Effective onboarding and a timely 90-day review, where everyone clarifies goals and expectations, significantly impact employee retention and productivity. And, as a result, your business success.

Get a better understanding of the steps involved in a 90-day performance review and what questions you should ask during the meeting.

What is a 90-Day Review & Why is it Important to Conduct?

A 90-day employee review is the final appraisal of newly hired employees during their onboarding process. It provides an opportunity for both the employee and the manager to discuss the level of performance, areas for improvement, and future goals.

In contrast to 30- and 60-day reviews that do not focus mainly on performance, a 90-day one already comes with a performance review.

The question is, why is it so necessary to carry out? Let’s take a look at some insightful statistics.

Nearly three-quarters of people decide to quit their jobs within the first 90 days after starting a new job. Each employee’s exit costs around a third of their annual earnings, covering recruiter fees, temporary employees, and production losses.

To avoid that, implementing a solid onboarding process, which includes a comprehensive 90-day review, can improve the retention of new hires by 82%. In addition, it increases productivity by nearly 67%, according to research.

What should be the focus of a 90-day review?

An effective 90-day review should generally focus on the following:

  • Overall early performance. We will all likely experience sluggish performance in the first 90 days of our employment. Yes, we cannot fully gauge the full performance capability of an employee in three months. Still, around 90 days, you can have an idea of an employee’s efficiency. Here, discuss whether the employee’s performance suits both of you.
  • Job Responsibilities. Another critical aspect of the 90-day review is to assess the employee’s comprehension of the job responsibilities. It entails a thorough discussion to uncover any gaps in knowledge and competencies relevant to the position.
  • Level of engagement. A 90-day review should also assess employee satisfaction and engagement levels. Ask about the employee’s overall happiness with the role and company. 
  • Integration into Team & Culture fit. The three-month review should also provide insight into the employee’s integration into the team and into the company culture. Specifically, this involves an analysis of collaboration and communication across the departments and the manager.
  • Future Expectations. It is part of the 90-day review to clarify employee expectations for the future. It includes discussing potential career paths within the organization and setting new goals and objectives in cooperation.
  • Challenges that come up. In this performance review, employees can address any problems they may have early on instead of waiting until the yearly review to do so or not addressing them at all.

Benefits of 90-day review

Why is a 90-day review valuable to you and your employees? Here are some benefits of conducting the appraisal:

Alignment with Company Goals

Reviewing employees’ work after probation allows them to understand better how their work contributes to the company’s overall goals. Taking time to talk about accomplishments and areas for improvement makes employees realize how their role contributes to the company’s success, which makes them feel valuable and empowered.

Enhancement of Job Satisfaction and Morale

Reviewing an employee’s performance after 90 days is a good way to recognize their contributions and achievements. Employees are more likely to feel satisfied at work and to have high morale if they receive praise in the early stages of their careers. Ultimately, a sense of value and appreciation fosters a positive work environment and encourages long-term commitment.

Adjustment and Revision of Expectations

For both the employee and the employer, the 90-day review is a valuable checkpoint to make sure everyone is on the same page. In this way, any ambiguities or gaps arising can be addressed promptly, which leads to a better understanding of the role, responsibilities, and performance expectations.

Building a Supportive Working Relationship

Additionally, the benefit of actively engaging in the performance review is that it contributes to developing a supportive working relationship between the employee and the employer. The positive feedback in the review helps build trust, encourages open communication, and establishes a foundation for collaboration and mutual success within the organization.

Professional Development and Learning Opportunities for Employee

The 90-day review offers another benefit – a discussion of the employee’s learning curve and potential for professional development in the early stages. Develop a career development strategy and identify strengths and areas for improvement to enhance knowledge and skills in the future. Through this proactive approach, the company assists its employees in developing new skills and enhancing their professional growth.

Now, let’s talk about how you conduct an evaluation. The following tips will help run an effective 90-day review with your new hires. 

Gearing Up for the 90-Day Review in 5 Steps

It is essential to plan ahead before embarking on the 90-day review process. Here are some steps you can take for better preparation.

1. Start with Forming Goals Early On

Start by specifying job expectations, key performance indicators (KPIs), and expected results for new hires. For this, set crystal-clear goals and requirements for the probation period right from the start. Consequently, your new hire will better understand their role and what success looks like. Moreover, knowing what is expected of them in the long term will prevent them from getting burnt out due to uncertainty.

2. Keep an Eye on Performance Goals

Keep a record of major performance milestones and remarkable achievements throughout the probationary period of your employee. During the review, this will serve as an invaluable tool in obtaining an accurate assessment. Likewise, this recognition of employees in the early stages increases their motivation and performance.

3. Decide on a Specific Time for the Review 

Make sure you don’t skip a three-month performance review or make the employee feel like it isn’t essential. Plan the meeting, prepare questions, or even share the questions with the employee before the meeting. 

4. Pre-review Self-evaluation of the Employee

Ahead of the upcoming performance review, ask your new hires to self-assess their performance. Ask them to write down everything they are proud of for these 3-month career milestones and any challenges they have faced. 

