Your First 90 Days in Your New Job

I have two different people presenting me two opposite situations about their first 90 days experience in their job. I am obfuscating and changing some details to preserve their privacy.

In order to succeed in your new job, there are 3 main components that will either aid to your success or detract from it. We can break those steps down to see how we can change the course of the story and make your first 90 days more successful!

The following 3 components will help you frame, plan and navigate situations to enhance your chance to have a smooth and successful discussion at the end of those 90 days. For most people, the probation period lasts for 3 months and I suppose that most individuals will want to stay in their new job since finding another one is a full time job without pay. But sometimes, you have to also consider if that is a good fit for you and this framework will help you figure that out too.

Components:

Component Description Your Manager Yourself Ideal Outcome
Onboarding When a new employee comes into the company, traditionally in most companies and bosses that are more organized, they will give you a good onboarding process presenting you the people you will work with and the main rules of engagement The boss should be giving you the instructions of what the expectations of what success is for the next weeks up to the end of probabtion of 90 days period; and they should set the evaluation cadence to see progress It is important to clarify the goals and the steps at this stage since you need to feel confident about the situation; if there is no onboarding, it is a must that you request it since it will lead to confusion later A long 2-3 hours session with your manager to discuss the goals, priorities and share what success looks like for both parties
Ramp-Up Period Regular meetings and check-ups to make sure things are happening accordingly; both parties should be supporting each other in order to achieve those goals established from onboarding process; building rapport and trust They should set up and enforce the weekly or bi-weekly meetings to make sure they present you the internal political landscape and help you navigate through situation in order for you to succeed Show alignment with the company's values and work ethic and build relationships across multiple people inside and outside of your immediate team; show results If these check ups do not happen, raise the red flag and fight for these meetings to happen either to enforce the check ups or show results
The 90 Days Meeting This is like a mini Annual Review meeting where the manager should be reviewing the outputs of your work and giving you feedback The manager should be through and specific about the good works and the improvements that you must work on. It also provides you the vision of what the next bigger steps are and that should formalize the relationship and the expectation that both parties should have for each other. For you, I suggest following the step below about this step, since you must be ready to defend your successes A good long meeting where both sides end up agreeing on the successes and the improvements; with expectation set for the next cycle of work and goals

Back to the examples, the first one has struggles in his 90 days. Long story short, it was promised a shallow job description, an undefined bonus with no sets of goals, and a lack of oversight. The second one, he was promised a well defined planned of goals and objectives to be achieved in 3 months period, an array of access to any resource necessary to achieve those goals, and a big latitude of freedom (although the downside is the lack of supervision meaning that person needs to be self-starter).

Based on those 2 examples, the first one has not succeed in getting a proper on-boarding process and no clarity was given for the role, responsibilities and that led to stress to the employee during that 90 days period.

The second example was totally the opposite, the employee felt empowered and he achieved his goals in his own manner.

During those 90 days, the first case was full of stressed and a sense of overwhelming. It was not clear what that person had to do or work on. For the employee, the mental process is that, I need to do this that people are talking about and that; so any complain from even people outside of the core team, will be interpreted as an extra work leading to long hours of endless work with no recognition.

In the second case, the person was able to travel, do his work in his own time and he even worked remotely for 2 weeks in another country to achieve his goals.

Finally, the 90 days meetings outcome are:

First example: misalignment of the initial work expectation vs. actual, that led to misaligned incentives, scope of work and that was this hot potato of bonus discussion that was promised but no goal was set to explain what needed to be achieved to reach that.

Second example: the first 90 days were beaming with accomplishment and encouragement of keeping to continue to do the great work; in addition, that person got even more resources and freedom to keep achieving other goals; and invited to work on other projects.

It is important to understand the framework and how that applies to those 2 opposite situations so you can apply and use this as a guardrail for you first 90 days at work!

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