Most people take a new position hoping to succeed, but few take the time to create a plan for doing so. Use this approach to the first 100 days at your new job to ensure long-term happiness, productivity and career growth.
Why 100 Days?
People carefully monitor the first 100 days of a president’s term because before taking office, candidates make big promises and they’re expected to deliver quickly. There are similarities with a new hire.
During the application and interview process, job candidates indicate they have specific skills and capabilities. Like with presidential candidates, there’s a process of sifting through and picking the individual who seems like the best fit. Then, the employer and other staff members are watching to see if the new hire delivers.
The number 100 doesn’t have any magic to it, but when a new hire creates a plan for that time frame, it helps him or her set specific goals and measure progress along the way. They take personal responsibility for their professional success and often exceed expectations.
Start Before Day 1
Begin drafting your 100-day plan as soon as you hear you have the job. Not only will you set yourself up for success, you’ll minimize first day jitters. Here are a few tasks to put on your list:
- Learn everything you can about the company. Find out how departments are organized and seek to understand their role in the community and industry.
- Put names with faces. If there are staff photos on the company website or social media feed, start getting to know names and titles so you don’t have to absorb them all your first day on the job.
- Prep family and friends. Let your support system know you’re starting a new job and for the next 100 days, getting off to a solid start is a major focus.
- List your goals. Set milestones within shorter time frames. For example, you might think in terms of the first two weeks, first month, first 60 days etc.
- Prepare your introduction. You’ll be meeting a lot of people. Plan ahead how you’ll say who you are, where you came from and why you’re happy to be part of the team.
Example Goals for First Two Weeks on the Job
The first few days on the job typically involve a lot of paperwork, training, introductions and finding your way around. Then depending on the company, you might have days or weeks of onboarding or on the job training. Your 100-day plan might include goals for the first two weeks that include the following:
- Make a good impression – Dress according to the company dress code. When you meet new people, make eye contact, smile and offer a firm handshake. Listen when others speak. Be friendly and open, but don’t dominate conversations.
- Understand what’s expected – Your real job is to keep your boss happy. Find out what that means on a daily, weekly, monthly and quarterly basis.
- Engage 100% – Treat introductory meetings and training sessions like every aspect is critical to your long-term success.
- Identify mentors – Some companies create intentional mentorships, but even if yours doesn’t, there are people who know more than you do about the job and are willing to share their knowledge. You just have to find them. Be on the lookout from the beginning.
- Learn the best communication methods. Every workplace has ways they keep in touch. Identify early how bosses and coworkers go back and forth about issues large and small. Should you call, text, email or use online messaging? What situations should be addressed via text and which ones are a video call? What about issues that come up outside business hours?
- Get basic questions out of the way. Don’t put off asking how to use software or remote printing because you’re worried they’ll think you’re dumb. Ask those questions now because this is when you’re expected to be learning the ropes.
Goals for First Month
Before you know it, you should start settling into daily routines and finding yourself incorporated into a team. These are example goals for the first month at a new job.
- Thoroughly understand the company's mission
- Create a consistent daily schedule
- Meet as many co-workers as possible
- Be cautious – don’t contribute to gossip
- Observe and learn
- Double-check your work
- Look for long-term leadership opportunities
Second Month on the Job Goals
The first 30 days on the job, no matter how expert you are at what you do, you may not completely understand where you fit into all the organization’s moving parts. One month in, you know enough to offer contributions to the company mission. You should feel like you’re working at full capacity with a decreasing need for guidance and feedback.
At this point, you also know enough to be aware of any knowledge gaps. If they exist, figure out how to close them and revise your personal development plan.
Keep building relationships. Schedule time to grab coffee or a bite to eat with the co-workers you still don’t know very well.
100 Days – Delivering Tangible Results
At the end of your first 100 days, you should be able to look back and say you are delivering the level and quality of work you promised when you applied for the job. You might also be up for a 90-day evaluation within this time frame. You’ve had time to learn your role, now show how you excel at delivering results.
Use your fresh perspective and prior experience to suggest ways to improve a process. Take time to learn about people and processes that aren’t your direct responsibility so you can see connections between departments.
If you do have a three-month review, show up ready to ask questions and take notes. As the first 100 days draws to a close, look back at your initial plan to see if you met your own expectations and to plan for the months ahead.
Find Your Best Job
If you’re looking for a new job, Brelsford Personnel takes extra care to understand what is important to you in your search. Check out our available job openings and apply online today.