are critical for professionals in new roles, whether they are starting a new job, transitioning within the same company, or assuming a new position. During the first 90 days, you're forming your initial impressions of the company, its culture, and your colleagues, while others are also forming impressions of you. Making a positive impact early on can set the tone for your entire tenure.

In a new role, there's typically a steep learning curve as you adapt to the company's systems, processes, and expectations. The first 90 days are a prime period for rapid learning and adaptation. Establishing strong working relationships is vital. You're not only getting to know your coworkers, but you're also building trust and credibility with them. This trust will be essential as you collaborate on projects and navigate challenges together. The first 90 days are when you have the opportunity to demonstrate your capabilities and commitment. Delivering results and meeting or exceeding expectations can boost your confidence and reputation within the organization. The first 90 days on the job is the time to set the foundation for your long-term success, adjust to your new position, and create momentum as a part of your new role, and is also the prime opportunity to acquire new skills.

When to use a 30-60-90 day plan

Here are some situations in which you might use a 30-60-90 day plan:

Onboarding: New employees often create 30-60-90 day plans to help them acclimate to their roles and responsibilities. These plans can help set clear expectations and demonstrate a commitment to success within the organization.

Job interviews: Job candidates may be asked to present a 30-60-90 day plan during the interview process to showcase their understanding of the role and how they intend to make an impact if hired.

Leadership transitions: When a new leader takes over a team or department, they might develop a 30-60-90 day plan to establish their leadership style, set priorities, and communicate their vision for the team's future.

Goal setting and performance management: Existing employees can use 30-60-90 day plans as a tool for setting and tracking performance goals and objectives. These plans can help employees and managers stay aligned on expectations and progress.

Project management: Project managers may create 30-60-90 day plans to outline project milestones, tasks, and deliverables, ensuring that the project stays on track and objectives are met.

Sales and business development: Sales professionals often use 30-60-90 day plans to set targets, strategies, and activities to build their client base and meet sales goals.

Startups and new business ventures: Entrepreneurs and business founders may develop 30-60-90 day plans to guide the initial phases of their business, focusing on tasks like product development, marketing, and customer acquisition.

Career development: Individuals looking to advance in their careers can use these plans to chart their progress and achieve specific career-related objectives.

The 30-60-90 day plan can be a versatile tool for setting short-term and long-term goals, tracking progress, and ensuring that everyone is on the same page. It's important to tailor the plan to the specific situation and adjust it as circumstances change. The specific content and format of the plan will vary depending on the purpose and the individual or team involved.

How a 30-60-90 day plan may help

Clarity in the first 30 days: The first 30 days and first 3 months of your new job can be overwhelming. A 30-60-90 day plan provides clarity by clearly defining your short-term goals and the actions required to achieve them. It's like having a map in unfamiliar territory, helping you navigate your responsibilities effectively.

Structured learning and onboarding: During the initial 30 days, you're in the learning and onboarding phase. A well-crafted plan includes opportunities for training, skill development, and getting acclimated to company culture. This structured approach enhances your understanding of the role and the organization.

Immediate impact in 60 days: In the first 60 days, your plan should have you actively contributing to your team and organization. The 30-60-90 day plan is not just about orientation; it's about delivering results. This early impact builds your confidence and credibility as a new employee and sets the stage for long-term success.

Alignment with organizational goals: A 30-60-90 day plan is not created in isolation. It's carefully crafted to align with the company's objectives. This alignment ensures that your efforts are contributing directly to the organization's success, making you a valuable asset from the outset.

Clear communication with managers: Your plan provides a clear communication tool with your new manager. It helps you establish expectations, seek feedback, and ensure you're on the same page regarding your role and responsibilities. This open dialogue fosters a positive working relationship.

A bridge to the first 90 days: The first 90 days are a critical period for any new employee. Your plan helps bridge the transition from the early days of orientation to becoming a fully functioning team member. It acts as a roadmap to guide your progress.

Goal achievement in 90 days: In your first 90 days, you should not only meet but exceed the expectations set in your plan. This demonstrates your commitment, dedication, and ability to achieve results. Accomplishing your 90-day goals is a significant milestone in your new role.

