BlogLearning & Development

How to Build a 30-60-90 Day Plan for New Hires

Emily Mason
Writer, Learning and Development
Learning & Development
November 27, 2023

Discover the key to success with a 30 60 90 day plan: a strategic framework for achieving goals, enhancing performance, and accelerating professional growth in any new role or project.

Onboarding Checklist

Now that the ink has dried on the offer letter, it’s time to send the swag bag and dive into onboarding your new employee. Effective onboarding will help them learn your company history and important policies, but it’s not complete without a 30-60-90 day plan

As the final step of a hiring process, or during the first week, HR departments or managers often create 30-60-90 day plans to set goals for the first three months on the job. As an HR leader, this may be part of how you evaluate prospects and gauge their level of interest and buy-in. 

It also gives you concrete ways to track and support new employees with their integration and onboarding process. The plan will inevitably change between Day 1 and Day 90, but the 30-60-90 plan offers the employee a chance to think creatively about their future with the company and secure the support they need to start on the right foot. 30-60-90 plans enhance the onboarding process.

Whether you’ve never used them before, or you want to polish your framework, here’s a step-by-step guide to 30-60-90 success.

1. Get to know the new hire

What’s their experience? Have they been in a similar role before, or is this a brand new opportunity? For example, if they’ve been a marketing consultant before but now they’re moving in-house, their 30-60-90 goals will focus more on the specifics of your organization than gaining marketing 101 knowledge. 

Use the initial get-to-know-you meetings to listen for where they sound confident, or where they may be asking for guidance and more training. As the HR leader or manager, start taking note of upcoming projects you may want to include them in, and additional training resources you can suggest to personalize their learning plan

2. Evaluate short vs long-term priorities 

Be sure that you and the employee are both setting reasonable expectations for progress in their first quarter. Never say never, but it’s unlikely that you’ll see 3x sales leads in two months, or a 2x increase in the current speed of R&D.

Long-term goals still belong in the conversation as overall guardrails. They help the employee work towards personal career goals while they learn their new role and support the business. 

3. Set a focus for each month of the plan

This will vary depending on your business and how quickly you want new hires to be up and running. Usually, you will start seeing progress within the first month, and measurable results by the end of the third. 

Here’s an example of different overall objectives for each month: 

  • Month One (30 days) - Learn and listen with managers and others on the team. Learn about procedures and the current methods being used, and adopt a student mentality – it’s not time to make drastic changes yet!
  • Month Two (60 days)  - Take learning deeper and start to plan. Notice any areas of struggle or processes that could be streamlined. (By this time, new hires will have a better idea of gaps in their knowledge, which will feed into their training plan).
  • Month Three (90 days) - Take action, implement initial changes, or share suggestions with management. 

4. Set initial goals and make them SMART

SMART goals are essential in 30-60-90 plans. Of course, the overall goal is for your employee to feel welcomed and confident in their new job. But those are subjective feelings, and we can all relate to how often our confidence ebbs and flows in the first few months of a new job.

It helps to categorize the 30-60-90 plan goals into learning, performance, and personal development goals

  • Learning – What knowledge or skills will I need to do well in this position? How can I gain that knowledge? 
  • Performance – What concrete outcomes do I want to achieve this month?
  • Personal – Who do I need to build relationships and establish trust with? How do my strengths and weaknesses show up as I work with this team? 

Training Objectives

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5. Define success 

The short and long-term goals in the 30-60-90 day plan need clear criteria so you can measure success. Encourage the employee to be specific and realistic to actually see confidence-boosting results. 

Check out these examples of clearly-defined success for inspiration: 

  • For an HR Coordinator…process and complete the documentation for 10 new hires with 100% accuracy by Day 60. 
  • For a Customer Service Rep…plan and implement a new customer feedback survey by Day 90, aiming for a 10% increase in satisfaction rates. 
  • For a Financial Analyst…generate the first monthly financial report with 100% accuracy by Day 30. 

6. Don’t forget to check-in

The 30-60-90 day plan also provides a reasonable timeline of checkpoints to connect with your employees on their progress. Checking in too soon adds unnecessary pressure. But if you wait too long, you may miss your opportunity to correct any wrong information or misunderstandings picked up during their onboarding.

  • 30 days allows them to develop their initial impressions of the business, company culture, and their role. 
  • 60 days gives them more experience within their daily duties and responsibilities. 
  • 90 days provides them enough time to measure their progress against their initial goals and evaluate and readjust. 

At a minimum, you should both prepare to review, share, and evaluate overall progress at the 90-day mark.

7. Follow through with further support 

As the HR leader or manager, a 30-60-90 plan is a responsible way to give employees more autonomy and support in their new role. They can check their progress against the original goals and look to the plan for their next steps during inevitable moments of anxiety or uncertainty. But you should stay present and active with any support they need along the way. 

Using an LMS for onboarding, you can support employees with extra resources, courses, and company information to make their first 90 days as successful as possible. After working through their required onboarding training sequence, they can re-watch training videos and find quick reference guides at any time. An LMS also provides the detailed reporting and assessments you will need to track the measurable outcomes of their training and their 30-60-90 day plan. 

First-quarter success starts here.  

30-60-90 day plans aren’t just a rote exercise used during hiring or onboarding. They can poewrfully reshape your company culture as each new team member creates a customized plan to embrace their new role and take ownership of their learning from the start. 

It’s also an opportunity for your HR or L&D team to showcase the strengths of your training program and the LMS features (like helpful integrations, searchable content, and social learning) that will help learners achieve their 30-60-90 plan goals. You can continue to support employees well beyond three months for long-term success and satisfaction. 

If your 30-60-90 day plan template is ready to go, then it’s time to add it to your process and deliver a memorable (and helpful!) onboarding experience that will benefit the whole business.

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About the Author
Emily Mason is the Content Writer at Continu.
Emily Mason
Writer, Learning and Development

Emily is a copywriter and content marketer specializing in Learning and Development. Emily is currently based in West Michigan. She loves words, coffee, and walking by the lake.