When a president takes office, the first 100 days are widely considered the most important benchmark determining the success of their term. The same applies to a new employee’s first 90 days of employment. For many companies, your first three months are used as a testing period to review your work performance and to examine how well you fit within the company culture. It is critical that you make the best impression during this time. If you focus on mastering one specific thing each month, you can make an incredible impact.
30 Days In
Your first 30 days should be focused on mastering your job duties and reviewing your company expectations. Study the initial job description for the position and read the employee handbook within the first two weeks. This will help you determine the expectations of the company and provide a better understanding of what you should be accomplishing. Jot down any notes or questions you may have while looking over this information so that you can review with your supervisor. Never be afraid to work a few hours later or come a few hours earlier to ensure you have a complete handle on your responsibilities. The more you master in the beginning, the better it will be for you long term. I would keep a running log of what you feel you are doing great at and document the areas you need help in. You can then get assistance from other employees or your trainer in your weaker areas. Never wait for someone else to assess your progress first. Always be proactive in doing it for yourself.
60 Days In
The next thirty days should be focused on building relationships. You should have already started doing this through training and the initial meet and greets. However, this will be the time that you turn it up a notch and become intentional about meeting specific people in your company. There are three people that I recommend initially developing an intentional relationship with: your supervisor, your CEO, and your longest tenured employee or HR manager. Because the work you do reflects on the leadership of your supervisor, it is very important that you understand their specific expectations of you in your department. You need to be sure that what you are providing them in your work is what they expected. Be intentional about communicating your careers goals and expectations within the company as well. Also, try to learn as much as possible about the responsibilities of their role and offer your assistance in helping them to do their role if needed. This will help for long-term growth.
The next person you should develop a relationship with, if possible, is your CEO. Even if it’s a simple hello while they are in their office or a brief meeting when applicable, making sure your CEO recognizes you can be a great asset. Keep a running list of ideas that you may like to one day present to them that could possibly be used to benefit the company.
Lastly, you should be familiar with HR manager or longest tenured team member. The HR manager is keenly aware of the big picture of the company. They understand what positions are needed for the progress of the organization and are instrumental in getting the right people for the job. If they are aware of your skill set and experience, they may consider you first for an open position before posting it online. According to Will Cook, Business Programs Instructor at Community Care College, building a relationship with your eldest team members can give you a great bird’s eye view of the company culture. It can also help you understand office politics from the ground level in a way that you may not be able to from those who aren’t on your level.
90 Days In
At this point, your focus should be building expertise and solving strategic problems. What kinds of issues do you want to be the go-to person in fixing? Identify a few key areas in your company that you would like to improve. Once you have, you can begin developing an action plan to do what is necessary to make your solutions a reality. The more you master a particular area, the better your chances are of getting a raise or getting promoted. If possible, don’t take every extra responsibility that comes your way. Be strategic in identifying and solving the problems that could ultimately lead you in a direction you actually want to go.
Your first 90 days has the potential to make your new career a success or a failure. How you handle it is crucial to making the most of your employment. If you make a strategic plan and execute it properly, you can use the momentum of that time to propel you into a lasting career future.
Ramond Walker is a brand consultant, speaker, and dream champion who has dedicated his life to helping young adults and emerging entrepreneurs get unstuck in their startups, careers and life. In 2013, he launched the Dreamstart Entrepreneurship Conference, Tulsa’s only conference dedicated to cultivating a more racially diverse entrepreneurial startup community. Having worked in advertising and young adult ministry for over five years, he combines his passion for creativity, strategy and people to inspire vision and meaningful, intentional living in today’s millennials.