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90 Day Review

A 90-day review is the final check-in with a new hire during their initial onboarding process. The review should assess the employee’s performance through their first three months, allow them to address any questions or issues they have encountered, and continue to seek their feedback on your processes.

Continue reading to learn what a 90-day employee review is, why and how you should conduct them, and questions to ask.

What is a 90-Day Employee Review?

A 90-day employee review is the final check-in during a new hire’s onboarding process. While 30- and 60-day reviews haven’t been centered around performance, a 90-day review should include a one-page performance evaluation to let the employee know how they are doing and raise any issues or concerns.

Why You Should Meet with Employees at the End of Their Third Month

Meeting with employees at the end of their third month gives you an opportunity to connect at a time when the employee is fully involved in the day-to-day tasks of their position. You can gain additional insights through a 90-day review, including:

  • Ensuring that the employee is a good fit for the position and company. By the three-month mark, you should have enough information to assess whether a new hire has successfully acclimated to your company or whether they may not be the right fit for the position.
  • Gain insights into the effectiveness of your onboarding process. Feedback from the employee and their overall progress can provide insight into how effective your onboarding process is in preparing employees for their role.
  • Provide feedback for employees. If there are any areas where an employee is having trouble, you can provide constructive criticism to help identify the issue and potential solutions.
  • Determine long-term goals. Encouraging your employees to create long-term goals shows the employee that you value them, and can improve retention.

How to Conduct a 90-Day Review

The main goal of a 90-day review is to provide feedback on the employee’s performance as they begin to settle into their position. The following steps can help you conduct an effective 90-day review.

1. Know What You Want to Accomplish

Where earlier reviews may have centered around making the employee feel comfortable, the 90-day review is their first real performance review. Understand what you want the employee to take away from your meeting. Review your documentation of the 30- and 60-day reviews to look for trends or issues you want to follow up on.

If the employee is performing above expectations, make sure to call that out and help them set realistic goals that they can achieve in the long term. If they are struggling to complete their day-to-day responsibilities, you’ll want to steer the conversation towards methods to improve their performance.

2. Schedule a Specific Time to Conduct the Review

You don’t want to catch an employee off-guard with an impromptu performance review, and you don’t want them to think that their 90-day review isn’t important. Schedule time in a private setting to give your full attention to a one-on-one meeting.

3. Write a One-Page Performance Review

Prior to the meeting, complete a one-page review that lets the employee know how they are performing. Provide specific examples of wins and areas where they need to improve.

4. Go Over the Performance Review and Ask Questions

When you meet with the employee, go over the performance review that you’ve written. Highlight any important callouts, such as constructive criticism. After going through the full review, you can ask employees prepared questions to further gauge how they are feeling in their role.

5. Follow Up

This is the final meeting in the 30/60/90-day review cycle, but that doesn’t mean you don’t stay in contact with how they are doing. Make sure to follow up and check in with employees to see if the feedback from your 90-day review helped them better acclimate to the position or if there are any new problems that come about.

Other Tips

When preparing your 90-day review and the questions that will be a part of your meeting, consider the following tips.

  • Gather feedback from supervisors and co-workers to write your performance review. If there are other employees who work more closely with the individual you are reviewing, ask them for feedback to better inform your performance review.
  • Give constructive criticism and provide ways that employees can improve in areas they are struggling. If an employee is struggling, don’t just highlight the areas they are underperforming. Provide concrete ways to work on their skills and improve.
  • Provide questions before the meeting so the employee can prepare thoughtful answers. Give the employee a chance to prepare their responses to your questions so you can get the most out of your review.

15 Questions to Ask During a 90-Day Review

There are several different areas you want to assess in your 90-day review. The following types of questions are good examples to use when preparing your 90-day review outline.

Questions About Onboarding

These questions address the onboarding process and give you a better idea of what components are working and areas where you can improve your process.

  • How would you grade us in terms of our extended onboarding program, and what suggestions would you make to strengthen it? This question will give you a high-level assessment of your onboarding process and let the employee know you value their input into improving the program.
  • What was the most (and least) helpful part of the onboarding process? Identifying what areas were most helpful to the employee can help you incorporate similar methods into your process to make it even better.
  • What future training would you be interested in? Not only can you identify areas that may need to be expanded in your current onboarding program, you also gauge what areas the employee is interested in learning more about.

Question About the Position

Asking questions specific to the position is the best way to figure out what areas an individual is struggling in and what parts of the job they feel most comfortable with.

  • How has the role lived up to your expectations? This question can help gauge whether you accurately described the role in your job description.
  • What do you like about the position? What do you dislike? You will learn about an employee’s preferences through this question, and their answers may provide insight into what components of a job need to be restructured or improved.
  • How would you rate your job performance thus far? This question helps you understand the employee’s self-awareness, and can help address areas where they feel that they are struggling.
  • How do you feel about your decision to work here? While an employee is unlikely to say they are unhappy with their decision to work for you, their initial response to the question can help you gauge how they are truly feeling about the position.

Questions About The Team

Digging into the team dynamic and how an employee feels about their teammates can help you assess the cultural fit and how you can make the experience better for them.

  • Which co-workers have been most helpful since you arrived? This question helps you identify valuable employees who you can potentially recruit as mentors in the future.
  • When you have questions about your work, who do you talk to? Do you feel comfortable asking? Use this question to assess the work dynamic and who the employee feels most comfortable with on their team.
  • What difficulties have you experienced working with supervisors, co-workers or customers? How can we help? If there is a specific instance that you called out in your performance review, this is a good time to address it. Otherwise, this opens up the floor to the employee to share any instances where they experienced difficulties with their team.
  • How do you feel your ideas are valued by your teammates? An employee who feels valued is likely to remain with the company. This question assesses how the employee is feeling in relation to their value to the team and organization.

Questions About Goals

By the 90-day review, you want the employee to be thinking about their long-term goals. The following questions can help employees assess the status of their short-term goals and set longer-term goals.

  • How clearly do you understand what’s expected out of you? This question addresses whether the employee understands what they’re expected to achieve.
  • What areas do you want to improve in order to achieve your goals? Digging into self-assessment abilities, the employee can identify areas that they feel they need to work on in order to better perform their job and move up in the company.
  • Where would you like to see yourself in the long-term with the company? Not only does this get the employee thinking about their role with the company, but opening a conversation about long-term goals will likely make the employee feel valued and improve retention.

Questions You’ve Asked Us About 90 Day Reviews

How can I improve our 90-day reviews?
You can improve your 90-day reviews by asking for employee feedback on them through surveys and/or conversation. Use employee feedback to tailor your 90-day review template and create a more effective process.
Does every employee need a 90-day review?
Not every employee is required to complete a 90-day review. However, conducting a 90-day review with all employees ensures that you are touching base and gauging how all new hires are acclimating to the company and their role.
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