Preparation for interviews and advancement: A 30-60-90 day plan isn't just for new hires. It's a valuable tool for anyone looking to advance within their current organization or preparing for interviews elsewhere. It showcases your strategic thinking and your ability to set and achieve goals.

Structured self-assessment: By the end of the first 90 days, you'll have a clear record of your achievements and areas where you've excelled. This information is invaluable for self-assessment, helping you identify strengths and areas for improvement.

Enhanced adaptability: Starting a new job can come with unexpected challenges. A 30-60-90 day plan is adaptable and allows you to make adjustments as needed. It fosters the ability to adapt to changing circumstances, a crucial skill in today's dynamic work environments.

Your 30-60-90 day plan is the blueprint for your success in a new job or role. It provides a structured approach to ensure you meet and exceed expectations during your first three months. In this section, we'll break down each phase of your plan in detail.

How to write a 30 60 90 day plan

Research and preparation (first 30 days)

1. Gathering information about the role or project

During the initial 30 days, your primary focus is on gathering essential information about your role or the project you're undertaking. This includes:

  • Job description: Review your job description thoroughly. Understand your core responsibilities, objectives, and expectations. Clarify any ambiguities with your manager or HR department.
  • Project details: If you're involved in a specific project, gather comprehensive details about the project's scope, objectives, stakeholders, and timelines.
  • Company policies: Familiarize yourself with the company's policies, procedures, and guidelines, including HR policies, safety protocols, and communication channels.

2. Identifying key stakeholders

Identifying key stakeholders is essential for effective collaboration and communication. This includes:

  • Team members: Get to know your team members, their roles, and their expectations. Building strong working relationships within your team is crucial.
  • Managers and supervisors: Establish open lines of communication with your direct supervisors and managers. Understand their leadership styles and expectations.
  • Cross-functional partners: Identify individuals or teams you'll frequently collaborate with. These could include colleagues from other departments, clients, or vendors.

3. Setting short-term goals

In the first 30 days, set clear, short-term goals that align with your role and the organization's objectives. These goals should be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART). For example:

  • Learning objectives: Define what specific knowledge and skills you aim to acquire during this phase. This could include mastering a software tool or understanding a particular industry trend.
  • Integration goals: Set goals for integrating yourself into the team and company culture. This might involve attending team-building events, contributing to meetings, or taking on small projects.

Building relationships and learning (days 31-60)

1. Developing rapport with team members

During the second phase of your plan, it's essential to focus on building strong relationships within your team. This includes:

  • Active listening: Listen actively to your colleagues. Understand their perspectives, challenges, and aspirations. Show genuine interest in their input.
  • Collaborative approach: Demonstrate your willingness to collaborate and contribute to the team's success. Be open to feedback and suggestions.
  • Effective communication: Communicate clearly and transparently. Keep your team informed about your progress, challenges, and accomplishments.

2. Understanding company culture and values

Company culture plays a significant role in your success. In the second phase, invest time in understanding your company's culture and values:

  • Observe and emulate: Observe how things are done within the organization. Emulate behaviors and practices that align with the company's culture.
  • Values alignment: Ensure that your actions and decisions reflect the company's core values. Show a commitment to these values in your daily work.
  • Cultural sensitivity: Be sensitive to cultural nuances within the organization. Respect diverse perspectives and practices.

3. Expanding knowledge and skills

Continual learning is essential in any role. During this phase:

  • Skill development: Identify specific skills that are relevant to your role or project. Seek opportunities for training or self-improvement.
  • Industry insights: Stay updated on industry trends and best practices. Attend webinars, read relevant publications, and engage in professional development activities.
  • Feedback loop: Request feedback from your manager and peers regarding your performance and areas for improvement. Use this feedback to refine your approach.

Taking initiative and delivering results (days 61-90)

1. Taking on more responsibilities

In the final phase of your plan, demonstrate your readiness to take on additional responsibilities:

  • Initiative: Proactively identify opportunities to contribute beyond your initial scope. Volunteer for projects or tasks that align with your skills and interests.
  • Leadership: If applicable, take on leadership roles within your team. Show that you can lead by example and make a positive impact on team dynamics.

