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Libby Marks

30-60-90: Fast-track to Success in Your First 90 Days as a Resource Manager

Everything you should do in your first three months as a newly appointed Resource Manager – goals and actions for immediate impact.

What should a newly appointed Resource Manager do in their first 90 days in post? 

This comprehensive guide is for anyone who: 

  • Needs to present about this in an upcoming interview (good luck 🍀)
  • Has just secured their first job as a Resource Manager (congratulations 🥳)
  • Is wondering what goals to set for a new RM (smart move 👏)

You’ll discover the top priorities and highest impact activities for Resource Managers in their first 30, 60, and 90 days.  

Following the proven 30-60-90 approach, this comprehensive guide provides a roadmap for Resource Managers to embed themselves in a new business, engage in impactful work from the get-go, and apply their expertise to implement improvements.

It’s a positive and proactive way to get in, get known, and get stuff done 💪 

So if you’re the sort of person who wants to make an impression from Day 1, read on…

What is a 30-60-90 plan for Resource Managers?

The 30-60-90 plan is a tried-and-trusted framework used in every sector. It’s the opposite of the onboarding experience that many of us have had in our careers – the cursory induction and introduction process, before being thrown in the deep end and left to sink or swim.

A 30-60-90 plan is a structured way to create goals and KPIs for someone’s first three months in a new role. It is a strategic approach to onboarding that helps new employees understand the context of their role, align their activities to organizational goals, and focus on priority initiatives. It’s a way to set yourself up for success as a resource manager and make an impact, fast.

For a new Resource Manager, a 30-60-90 provides a plan to:

  • Learn current resource management processes, policies, and systems 
  • Understand resource management strategy and priorities
  • Familiarize themselves with (human) resources
  • Meet all other relevant stakeholders
  • Begin resource scheduling

What does a 30-60-90 plan include?

A 30-60-90 plan breaks down your first three months in post. The typical structure is as follows.

  • Days 1 to 30 – Familiarizing yourself with the role, the organization, your co-workers, and current processes. Starting to deliver your responsibilities under the guidance of more experienced colleagues.
  • Days 31 to 60 – Working independently on your roles and responsibilities. Contributing meaningfully to team objectives. Applying new expertise to improve processes.
  • Days 61 to 90 – Achieving high performance. Planning long-term objectives. Leading strategic change initiatives. 

If you’d like to know more about the concept, we recommend The First 90 Days by Michael Watkins. Check out the insights we gleaned from the book here ➡️

Who’s responsible for setting the 30-60-90 plan? 

A 30-60-90 plan is usually a collaboration between the new recruit and their line manager. The line manager brings their awareness of organizational context and goals, and the new employee brings their professional expertise 

New Resource Manager responsibilities

  • Draft the plan based on your understanding of the role and responsibilities from the recruitment process.
  • Apply your professional expertise to determine priority activities and goals for their first three months.

Line manager responsibilities 

  • Review the draft plan and align it to the strategic and operational context of the business
  • Advise on who to meet, where to find information etc. 
  • Offer ongoing support and monitor progress through 1-2-1s 

Benefits of a 30-60-90 plan for new Resource Managers

Starting a new job is exciting. But that excitement can turn to boredom as you realize there’s no real plan and nothing you can do. 

You sit around waiting for help and direction but nothing is forthcoming. You tell your new colleagues you’re bored but they just say to ‘make the most of it’ because they’re rushed off their feet. You want to help but you feel like a hindrance… 

If that sounds familiar, you need a 30-60-90 plan. You’ll hit the ground running, help those stressed-out co-workers, and swap boredom for brilliance. 

Faster integration

A Resource Manager needs to get to speed fast. You need to know your resources, understand strategic objectives, and align the two. A well-planned 30-60-90 plan provides clear direction for your first three months and accelerates your integration into the organization, so you can make meaningful contributions sooner.

