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When and how to conduct new employee performance reviews


Conducting a new employee performance review sets your team up for success in their positions and can greatly reduce turnover.

These early evaluations let employees know you have a vested interest in helping them achieve their goals, which is proven to increase their level of engagement. What’s more, new hire reviews allow you to catch and correct performance deficiencies before they become a detriment to an employee’s job or the organization.

Meaningful new employee performance reviews are the result of two key steps: you conduct the evaluations at the right point in the onboarding process, and you assess the right factors.

On top of that, you understand that what works for you may be unique to your company and may look different from role to role.

When should you conduct a new employee performance review?

It would be easy to draw up a widespread policy (e.g., all new hires are evaluated after their first 60 days on the job.) But a policy like that would ignore the most important factor in choosing the best timing – how long is the learning curve for that position?

Ideally, you should conduct a new employee performance review just as your new hire reaches the end of the expected learning curve. Waiting until that point gives new employees time to get comfortable with their responsibilities and your expectations, whether that takes 30, 60 or 90 days or more.

Because the length of the learning curve could vary drastically depending on the nature of the role, there’s not a one-size-fits-all timing recommendation for new hire reviews. A salesperson may need several months to get comfortable, if your company’s products or services are complex, or just one or two months if they’re more straightforward.

Look back at your experiences managing ideal performers to determine the length of the learning curve for a role. Then, you’ll know you’re giving your new hires the best opportunity to get trained and engaged before you check in on their performance.

What do you measure in a new-hire evaluation?

If you already have a properly working system for performance reviews in place, this part shouldn’t require too much additional work.

It starts with having really well-written job descriptions for each role in your organization. Your job descriptions should outline expected core competencies and the essential functions of the job. Then, you can transfer those same competences into your new hire and regular performance reviews, using them as points of measurement.

For example, say you’ve just hired a salesperson. In your job description, one of the essential functions may be: “uses company CRM system to document sales progress.” At the time of your new hire evaluation, you could then discuss your new salesperson’s progress with adopting your CRM system, giving examples of what they’re doing well and/or how they could improve.

As you review your new hires’ performance, it’s best to act as a coach and mentor. Reinforce good work. Suggest more training to help with any weaknesses. Tie what they’ve done in their first few months back to the reasons you hired them. Most importantly, have a two-way conversation and collect their feedback. For an employee to be engaged, they must be part of the process. They should have suggestions for their own success.

Along the same lines, don’t view the time before a new hire review as probationary nor use the evaluation as a pass-fail test. A new hire review should never be used as a contingency that delays new employees’ access to benefits.

New hire performance reviews give you the opportunity to get valuable reactions to your onboarding process. They may also help you work out small issues early on that could damper employee engagement later.

Find out how Insperity Performance Management can help you administer new hire reviews and improve your entire performance evaluation process.