Why your hourly employees need a 30-60-90-day plan

Who works better: the person who comes to work with clear, pre-planned objectives for the day, or the person who arrives and thinks now what? 

Without fail, it’s person number one. With a 30-60-90-day plan, that person doesn’t have to spend mental energy thinking about what they should be doing. Instead, they have a clear vision of what they’re working towards. Thanks to a clearly defined 30-60-90-day plan, they’re able to overall be a more productive employee. 

By giving new hires a 30-60-90-day plan, you give them the information, tools, and confidence they need to succeed from day one. Learn what exactly these plans look like, the benefits of using them, and how to create 30-60-90-day plans for your hourly workers that lend to your company’s vision.

What is a 30-60-90-day plan?

A 30-60-90-day plan is a plan created by an employer detailing what work should be completed by an employee in the next 30, 60, and 90 days. They’re most commonly used for new hires. 

What are the benefits of a 30-60-90-day plan for hourly employees?

In giving your hourly workers clear expectations, you not only help them do their jobs better, but you also make their lives less stressful. A lot of stress at work comes from not wanting to appear incompetent, or suffering from imposter syndrome. By laying out what to do in the days, weeks, and months ahead, you help take that stress away. 

The benefits of 30-60-90-day plans don’t just affect employees either. More productive, less stressed hourly workers mean better, more profitable work for your business, too.

More specifically, here are some major benefits of using 30-60-90-day plans:

1. Clear expectations

We’ve covered the stress that comes with not knowing what to do. But there’s another downside to not giving clear expectations: unproductive work. 

There are three things that often happen when someone doesn’t know what to do next at work. They ask a co-worker or manager, find something that makes them look busy, or don’t do anything. 

Best case scenario, their co-worker or manager gives them good guidance and suggests a productive task, or they choose a productive task themselves. Worst case scenario, they get bad guidance, choose an unproductive task, or stay frozen in their confusion. 

A clear plan all but eliminates these worst-case scenarios. By knowing exactly what they’re working towards in the next 30-60-90 days, employees always have an idea of what to do next. Even if they get stuck along the way, a good plan will let them know how to get help, like who to contact, or where to find resources.

2. Measurable performance

Clear deadlines for projects make it easy to understand your employees’ performance. Did they hit the goals set out in their 30-60-90-day plans? If not, why? Do they need more training, resources, or guidance? If yes, what does that mean for plans going forward?

In cases where too many employees miss their marks, consider lowering your expectations and making the workloads more manageable. If employees are consistently hitting their marks, that’s great! Either keep things manageable or experiment with giving them higher workloads to find your team’s true potential. 

Keep in mind that rarely will a plan go perfectly. It may eventually, but your first few plans will likely take adjusting, especially if it’s your first time creating them. 

Similarly, if you’re creating a plan for a new hire or an employee in a new role, expect to pivot along the way. This is also true for any role or situation where the work output or potential is unknown.

A plan might be perfect for one employee but not for another. As you put more plans into motion and see what results come back, you’ll get better at gauging expectations for different types of employees and roles.

In any case, make sure to check in regularly leading up to your 30, 60, and 90-day deadlines to see where any questions need answering.

3. Easier and better planning

When you create plans for your hourly workers and you can look at them side-by-side, you can better strategize for the future. 

If Trey is working on updating our inventory system for May, and Ali is working on new promotions for June, then it makes sense to put Steph on training the new hires for the time being. Then, once Matt and Ali are finished with their work, we can put all three on the new store location proposal for August.

Suddenly, when you look at your team’s operations from this perspective, effective and realistic planning becomes much easier. Rather than guess which project makes sense for who at what date, you can approach planning like a game of Tetris. Take a bird’s eye view at the pieces as they currently are, and place the next piece where it fits best. 

You can also better support your employees because you have a better idea of everyone’s long-term availability and capacity. For example, if you know ahead of time that Steph will be busy with setting up the new POS systemin June, you know that she won’t have the capacity to also be the main support line for new hires during that time. 

Telling new hires to lean on someone else for support during this time will make sure they get the help they need, and Steph isn’t overwhelmed with more work than she can handle. 

