Now’s the Time to Develop Your New Job Action Plan!
Congratulations! You’ve landed the job you want. Now, do your homework and get prepared! A new job is a wonderful opportunity, so why not get ready to hit the ground running?
Research has shown that using a systematic approach in starting a new job can help new employees get up to speed as much as 50% faster1, which means you are making a contribution to the company more effectively, and earlier than without a plan. While no action plan can guarantee your success in a position, it can be very helpful when used with the support and agreement of your new boss. Set yourself up for success with a written action plan, and when the time is right, for example, during day one or day two at your new position, discuss it to obtain input, feedback and support, one-on-one with your new boss.
So, if you’re still reading this article, you’re interested in learning more about using this tool. Using a New Job Action Plan with your boss’s approval can help ease your transition into your new position. This article is targeted for individual contributors — that is, people whose roles do not include leading, supervising or managing people. Those positions have a number of different and additional, specialized goals and actions/steps. If you’re about to start a new position leading people, contact us for information about that type of action plan.
Let’s get started. We recommend developing a plan with three 30-day parts, so you’re covering 90 days. Each 30-day segment will lay out your goals. As you reach the conclusion of one 30 day plan, you’ll be ready to set up your plan for the next 30 days.
Remember, regular, frequent communication with your boss is a critical aspect of getting off to a strong start in a new job. You’ll continue to see reminders of this as you read on.
The first 30, 60 and 90 day time periods are key timeframes for your ramp-up. Once this transition phase is complete, it will be time to develop a longer term plan.
Learning is a high priority during the first 90 days of employment, and organizations typically provide on-the-job training, on-line courses and/or in-person group training. Success in a new job requires an open mind, flexibility and commitment to learning. Possessing directly related prior work experience is not enough to make a new hire successful in a new job. Chances are, there will be differences that impact the work being done and the procedures followed, due to variables such as business policies, customer requirements, equipment, technology.
Three aspects of transition into a new position are included in our New Job Action Plan: Learning, Job Performance and Work Relationships. These are typically recognized as essential components for both short-term and long-term success, so it makes sense to give them high priority early in your employment, including the during first 90 days.
The First 30 Days (Day 1 through Day 30 of Employment)
Typically, the first month on a new job is focused on learning, performance and work relationships, with an emphasis on Learning. Your Action Plan is a tool that begins with setting goals with desired outcomes or success measures, and identifying actions or steps with target dates for completion. This is simplified by using S.M.A.R.T. Goals; this acronym stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-Bound. S.M.A.R.T. Goals are achieved through well-planned Actions or Steps that are also time-bound. Check out the two examples below; can you identify what makes each of the two goal statements Specific? Measurable? Attainable? Relevant? and Time-Bound?
S.M.A.R.T. Goal examples:
- Pat will increase his walking from 7,500 steps per day to 10,000 steps per day as measured by his smart-watch, Monday through Friday, starting September 1, 2021, through November 30, 2021.
- Sam will complete a 6-month gymnastics program on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays between July 19, 2021 and March 1, 2022 to be able to successfully perform her assigned series of back-flips, splits and rolls on a matt for her team’s routine on March 15, 2022.
Learning goals: To establish these, discuss questions such as these with those involved with supervising and training you, beginning with your boss, and, if he/she agrees, with others such as trainer and group/team leader: “What knowledge and skills do I need to develop, to perform this job with excellence? How can I best develop the needed knowledge and skills? and “What levels of proficiency do I need to achieve within the first 30 days to be on track to perform effectively?”
Performance goals: These are typically determined through discussion between an employee and his/her boss. Typically, several S.M.A.R.T. goals would be established, which are directly supported by Learning goals.
Work Relationship goals: Your boss is a good resource to help you make a list of people you should initially plan to work with and get to know and to plan your initial actions/steps for relationship building. These individuals may include those who are job-related internal customers and suppliers, peers with whom you’ll work with closely, your buddy/mentor and trainer(s). Once you identify them, develop Actions/Steps by asking yourself, “How can I establish and foster those relationships? How can I demonstrate to them that I’m trustworthy, credible, and committed to excellence?”
Following are examples of goal areas that may help you to develop 30/60/90 day goals and actions/steps in Learning, Work Relationships and Performance. The next step is to practice. Try this approach:
- Select one goal area that would fit your new job, from the Learning examples below.
- Develop a S.M.A.R.T. goal for that goal area.