Strategic alignment

So many new hires get lost in the whirlwind of daily tasks and never have time to dig deeper. A 30-60-90 plan is an opportunity to reflect on how your role contributes to business objectives – and how you can support them. Being time-bound, it provides a schedule for achieving both quick wins and longer-term goals, setting you and the business up for future success. 

Higher credibility

For people to trust you with their resource allocations, Resource Managers need to establish credibility with stakeholders. A well-executed 30-60-90 plan demonstrates your competence for the role and your commitment to delivering results. This builds confidence in your expertise, which can reduce resistance to change.

30-60-90 plan for Resource Managers: Days 1 to 30 

The first month is about finding your feet – meeting people, learning the ropes, setting goals, and starting work. Here’s what to include in your 30-60-90 plan for your first month in post.

1. Complete your generic induction

Goal: Complete all required modules of the induction within the first week. To ensure a smooth introduction to organizational policies and procedures, onboard to relevant IT systems, and be ready for work.

Your first week is likely to be occupied with the inevitable generic onboarding process. Expect to be bombarded with boring but necessary admin stuff like password policies. 

Pay particular attention to anything that might impact the resources you’ll be managing – like time-tracking processes, overtime rules, performance management, and professional development. This is important intel for your role.

2. Meet key personnel 

Goal: Hold meetings with key personnel in the first two weeks. Gain insights into strategic objectives and operational needs, lay the foundation for productive working relationships, and understand the reality of Resource Management in your new organization.

Resource Management is all about relationships – whether that’s building trust and rapport with senior leaders to gain buy-in for RM initiatives, or cross-departmental collaboration to create seamless people practices. So don’t waste any time getting to know key personnel. Here’s who to meet. 

Your line manager

Your line manager is your primary point of contact, support, and guidance. Expect a meeting early in your first week to learn how your role contributes to organizational success and establish expectations and priorities. Discuss any immediate priorities or projects that require your attention and establish a timeline for achieving them. If they don’t raise the idea of a 30-60-90 plan, take the initiative and suggest it yourself. 

Key questions for your line manager:

  • What are the key priorities you'd like me to focus on?
  • Are there any upcoming projects or initiatives that will impact our team’s work? 
  • What factors should I consider when making resource allocation decisions?

Senior leaders 

Your line manager may brief you on organizational strategy or you may meet with senior leaders directly. Their strategy will inform resource management priorities. For example, are they looking to increase capacity, pivot into a new area, save money, reduce turnover…? As you know, resource management can help with all of the above. Use their strategy to steer your own – see more on this below.

Key questions for senior leaders:

  • Are there any upcoming changes or shifts in strategy that may impact resource management needs or activities?
  • Are there specific metrics or KPIs that the leadership team uses to evaluate resource management effectiveness?
  • What is the long-term vision for resource management within the organization?

Your team 

Schedule meetings with key people in your immediate team to understand what they do and how you’ll work together. Learn how things work – processes, policies, and procedures – as well as what doesn’t – frustrations and bottlenecks. Understand how resourcing decisions are made – for example, how projects are prioritized, how resources are requested, and how changes are managed. 

Key questions for new colleagues:

  • What are your main tasks and duties on a day-to-day basis?
  • What are some of the biggest challenges or obstacles in your role?
  • Are there any pain points or inefficiencies in current resource processes?

Human Resources 

HR and Resource Management work closely together – or they should. Meet them to learn how the organization plans capacity and assesses resource needs. Discuss the process for requesting new resources and understand how recruitment works. Do they use a lag, lead, or match strategy? Do they prefer permanent appointments or use contractors? What data and systems do the two teams share?

Key questions for HR:

  • How does HR typically assess the organization's resource needs and capacity?
  • What is the process for requesting new resources or hiring additional team members?
  • How can I best collaborate with HR to work together toward shared goals?

Other team leaders and project managers 

Meet managers from other teams to understand how resource management impacts their work and vice versa. Seek to understand any historic challenges or unrealized opportunities. This could be fertile ground for future improvements.  