2. Achieving specific milestones

Set clear milestones for achieving your goals during this phase:

  • Milestone tracking: Regularly assess your progress toward your 60-day goals. Make necessary adjustments to stay on track.
  • Celebrate achievements: Celebrate milestones and accomplishments with your team. Acknowledge their support and contributions to your success.

3. Contributing to long-term objectives

Demonstrate your commitment to the organization's long-term objectives:

  • Strategic thinking: Engage in strategic thinking and planning. Identify how your work contributes to the company's long-term vision and communicate this to your team.
  • Sustainability: Consider the sustainability of your contributions. Ensure that the positive impact you've made during your 90-day plan extends beyond this initial period.

By following these steps and committing to your 30-60-90 day plan, you can make a substantial impact in your new role or project. Remember that adaptability and continuous improvement are key to your long-term success.

30 60 90-day plan example

30 Days:

  • Meet with my manager and team members to discuss my role and responsibilities.
  • Complete a comprehensive onboarding program to learn about the company, its products or services, and its marketing strategy.
  • Start building relationships with key stakeholders, including customers, partners, and industry influencers.
  • Develop a plan to assess the current state of the company's marketing efforts.

60 Days:

  • Complete the marketing assessment and identify areas for improvement.
  • Develop a plan to implement the necessary improvements.
  • Start executing the marketing plan and track results.
  • Present the marketing plan to my manager and team members for feedback.

90 Days:

  • Finalize the marketing plan and make any necessary adjustments.
  • Continue executing the marketing plan and track results.
  • Make progress on developing new marketing initiatives.
  • Present the results of the marketing plan to my manager and team members.

This is just an example, and the specific goals and activities to create the best 30-60-90 day plan will vary depending on your role, hiring manager, and the company you work for. However, this example should give you a good starting point for creating your own plan.

Tips for creating a successful 30-60-90 day plan

A well-crafted 30-60-90 day plan is a powerful tool for achieving success in a new role or project. To ensure you have an effective 30 60 90 day plan, consider the following tips:

Tailoring the plan to your specific role or industry

One of the critical factors for developing a 30 60 90 day plan is tailoring it to your unique role or industry. Here's how to do it effectively:

a. Industry research: Understand the specific challenges, trends, and best practices relevant to your industry. This knowledge will help you set realistic goals and action steps.

b. Role-specific goals: Your plan should reflect the responsibilities and expectations of your role. If you're in a sales position, your goals will differ significantly from those of a project manager or software developer.

c. Company culture: Consider the culture and values of the organization you're joining. Ensure that your plan aligns with these cultural elements, emphasizing behaviors that contribute positively.

d. Team dynamics: Take into account the dynamics within your team. Are there any existing challenges or opportunities for collaboration? Tailor your plan to address these dynamics.

Setting SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, time-bound) goals

The effectiveness of your 30-60-90 day plan hinges on the clarity and specificity of your goals. Here's how to set SMART goals within your plan:

a. Specific: Clearly define what you want to achieve. Avoid vague objectives. Instead of saying "improve communication skills," specify "attend communication training and apply it during team meetings."

b. Measurable: Establish measurable criteria to track progress and success. Use metrics or indicators to determine whether you've met your goals. For example, "Increase sales by 15% in the first 60 days."

c. Achievable: Ensure that your goals are realistic and attainable within the given timeframe. Setting overly ambitious objectives can lead to frustration and burnout.

d. Relevant: Every goal should be directly relevant to your role, responsibilities, and the organization's objectives. Avoid setting goals that don't contribute to your success or the company's.

e. Time-bound: Assign specific timeframes to your goals. Indicate when you plan to achieve them, whether it's within the first 30, 60, or 90 days. This creates a sense of urgency and accountability.