- Using the questions in the thought process described above, identify three to five actions/steps that would result in meeting the S.M.A.R.T. goal you just set.
- Now, establish start dates and completion dates for the actions/steps you listed.
- Now you’ve begun the process of developing your New Job Action Plan.
- Practice this with each of the categories below — Learning, Work Relationships and Performance. Anytime the samples below don’t fit your new job, develop goal areas that will fit. Soon you’ll have mastered the planning process.
Examples of Learning goal areas
- Job purpose, scope and responsibilities
- How the role fits into the company and contributes to its purpose and goals
- Job-specific knowledge and skills
- Job-specific, internal customers and suppliers
- Internal procedures
- Company policies and work rules
- Company products, services, customers
- Company culture
Examples of Work Relationships goal areas
- Boss and Team/Group Leaders
- Buddy and/or Mentor
- Internal Customers
- Internal Suppliers
Examples of Performance goal areas
- Complete Sales calls
- Machine airplane parts
- Ship orders
- Complete Quality Inspections
The 30-60-90 action plan is a building process. This tool is useful in helping you to partner effectively with your boss and colleagues, to manage your transition into your new role. The purpose is to support your efforts in becoming productive and capable of contributing to the organization effectively, to meet your new boss’s expectations of you in your new role. It’s important to take notes as you work with others to build your knowledge and skills for your new role. By taking quick notes and beefing them up on your own time will help you to lock in information that was shared with you and will demonstrate your commitment to learning from the time spent with colleagues.
Following are some general examples of what each 30-day period might include. However, it is important to your success that you discuss and finalize action plan with your boss’s input, support and approval, to make sure you’re heading in the right direction.
Examples of a 30-60-90 thought process:
The first 30 days are usually about getting up to speed on your job responsibilities, your boss’s expectations of you, job procedures and the company as a whole. It’s an opportune time to begin building work relationships and developing job knowledge and skills that are key to success here, at the new job. Some of your goals and actions/steps might include reading company material, learning to use email, job-related computer tools, company policies and procedures. Some performance goals may focus on specific learning and carrying out your role in providing company products and services. As you begin to carry out some of your job duties as a trainee, you’ll have questions. Should you reach out to your trainer to ask each question as it comes to you? Or, should you write them down and cover them in a brief meeting? This is something your trainers will usually be very happy to help you decide.
The second 30 days are more focused on increasing your ability to work effectively on your own, with less need for guidance. You’ll be strengthening your knowledge of your fit in the organization, and the purpose of your role in the department and the company, and enable a better understanding how the job you do and how you do it affects other individuals, departments, and customers. You’ll be building work relationships and establishing a track record that shapes and defines your reputation in the organization.
The third 30 days are often about increasing your ability to perform your job effectively and more independently. It may be a time when you can begin taking initiative on improving your work quality, efficiency and effectiveness. Soliciting feedback periodically from your boss and internal customers to continuously improving your performance in terms of will probably continue to be focus areas for goals, actions/steps into the future. In addition. you may begin joining company sponsored extracurricular activities.
We have developed a template you can use and tailor to write your New Job Action Plan. We are pleased to offer it to you to save your time in creating one yourself. Contact us using the information below to get yours.
We hope this article and the tools it provides will inspire you as you set off on your new job path. Please share your thoughts, experiences using it, opinions and ideas.
1 “Seven Ways to Set Up a New Hire for Success,” by Michael D. Watkins, Harvard Business Review, May 10,2019
“13 Things Every New Employee Should do in Their First 90 Days On the Job” Forbes Article LINK: https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbescoachescouncil/2019/03/05/13-things-every-new-employee-should-do-in-their-first-90-days-on-the-job/?sh=2f3cbcd75a21
“10 Tips for Being the New Employee,” Inc Article LINK: https://www.inc.com/drew-hendricks/10-tips-for-being-the-new-employee.html
“The Everything Guide to Being the New Employee,” by Kristin Wong article LINK: https://medium.com/s/office-politics/the-everything-guide-to-being-the-new-employee-524da4d27682
“How to Handle Being a New Hire,” Monster article LINK: https://www.monster.com/career-advice/article/how-to-handle-being-a-new-hire-hot-jobs
“Starting a New Job? 7 Tips to Ensure Your Success,” by Ronda Suder LINK: https://www.topresume.com/career-advice/7-basics-every-new-hire-should-know
Copyright 7/12/2012 by Rosanna M. Nadeau
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