3. Get to know your resources 

Goal: By the end of your first month, establish a comprehensive understanding of the skills, capabilities, and preferences of each team member. To support effective resource allocation and project success. 

The meetings above provide the strategic and operational context for your work. Now it’s time to meet the people who really matter – the resources you’ll be scheduling and supporting. Here are some ways to familiarize yourself with who they are and what makes them tick, so you can align them with opportunities that benefit them, the business, and its clients.

Conduct 1-2-1 meetings and review documentation 

In a smaller organization, you may be able to meet all of your resources personally. Schedule meetings to discuss people’s skills, experience, interests, and aspirations. You may also review individuals’ resumes or other sources of career information, like their LinkedIn profile and HR records.

Key questions to ask:

  • How can I best support you in your role and help you succeed?
  • What are your career goals within the organization?
  • What could the resource management function do better?

Access Resource Management information

In larger organizations, meeting each resource individually might not be feasible. In these cases, Resource Management software should provide relevant information about each team member – their skills, expertise, past allocations, career aspirations, etc.

You can also use RM software to look at how projects have been staffed in the past to understand typical resource allocations. (If your organization isn’t currently using a Resource Management platform, that can go on your list of improvements to implement!) 

Plan ongoing engagement with resources

Think of how you can develop and deepen relationships with resources over time. Consider opportunities like drop-in sessions for existing resources to discuss career development plans, and introductory meetings with new resources as part of their induction process. Create a proposal and timeframe to implement. 

4. Shadow colleagues 

Goal: In the first month, conduct a series of shadowing days with more experienced colleagues. To see how resource management works first-hand and gain experience in a supported environment. 

Ask to shadow colleagues and see how resource management works in practice. This will pave the way for you to confidently transition to working independently as time goes on. 

Schedule shadowing sessions with team members across different departments to observe their day-to-day activities, and understand how resource allocation decisions are made in practice. At the end of each shadowing session, document what you’ve learned, so you can review your notes if you need to refresh your memory later.

5. Understand systems, tools, and processes

Goal: Within the first 30 days, develop a sound understanding of the systems, tools, policies, and processes relevant to resource management within the organization.

This stage is pretty self-explanatory. You need to get to grips with how resource allocations happen. Does your organization use a resource management system or something more makeshift like spreadsheets? What policies guide how resourcing decisions are made? Here’s a checklist of things to do.

  • Schedule a demo of any systems used to manage resource allocations – understand the functionality and workflows used
  • Find out where important documentation lives – like an intranet or shared folders
  • Read and understand relevant policies, guidelines, procedures, and workflow schematics
  • Seek clarification from more experienced colleagues on anything that doesn’t make sense
  • Review any available user documentation or training for resource management software – see if the software offers self-guided training or help documentation 

30-60-90 plan for Resource Managers: Days 31 to 60

This next stage is about getting to work. Your focus shifts from orientation to execution. You’ll be actively engaged in resource scheduling and management. And your first-hand experience will start to inform ideas for improvements.

1. Work independently  

Goal: By the start of your second month, execute your resource management duties confidently and independently.

It’s time to take ownership of your resource management duties. You’ve learned all you can through orientation, shadowing, and training. It’s time to show what you can do! Expect to take the reins of a number of projects, allocating and scheduling resources. 

2. Assess current processes

Goal: To conduct a comprehensive audit of current resource management practices, identifying areas for improvement and informing strategic decision-making.

Before you can make improvements, you need to assess the current state of resource management in the organization. Your first-month meetings with leaders and colleagues will almost certainly have highlighted opportunities for improvements. Now it’s time to delve deeper and understand what works and what doesn’t. 

Look at historical data on resource utilization rates, capacity, availability, and project performance to understand how successfully your organization manages its resources. (If this data isn’t readily available, that’s an improvement you need to make. More on the importance of quality data for resource management here ➡️

Look at annual staff surveys to understand staff sentiment and satisfaction – are people happy and engaged, or angry and overworked? Do they feel valued or like cogs in a machine?

