Goals and OKRs

The Hiring Manager’s Guide to 30-60-90 Day Plans

January 27, 2020
November 7, 2023
Rachel Bolsu
Lattice Team

Starting a new role is daunting at any level. Not only are you tasked with a new set of responsibilities, but you’ll also need to acclimate to a new culture and learn a new business. Glassdoor reveals that it can take up to eight months for a new employee to fully onboard. It’s important to set realistic expectations and clear milestones to help new hires ramp up.

A 30-60-90 day plan empowers hiring managers to set clear expectations, benchmark performance, and ensure new hires deliver value within their first few months. It also gives managers an incentive to do right by their employees and set them up for success. We’ll dive into how 30-60-90 day plans work and how to make them a part of your onboarding process.

What is a 30-60-90 day plan?

In its simplest form, a 30-60-90 day plan acts as a roadmap for your new hire’s first 30, 60, and 90 days on the job. While some managers prefer just setting a 90-day plan, the additional milestones give new hires more clarity into what’s expected of them in their first weeks. This not only helps them perform but also lets the manager focus their coaching and 1:1s against a clear set of objectives and expectations.

Proactive candidates may come to an interview with a proposed 30-60-90. That’s helpful when evaluating candidates to get a sense of their understanding of the role and what they bring to the table. However, even in senior positions, the candidate will likely be unfamiliar with how your team has operated in the past. In cases like these, managers should work closely with new hires to align expectations.

How do you write a 30-60-90 day plan?

The details of your new hire’s plan will depend on their specific position and job level. That said, there are some best practices to keep in mind when building out their 30-60-90 day plan. Consider these five tips when writing a successful 30-60-90.

1. Set realistic expectations.

By the time you identify the need for headcount, get approval, post the job description, and find the right candidate, you’ve likely been in dire need of that person for a while. It’s tempting to want them to come in and make up for lost time. That just sets them up for failure, and you’ll be disappointed to find they can’t do everything within their first few months.

Start by identifying the top two or three priorities for the role and outline the steps to get there. While you don’t need to give them a step-by-step guide, identify key milestones at the 30 and 60-day marker to keep them on track.

2. Make it collaborative.

Whether or not new hires come in with a specific plan, they likely have a vision for their first few months. During the first week, make time to talk through your plan and learn about their personal goals and objectives. Work together to modify and develop a 30-60-90 day plan. This ensures that they understand the expectations and are excited about the work.

New employees bring a lot of fresh ideas to the table, so let the 30-60-90 day plan serve as a roadmap. They should still have the freedom to execute using their creativity and expertise –– that’s why you hired them.

3. Check in regularly.

You should be spending a lot of time with your new hire as they ramp. There are certain things they simply won’t know unless they ask. The more time you dedicate to them early on, the faster they’ll be able to work on their own. Weekly 1:1s are an industry standard, but in the first week you should consider checking in with them daily.

Making yourself available early on will also give you a better sense of their strengths and weaknesses. You might find that they’re hitting their goals quickly but struggling to integrate with the team. This will help you tailor your coaching and give them the support they need to excel.

4. Celebrate milestones.

Starting a new job is hard. Not only do you have to acclimate to a new social environment, but it can also feel like you’re slow to make an impact early on. As a manager, it’s crucial to provide positive feedback at every milestone. Use recognition tools, communication channels, and 1:1 meetings to celebrate wins, accomplishments, and good work. 

If new employees feel like their work doesn’t matter, it’s natural for them to question whether joining was the right move. Highlight their accomplishments and coach them through the more challenging aspects of onboarding so they stay motivated. 

5. Measure impact.

Be sure that the objectives in your 30-60-90 day plan are measurable. You can even use the SMART goal rubric for inspiration. This demonstrates the role’s ROI to leadership, provides the new hire with a sense of accomplishment, and gives you a metric of success to help guide performance conversations.

We all know what it’s like to start a new job, and having a clear 30-60-90 day plan in place makes onboarding easier and more efficient. No matter your plan, you should be prepared to spend time with your new report to ensure you’re providing adequate support and resources to set them up for success.

Lattice empowers employees and their managers to seamlessly set, track, and achieve goals. Our software integrates goals into everything your team does — meaning more productive 1:1s, targeted feedback, and stronger performance scores. To see our platform in action, schedule a demo today.