4. More “real work”

There’s not being productive because you don’t know what to do, and then there’s not working because you’re being bogged down by tasks outside of your main projects. 

The reason it’s so important to frontload all of the planning of an employee’s work is so they can focus on real, productive work—work they were hired to do.

It’s great if your employees take the initiative and figure out the best way to spend their time on the fly. However, expecting this isn’t always unreasonable. Depending on their role, they may not have the necessary information to quickly decide what’s in the best interest of your business. 

Their role also might not allow for deviation from real work. For example, if your team works in a fast-paced, demanding environment like a kitchen or customer-facing role, regularly stopping work just isn’t in the cards. 

To keep things running smoothly, give your employees clear expectations—and the necessary tools to meet them—from the get-go. For example, leave shift notes with instructions and other useful information employees can refer to with Homebase. 

Why use a 30-60-90-day plan for new hires?

Plans are useful for all employees, but especially new hires. 

Starting a new role comes with all sorts of anxieties. You’re meeting new people, learning new skills, adjusting to a new workplace, and trying to meet the demands of your new role. 

You can help with this adjustment. Introduce new hires to your team and run them through a clearly defined onboarding process. Including meet and greets with team members should be part of every new employee’s onboarding goals. First, it helps them get familiar with who’s who. Second, it can help alleviate a lot of anxiety. All team leads, whether the senior barista, the inventory manager, or the foreman, can play a role in helping a new employee understand what you expect them to do over the next 30, 60, and 90 days. 

With a 30-60-90-day plan, your new team member doesn’t have to worry about what awaits them. Plus, with a clear idea of what to do from onboarding onward, you’ll benefit from less downtime as they adjust to their new role. 

Think of it like a cheat code for new hires: your plans should provide all the information they need to thrive in their roles from day one.

How to write an effective 30-60-90-day plan for hourly employees

We’ve covered what 30-60-90-day plans are and why they’re beneficial for your employees and business. Now let’s look at the steps you can take to create them. 

1. Define the objectives

What are your company’s biggest current goals? What can be accomplished by each of your employees, given their skills and roles, that would contribute to these bigger company goals? Start by asking yourself these questions. 

It’s also useful to research your employees’ personal goals. Finding ways to bridge the gap between your company’s and employees’ goals benefits everyone and is a great way to stoke productivity.

2. Break down timeframes

Take the goals you defined for each employee and see where they fit in your 30, 60, and 90-day timelines. For example, you would give your most time-intensive goals 90 days. 

Once 30, 60, and 90-day goals have been assigned to each employee, break these goals down as much as possible into smaller milestones. For example, let’s say you give an employee a 30-day goal to get five haircut clients. Smaller milestones leading up to this goal could be to run an ad campaign on Google or to upgrade your signage. 

As a general rule, follow the SMART goal principle. This means ensuring that all of your goals are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound.

3. Set performance expectations

This might seem obvious but it’s too important to understate: clearly communicate the performance expectations and deliverables for each milestone and goal. This includes the metrics you’ll use to assess your employees’ success.

What exactly does an employee need to do to meet the milestones and goals laid out for them? What targets do they need to hit? Examples of deliverables could be: 

  • X amount of dollars earned
  • X certificate or education completed
  • X number of parts produced 

4. Provide training and resources 

One often-overlooked step of creating an effective plan is providing the tools, resources, and training necessary to be able to successfully follow it.

Before setting your employees loose, identify and provide anything they’ll need to achieve their goals. This will change depending on the employee and role in question, but you might provide on-the-job training, mentorship programs, access to specific tools or systems, or additional educational resources.

5. Establish check-in points

Schedule regular check-in meetings or discussions to review progress, address challenges, provide feedback, and offer guidance. Don’t fret if you have to make adjustments to the original plan as you go along. Things change, and it’s better to change course than head for the rocks. 

To make sure your employees get support when they need it, and to keep everyone involved accountable, aim to check in weekly. Tools like Homebase can help you stay on top of these check-ins and easily track your employees’ performance.