Assess your organization against the resource management maturity model to understand areas for improvement, based on industry best practice. For example

  • Is resource management centralized or distributed?
  • Are processes documented and observed? 
  • Is appropriate resource management software in use?

3. Pick low-hanging fruit

Goal: To identify quick wins and long-hanging fruit – quick changes you can make with minimal investment – that will have an immediate positive impact on team outcomes.

Your conversations with colleagues and your processes audit should reveal some quick wins. Targeting these low-hanging fruit – so-called because they’re easiest to pick – helps you make a tangible impact, fast. This won’t just make people’s lives easier – which they’ll love you for! – it will also help build the trust and credibility you need for more significant improvements in the future. 

Here are a few examples of low-hanging fruit you might find dangling in your first few months in post, especially in a business with low resource management maturity.

  • Random resource requests: If people are requesting resources in random ways – by email, over the phone, on messaging apps – it's a recipe for confusion and clashes. A quick win could be to implement an online resource request form that is sent to a central inbox. This keeps all requests in one place and provides a clear audit trail.
  • Siloed resource information: If your organization doesn’t have a centralized record of resources – their roles, skills, costs, etc., – how can resource managers find the right people for each project? As a minimum, set up a single, central place to record and access this information.
  • No/low adherence to processes: If different people assign resources in different ways, that’ll result in double bookings and disputes. Make sure processes are documented – for example, workflow schematics and ‘how-to’ documents – and host them centrally for everyone to reference. 

Don’t worry if these seem basic – you’ll get your chance to make bigger improvements as you continue to shine in your new role. 

30-60-90 plan for Resource Managers: Days 61 to 90 

Your third month is about achieving high performance and long-term success. Having embedded yourself firmly in the operational side of resource management, it’s time to start getting strategic.  

1. Match strategy to situation

Goal: To understand the long-term strategy of the organization and how resource management can be strategically deployed to reach organizational objectives.

Resource Management has core elements that are the same in every business and sector – operational aspects like planning allocations and optimizing utilization rates. But the strategic side of resource management is different in every organization – because organizations have different strategic goals.

Now’s the time to start thinking strategically about the role of resource management in your new organization. To do this you need to understand 

  • The organization’s current situation
  • Where they want to be/what they want to achieve
  • How resource management can get them there

For example, if your new employer is

  • A startup managing resource allocations in an ad hoc manner…RM can provide tools and enhance processes for better visibility and decision-making, improving all manner of metrics
  • An established business looking to improve key metrics like operational or cost efficiency…RM can optimize resource utilization, increase productivity, and reduce wasted spend 
  • A pivoting business looking to enter a new market…RM can identify resources, talent, and leadership needed to pivot successfully and advise on internal upskilling needs 
  • An ambitious business looking for rapid growth and expansion…RM can identify skills gaps and recruitment needs while protecting staff from overutilization and maintaining morale
  • A struggling business with issues around staff satisfaction or retention…RM can support talent development and engagement initiatives to improve retention and internal mobility

Strategic resource management can support all of these objectives. By carefully identifying opportunities to match strategy to situation, you’ll quickly become recognized as a strategic and proactive manager.

2. Conduct a skills and resource gap analysis 

Goal: To determine whether the organization has the right balance of people and skills for their current work and planned direction. 

Whatever the strategic goals of your organization, they’re going to need the right people and skills in place. Find out when they last conducted skills gap analysis and resource gap analysis. If it hasn’t been done recently, it’s a juicy project to sink your teeth into. 

  • A skills gap analysis shows where the business has an oversupply or undersupply of skills. Knowing this supports workforce planning and staff training plans. 
  • A resource gap analysis shows whether the business has the right people and roles in the business. It can inform role design, recruitment, redeployment, and more. 

This activity has the potential to accelerate the business towards its goals, delivering high impact in a variety of situations – from enhancing productivity and utilization, to improving internal mobility and staff retention. 

