Organizational Wellness

The 90-Day Employee Review: A Breakdown and Questions to Ask

Mar 28, 2023
Last Updated Jun 1, 2023

It’s totally normal, when you first start a new job, to have those first day jitters. And it’s even morenormal for the first day jitters to last several weeks. You’re faced with information overload, getting familiar with coworkers and the office culture, and trying to get projects off the ground smoothly.

But at some point along the way, it all starts to click. You know where to find the coffee mugs, which Slack channels have the cutest pet pictures, and how to organize tasks in your project management software.

For many employees, that turning point occurs about three months in, at the 90-day mark. Employees work at about 25% productivity during their first month on the job, according to data from Zippia, and that number bumps up to 75% by month three.

To help your own team members settle in and assist with onboarding, you can introduce a 90-day review process for new hires. This can help new team members stay on track with performance goals, give them the chance to ask questions at the crucial 90-day mark, and set them up for future success with your company.

What is a 90-Day Review?

A 90-day review is a formal evaluation that team members and managers can use to assess performance and progress made in a new role after the first three months of work. It can be used as both a performance management technique and a key stepping stone in an organization’s onboardingflow. This review is typically conducted between the new hire, HR leaders and, sometimes, managers.

The review serves as a check-in during onboarding as well as the first formal evaluation to see how employees are handling the work and where they might need more support. During the conversation, you’ll typically discuss things like:

  • Progress made in the new role
  • Key performance indicators (KPIs), such as how well deadlines are being met and expectations fulfilled
  • Any feedback received from other team leaders or stakeholders
  • Areas where the employee may be struggling that need to be addressed
  • Additional instruction or training that might be needed to ensure success
  • Goals for upcoming months and any potential career development opportunities
  • How they’re fitting into the culture and team dynamic
  • How comfortable they feel speaking up and connecting with teammates

How a 90-Day Review Works

HR teams are often responsible for establishing the 90-day review process at your company. Here’s a basic outline of the steps you can incorporate:

  1. Self-evaluation:Before the review meeting, ask your new hire to fill out a self-assessment and write down their thoughts on their performance over the first few months. What are they proud of? Have there been any difficulties that have arisen? Where can they stand to improve?
  2. Gather feedback from stakeholders:Ask other team members, such as the employee’s direct supervisor, to fill out a brief assessment on the new hire. You can use this as a baseline for your review conversation.
  3. Discuss progress:During the review meeting, give your employee a chance to discuss what’s gone well and areas where they’re struggling or need more guidance. You can also instruct managers to provide constructive feedback and ideas for improvement.
  4. Focus on development:Use the 90-day review to discuss potential areas for professional development based on the conversation with the employee. Talk about any training or mentorship opportunities that might be available, as well as their goals once they’re out of onboarding.

Objectives of a 90-Day Review

Because a 90-day review happens so early in an employee’s tenure, there are slightly different goals for this kind of evaluation than a traditional performance review. Here’s what you’ll want to accomplish during this review cycle:

  • Assess your onboarding process:A 90-day review is an opportunity for HR leaders to examine the effectiveness of their onboarding process. Are new hires getting the support they need? Is there anything that can be changed or improved in the future? The answers to these questions can help you improve your onboarding experience andemployee retention. Employees who feel strongly that their onboarding process was “exceptional” areover twice as likelyto say their job is as good or better than their initial expectations, according to a Gallup Panel study.
  • Identify employees’ strengths:Use this time to discover what makes new employees unique and how you can capitalize on these strengths. Are there any projects or tasks that the employee excels at? You might decide to pass more of these tasks over to them or figure out new ways to challenge them based on your conversation.
  • Understand employees’ needs:The 90-day review is a good time to ask your new hire what challenges they’re facingand what they need from you and other team members on board. This information can be invaluable when it comes to ensuring that each team member is set up for success.
  • Agree on goals:Use the 90-day employee evaluation to set clear objectivesand expectations for the upcoming months. What do you want each team member to accomplish by the end of their first year? What are your criteria for performance evaluation? Establish these goals together so everyone understands what success looks like in the role and on the team.

How to Conduct a 90-Day Review

The bulk of the time during your review meeting will be spent gathering info, discussing feedback, and assessing how employees feel about their first 90 days with your company. So it’s important to bring the right questions to the conversation!

90-Day Review Questions to Ask Employees

To spark a productive discussion around employee performance reviews, here are some questions for you to bring to the conversation:

  1. What’s been going well?
  2. What do you think has been the biggest challenge for you so far?
  3. What have you enjoyed most about the role so far?
  4. How are you adapting to our office culture and team dynamics?
  5. Do you feel comfortable going to your coworkers, supervisor, and other leaders with questions?
  6. Are there any areas where more guidance or instruction would be helpful to you?
  7. What was the most helpful part of the onboarding process?
  8. What feedback do you have about our onboarding process?
  9. What have been some of your most successful tasks and projects, and what can you take away from them?
  10. Are there any career growth opportunities or additional training on new skills that would help move you forward?
  11. What specific tasks or goals would you like to focus on for the next 90 days in your role?
  12. Do you have any questions for me about expectations for your role?

90-Day Review Questions to Ask Your Boss

Your employees are also going to come to the review meeting with questions — or there might be a day when you’re starting out as the new hire and you need to prepare questions of your own for a 90-day review! These are the types of questions employees are likely to ask their boss or HR manager:

  1. What should I be focusing on to reach my goals?
  2. How can I better prioritize tasks and deadlines?
  3. Are there any additional resources or training available that would help me in this role?
  4. Do you have any suggestions for how I can improve the quality of my work?
  5. How do you think I’m doing so far, compared to your expectations? What can I do to exceed expectations in the future?
  6. What feedback have you received about my work from other team members or leaders?
  7. Do you see any potential for growth and development, either within this role or beyond it?
  8. Are there any upcoming projects or tasks that I should focus on over the next 90 days?

Support Employees for Long-Term Engagement and Success

Your organization’s onboarding period might officially last 90 days, 120 days, or any other length of time. But even when new hires have moved on from onboarding, they’ll still need support from your human resource team to be successful in their roles.

That support might look different for every team member, but the bottom line is that many employees are looking to do more than just collect a paycheck. They value different types of benefits, they’re open to exploring different career paths, and they want to feel supported both at work and away from the office.

A holistic wellness programcan give each employee the resources they need to prioritize their health — physically, mentally, and spiritually. Beyond the standard health insurance benefits, you can provide access to classes, stipends, fitness centers, and anything else that helps them stay healthy and rejuvenated.

Speak to one of our wellness specialiststo find out how you can get your employees access to a wide network of amazing gyms and studios, tailored to their unique fitness journey!



Wellhub Editorial Team

The Wellhub Editorial Team empowers HR leaders to support worker wellbeing. Our original research, trend analyses, and helpful how-tos provide the tools they need to improve workforce wellness in today's fast-shifting professional landscape.


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