6. Evaluate and assess

In addition to the regular check-ins, conduct a thorough performance review at the end of each 30-day period. The objective of these reviews is to understand if the goal was met, the reasons why it was or wasn’t, and how to proceed with this newfound information. 

During your check-ins, you may find that your employees need more support. Or maybe  your expectations were too high (or too low). If done well, there are all sorts of revelations that will help you gameplan for the future. 

7. Recognize achievements

Don’t forget to recognize and celebrate your employees’ achievements! This means celebrating when they achieve their major goals, but also their smaller milestones too. 

Even if a goal wasn’t met, recognition for what they did do right and positive reinforcement can work wonders in boosting morale, motivation, and job satisfaction. Who knows, it might even be the morale boost they need to meet their goal next time. 

Example of a 30-60-90-day plan for hourly employees

Below is an example of a 90-day plan for an hourly restaurant employee working front-of-house who wants to grow into a leadership role.

The first few days: days 1–30

  • Main goal: Prove competency in restaurant menus and processes to manager.
    • Milestone 1: Learn menu items and ingredients. Take company quiz on this topic and score at least 90%.
    • Milestone 2: Understand restaurant procedures and workflows. Schedule a run-through with manager to prove familiarization.
    • Milestone 3: Familiarize self with POS system and complete order-taking training.

Getting used to things: days 31–60:

  • Main goal: Show ability to thrive in multiple restaurant roles and teams based on feedback and reviews.
    • Milestone 1: Consistently take orders and deliver food with no minimal-to-no mistakes. 
    • Milestone 2: Prove customer service skills by receiving positive feedback from customers and resolving any issues promptly and satisfactorily.
    • Milestone 3: During two all-hands company meetings, describe one workplace problem you overcame.

Making improvements: days 61–90:

  • Main goal: Become a team lead
    • Milestone 1: Take on a leadership role during shifts by effectively delegating tasks, ensuring smooth operations, and providing guidance to team members.
    • Milestone 2: Train new team members on restaurant operations, including menu knowledge, customer service, and POS system usage.
    • Milestone 3: Identify and voice opportunities for process improvement, such as streamlining order-taking procedures or optimizing inventory management, and propose implementable solutions.

Expert guidance on-demand

Armed with the information above, hopefully, you’re ready to make your next 30-60-90-day plan the best one yet. 

Looking for more ways to manage your team? Get advice from HR pros to help your employees grow—plus, all the tools you need to stay compliant with labor laws. Get expert HR help with Homebase today.

30-60-90-day plan FAQs 

What is a 30-60-90-day plan?

A 30-60-90-day plan is a plan created by an employer detailing what work should be completed by an employee in the next 30, 60, and 90 days. They’re most commonly used for new hires.

What’s the difference between a 30-60-90-day plan and a 30-60-90-day onboarding plan?

A 30-60-90-day onboarding plan specifically focuses on an employee’s initial period of integration and orientation within your company. It encompasses activities and initiatives designed to help them become acclimated to your company culture, understand their role and responsibilities, and establish relationships with colleagues.

Non-onboarding 30-60-90-day plans outline the specific goals, objectives, and milestones an employee is expected to achieve during their first 30, 60, and 90 days on the job. These plans are used more to set expectations and provide a roadmap for the employee’s performance and development within their role.

What are the benefits of creating a 30-60-90-day plan for hourly employees?

The main benefits of creating a 30-60-90-day plan for hourly employees include:

  • Clear expectations: By knowing exactly what’s expected of them, employees always have an idea of what to do next. Even if they get stuck along the way, a good plan lets them know how to get help.
  • Measurable performance: Clear deadlines for projects makes it easy to understand your employees’ performance. Did they hit the goals set out in their 30-60-90-day plans? If not, why? Do they need more training, resources, or guidance? Is the answer yes? What does that mean for plans going forward?
  • Easier and better planning: When you create plans for your hourly workers and you can look at them side-by-side, you can better strategize for the future. Rather than guess which project makes sense for who at what date, you can approach planning like a game of Tetris: look at the pieces as they currently are and place the next piece wherever it fits.

More “real work”: Frontloading the planning of an employee’s work helps them not have to waste time planning themselves and focus on the work they were hired to do.

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