Critical: What Managers Should Ask at the 90-Day New Hire Performance Review

What is a 90-day Review?

A 90-day review is used when hiring new employees or transferring employees to new positions. After the first 90 days, a manager reviews employee performance, goal progress, and discusses future onboarding and training plans. It’s important to come prepared to the 90-day review with an agenda and questions to ask.

90-day Review Questions

What questions should be on your mind at a 90-day performance review?

Did we make the right hire?

Yes: The employee has the right skills and personality. Great!

No: Uh oh. Start documenting. Hopefully, you’ve taken a few notes along the way.

Is the employee progressing?

Yes: The employee is right where he/she needs to be, at the right pace.

No: Do you need to provide more training? Does it look like the employee might be overqualified and need additional responsibilities?

Does this person fit in on the team?

Yes: The employee has made friends and is contributing to the team.

No: A loner? Should you facilitate some interactions – team lunches? Shadowing opportunities?

How has onboarding gone? Has there been enough support for this person to succeed?

Yes: Onboarding program has worked.

No: Sporadic and intermittent support has left the employee without a clear sense of purpose or direction. This is a management issue, see how you can turn it around.

Would the employee benefit from a mentor?

Yes: A mentor would help the employee advance and acclimate. The job is complex.

No: At this time, employee is doing well and seems to be getting along well at this time.

Have there been any red-flag behaviors?

Yes: Uh oh. Document. Discuss issues with employee right away. Set expectations, initiate progressive discipline, or terminate.

No: Good news.

Does the company offer additional training that might help the employee?

Yes: It’s important to get this done before the employee feels alienated and unsupported, and you want the employee to be a productive member of the team.

No: Consider mentors and team activities to help bring the person along.

Is this person addressing the problem he/she was hired to solve?

Yes: Congratulations. You’ve hired well.

No: Set expectations. Go through the job description with the employee. Be sure the employee knows why he/she was hired so that they may try to reach the bar.

Does this person have the skills to succeed?

Yes: Great! Good job hiring.

No: Did you check references? Does the employee need a lot more skill or a little more skill? Are you willing to start over? Is it easier to provide the training to acquire the skills?

Does this person have managerial abilities?

Yes: Consider additional learning opportunities to help the employee see multiple aspects of the company in preparation for possible advancement.

No: That’s okay, too. Is the person stable and will he/she be able to solve what he/she was hired to do?

What has this person been able to accomplish in the the first 90-days?

Take stock of the accomplishments in the first 90 days and share them. Be sure to set goals for the next year so that progress may continue.

What are three things this person needs to work on to improve?

Consider three things that may help the employee and the organization. Discuss them with the employee at the meeting.

 Have you taken the time to build the employee/manager relationship?

Yes: Great job. It’s not easy to build relationships and onboard, when everything else still needs to get done.

No: Time to engage. The employee will make the best fit if he/she understands expectations and feels a sense of direction – that comes from the employee/manager relationship.

 Does this person need help fitting in?

Yes: The employee is shy. Consider team building activities or assignments that require interaction with others.

No: The employee is able to navigate socially.