5. Compile Diverse Feedback

Besides asking new hires for feedback, consider gathering opinions from colleagues, direct managers, clients, and others. Their insights can give a more holistic perspective of the employee’s performance.  

Pro step: Check out Beams.ai if you are looking for anonymous surveys and recognition tools to nurture honest feedback and a culture of open communication within your team.

Beams.ai employee engagement, 90-days review

Conducting the 90-Day Review in 4 Steps

Taking charge of the review meeting might feel overwhelming for the management team and employees. Fortunately, you can turn this into a valuable experience for both parties with clear communication, constructive feedback, and an organized discussion. Here are some guidelines on how to make it happen.

1. Start with Constructive Feedback

Acknowledgment and compliments are the best starting points for constructive feedback. Provide specific examples of the employee’s accomplishments and contributions in their first 90 days. After that, offer constructive feedback on areas where the employee can improve. Be specific and provide examples to help them understand what you expect from them.

2. Discuss Career Development

Open a conversation about the employee’s long-term career goals and aspirations within the company. This demonstrates your interest in their professional growth. Discuss potential training, workshops, or mentorship programs to support the employee’s development in their current role and future career path.

3. Address Concerns and Questions 

At the end of the meeting, encourage the employee to express any concerns or questions they may have. Early resolution of these issues can prevent misunderstandings and result in a positive working relationship.

Keep in mind: A 90-day review meeting is about setting the stage for honest dialogue, thereby advancing professional development.

4. Set Clear Expectations for the Future

Together with the employee, establish goals for the next phase of their employment. These goals align with the overall objectives of the team and the company. Afterward, clearly define these key performance indicators (KPIs) that will be used to measure success in the near future before the performance review. 

25 Questions for Employees in 90-Day Review 

Here are 20 examples of questions that you might consider asking during a 90-day appraisal of your employees:

Role and Position Understanding Questions

  • Can you describe the responsibilities and expectations of your role?
  • How would you describe your role’s main objectives and key performance indicators?
  • Are there any details that need to be clarified in the job description?

Culture Fit Questions

  • Would you rate your adaptation to our company’s culture, policies, and procedures as good or bad?
  • Can you give specific examples of how you acted in accordance with the company values or vision?

Performance Questions

  • How do you feel about your performance during the first 90 days in your role?
  • Can you provide examples of specific achievements or challenges you’ve encountered?
  • What are your strengths and areas for improvement?
  • How have you demonstrated initiative in your role?
  • In what ways have you managed your time to meet deadlines and prioritize tasks?
  • Do you need more support to improve your performance and productivity?

Team/Manager Relationship Questions

  • How would you describe your working relationship with your manager?
  • Please elaborate on your communication style, and in what ways have you communicated effectively with your team?
  • Can you provide examples of how you’ve collaborated with team members on projects or tasks?
  • Is there anything you would like to discuss or address regarding your interactions with your manager?

Career Development Questions

  • What are your career aspirations?
  • Are there specific skills or areas of expertise you would like to develop further in your role?
  • How can the company support your professional development?

Engagement within Company Questions

  • What are your favorite and least favorite aspects of your job?
  • When it comes to doing your best work, what helps you?
  • Are you feeling appreciated for the work you do?

Feedback on the Onboarding Process

  • How would you describe the onboarding process from your perspective?
  • Do you have any recommendations for improving or anything that stood out as particularly striking in the onboarding process?

End-of-meeting Discussion Questions

  • How do you feel about the recognition and feedback so far?
  • Is there anything else you would like to discuss?
  • How do you feel about this meeting? What will you take away from this meeting?

Navigating the Post-Probation Review Process

Even though the post-probation performance review typically ends the formal evaluation process, things aren’t over yet. In the first place, you need to make a note of the conclusions reached during the review, including feedback, goals set, and decisions made. This record is an invaluable reference for future performance assessments and development plans. 

Also, schedule regular checkups to track progress toward the defined goals. Afterward, schedule consistent meetings, like mid-year performance reviews, to address any new development challenges and provide guidance and support. 

Tips on How to Provide Feedback During 90-Day Review

Providing efficient feedback calls for a combination of honesty and empathy. Here’s how you can deliver constructive feedback effectively:

  • Specificity is important. Focus on specific situations where the new team member excelled or encountered difficulties over general comments.
  • Evaluate performance, not personality. Construct your feedback around actions and behaviors rather than the characteristics of the person.
  • Maintain a balance between positive and negative feedback. Constructive comments should highlight strengths as well as point out improvement areas. 
  • Create an environment of dialogue. Feedback should be a two-way street. Welcome the employee to share opinions and insights.

The Bottom Line

Overall, the 90-day performance review is an honest dialogue between the employer and employee on how they are meeting each other’s expectations. If a meeting is managed correctly, it can provide both parties a chance to communicate openly. And hence fostering a positive working relationship.

Need some help with all HR processes? Beams.ai is ready to take care of all the time-consuming work for you. You can track and manage employee engagement with its automated survey system, personalized recommendations, and analytics features. Moreover, interactive gratitude tools allow you to recognize your employees more often than during any one-on-ones

So, schedule a free demo to explore the features that will transform your business for the better.