Seeking feedback and adapting the plan as needed

Your 30-60-90 day plan should not be set in stone. It should be adaptable to changing circumstances and feedback. Here's how to do it effectively:

a. Early feedback: Seek feedback from your manager, team members, and colleagues as early as possible. Their insights can help you refine your plan and align it with the organization's expectations.

b. Regular check-ins: Schedule regular check-in meetings with your manager to discuss your progress. Use these meetings as opportunities to adjust your plan based on feedback and changing priorities.

c. Be open to adaptation: Be open-minded and flexible. If you encounter unforeseen challenges or opportunities, don't hesitate to adjust your goals and action steps accordingly.

d. Continuous improvement: Treat your plan as a dynamic document that evolves with your learning and experiences. Continuously assess what's working and what needs adjustment.

Balancing short-term wins with long-term objectives

In your 30-60-90 day plan, striking a balance between short-term wins and long-term objectives is crucial for sustained success. Here's how to achieve this balance:

a. Early wins: Include goals and action steps for quick wins in the first 30 days. These early successes boost your confidence and credibility.

b. Long-term vision: Keep the long-term objectives in mind while focusing on short-term wins. Ensure that your early achievements align with the broader goals of your role or project.

c. Progression: Your plan should naturally progress from short-term to medium-term (60-day) and long-term (90-day) objectives. This demonstrates your ability to think strategically and execute progressively.

d. Milestones: Set milestones or checkpoints at various intervals to track your progress. This ensures that you're on the right track to achieving both short-term and long-term goals.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

What is a 30-60-90 day plan?

A 30-60-90 day plan is a strategic document that outlines an individual's goals, objectives, and action steps for their first 30, 60, and 90 days in a new job or role. It serves as a roadmap for success during the early stages of employment.

Who should create a 30-60-90 day plan?

Anyone starting a new job, transitioning into a new role, or taking on a significant project can benefit from creating a 30-60-90 day plan. It helps individuals set clear expectations and achieve early success.

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

Benefits include a structured approach to integration, clear goal setting, alignment with organizational objectives, better communication with managers, and a roadmap for success during the critical first 90 days.

Should I share my 30-60-90 day plan with my manager or team?

Yes, it's generally a good idea to share your plan with your manager or supervisor. It helps establish expectations, allows for feedback, and ensures alignment with organizational goals. However, use discretion if your plan contains sensitive or confidential information.

How often should I update my 30-60-90 day plan?

Your plan should be adaptable. Regularly review and update it based on feedback, changing priorities, or unforeseen challenges. It's a dynamic tool that should evolve with your experiences.

Are 30-60-90 day plans only for new employees?

No, while they are commonly used by new hires, 30-60-90 day plans can also benefit individuals transitioning into new roles within the same organization or taking on significant projects. They help set clear objectives and ensure success in any new endeavor.

Is a 30-60-90 day plan a one-size-fits-all document?

No, effective plans are tailored to an individual's specific role, industry, and organization. They should align with job responsibilities, company culture, and objectives.

Can a 30-60-90 day plan be used for career development or job interviews?

Yes, a well-crafted plan can showcase your strategic thinking and goal-setting abilities. It can be valuable for career advancement within your current organization or during job interviews to demonstrate your readiness for a new role.

What happens if I don't meet my goals in the specified timeframe?

It's important to be adaptable. If you encounter challenges that prevent you from meeting your goals, discuss them with your manager, seek solutions, and adjust your plan as needed. The focus should be on continuous improvement and learning.

How can I ensure the success of my 30-60-90 day plan?

Success lies in setting clear, achievable goals, regularly seeking feedback, staying adaptable, and maintaining a balance between short-term wins and long-term objectives. Communicate openly with your team and manager to ensure alignment with organizational goals and expectations.

In the dynamic landscape of modern careers, the first 90 days can be a make-or-break period. Whether you're embarking on a new job, transitioning into a different role, or undertaking a significant project, Prezent can help you to create a well-structured strategic plan template for a 30 60 90 day plan. Remember, the best plans are those that are adaptable. They evolve with your experiences, incorporating feedback and adjustments as needed. The journey to success in your new endeavor is a dynamic one, and your 30-60-90 goals are your trusted companion, guiding you through the early stages and setting the foundation for long-term achievement.