3. Recommend RM improvements  

Goal: To identify opportunities for improvement and make strategic recommendations to relevant leaders. 

Having already picked the low-hanging fruit, it’s time to start planning for longer-term improvements to resource management. For example

  • Optimizing processes – eg working more closely with HR to reduce the length of time to takes to identify and fill resource gaps  
  • Implementing new software – eg replacing spreadsheets with a dedicated RM platform 
  • Collecting more data – eg on utilization rates, budget, and schedule variance, capacity, etc
  • Introducing new initiatives – eg a central hub for resource management information or even a Resource Management Office 

Prepare a report for relevant stakeholders to highlight how your recommendations will elevate resource management practices and align with leadership’s strategic objectives. 

For example, collecting more stats will support data-based decision-making, while implementing resource management software will save time and improve allocation accuracy. Include relevant KPIs you’ll track to measure the impact of your improvements. 

4. Lead strategic initiatives

Goal: To spearhead key strategic initiatives that align resource management practices with the organization’s long-term goals and/or improve the effectiveness of the resource management function.

Depending on how quickly your new organization moves, this may be a Month 3 thing…or it may take a little longer. The wheels of change don’t always move quickly. Hopefully, before too long, you should get the sign-off to start implementing one or more of the strategic initiatives you’ve identified above. 

Initiating and overseeing these projects should cement your role in the organization and pave the way for recognition of your expertise – which can lay the foundations for future advancement opportunities.

Here are some examples of strategic resource management initiatives you might choose to implement, depending on the needs of the business.

Establishing a governance framework 

If your organization has low resource management maturity, you could write its first governance framework. This involves defining clear roles and responsibilities, standardizing processes for resource allocation and utilization, and implementing performance metrics to monitor and optimize resource management practices. 

Implementing Resource Management software 

If you’re resource planning in spreadsheets, that’s not sustainable. The best thing you can do is implement a dedicated resource management platform. This will streamline the project and resource scheduling process by centralizing all resource information and tools in one place. Live data informs resource scheduling, capacity planning, and more, improving allocation accuracy and project outcomes. 

Developing a talent pipeline strategy

If your business wants to grow or pivot, it’ll need the right skills and people in place. Working with your colleagues in Human Resources, you can develop a talent pipeline strategy that attracts highly qualified candidates. It involves identifying the gap between the current workforce and future needs, and then implementing tactics to attract external candidates and upskill internal talent. 

Don’t forget, change is scary so careful change management is important. Check out our change management best practices before you dive in! 

30-60-90 plan for Resource Managers: Day 91 and beyond

Congratulations, you’ve nailed your first three months in role! And you’re on a roll when it comes to reputation and impact. Now it's up to you to keep it going. 

Maintain strategic alignment

It’s important to remember that resource management is a dynamic process. Not only in terms of day-to-day scheduling but also strategic alignment. As your employer achieves one strategic objective – or as market conditions dictate – their focus can change. Your strategy needs to mirror and support those objectives. 

Continuously improve

Easier said than done, we know. But approach your role with the aim of continuous improvement. Regularly assess resource management practices and seek feedback from stakeholders on how it's working for them. Implement ongoing initiatives to optimize processes.

Keep cultivating relationships 

Regardless of how well you boost retention rates :-) resources and colleagues will continue to change. Maintain open communication channels with colleagues across the organization to keep open communication channels and positive relationships. Consider opportunities to introduce people to resource management as a function and facilitator of their goals – like drop-in sessions, sharing impact stats, and online information. 

Upskill yourself and others

Discover what opportunities your new employer offers for continuing your professional development. And think how you can cascade and share that knowledge to upskill your team too.

And now that you're firmly settled into your role and enabling others to do great work, there are tons of options to consider for levelling up resource management in your organization. You might want to check out our guide to setting up a resource management office from scratch ➡️, which will take you far beyond the first 90 days and into some long-term planning to achieve resource management excellence. Go forth, and good luck! ☘️

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