Many companies have a 90-day “probationary period” for new hires. At the end of this period, the manager is supposed to do a sit-down face-to-face evaluation with the new employee. It’s such a standard thing that we often don’t think about it, but we should. It’s actually an area which can cause your business big trouble if you don’t do it right. Here’s the right way to conduct a 90-day performance appraisal.
Aim for 90 Days.
We don’t call it a 90-day review for nothing. The 90-day rule isn’t critical. You could do a 60-day review, a 120-day review, or a 75.5-day review (over lunch!). The critical part is to do it when you’ve told the employee you will. Make the appointment official by placing it on the calendar on your new hire’s first day.
Why schedule and conduct a performance review you ask? Because not knowing when their performance reviews are held stress the heck out of your new hires (and no one likes surprise performance reviews). If you postpone or don’t get around to scheduling, it makes it difficult for your employee to receive feedback on their work performance. So, if you say you’re going to do it, schedule it and do it.
Have an Agenda.
If you sit down and say “So, how are things going?”, you’re going to miss important information. You can certainly have that type of conversation, but not at an official review. A review should have, at a minimum, an agenda. If this is official company policy, there should be a form.
You want to stick to the agenda below and cover these topics (plus whatever is important for the particular position):
- Areas where the new hire needs additional training
- Cultural fit
- Gaps in knowledge
- Workload evaluation
- Skills fit
- The employee’s observations
- Area(s) that require improvement
- Area(s) that are working well
Give your Employee a Chance to Speak.
This is not just about you giving feedback, it’s also about receiving it as well. What is and/or isn’t working? Are there improvements that your new hire wants to make? Are there concerns you should know about? It’s better to learn about these things now than to have problems appear later on.
Remind your Employee about Policies.
Most people aren’t going to take a day off in their first few months, so they may have forgotten the proper procedures to request time off. Your new employee may not have submitted an expense report or had to buy plane tickets for travel, but they will in the future. It’s a good time to go over these items so that the employee never feels uncomfortable.
What if their 90-Day Evaluation Period Was a Failure?
If it was a total failure, it should not come as a surprise to anyone at the review especially if you’ve been attempting to fix the problems for the past 90 days. If the problems persisted up until this point, it may be time to let your employee go. It’s better to part ways sooner rather than later. Get the paperwork in order and get everyone to sign off and bid the person best wishes in their future endeavors.
On another note, if it was a disaster because you didn’t provide adequate training and support, you need to fix those errors on your end. Bringing in someone new won’t fix the company’s on-boarding process. Best procedure for this instance is to ensure your new hire receives the needed training and attention and re-evaluate at a later date (possibly between the 60-90 day window).
Say Thank You!
You know what a new job is? Hard. It’s far more difficult than a job you’ve had for three years. You get decision fatigue just because everything is new–you have to develop new patterns and new techniques. You have to deal with new people and learn their quirks. It’s tough, So ensure you thank your new hire. They have survived 90 days, and that’s not easy. Let them know you’re thankful.