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How to Deliver a Painless 90-Day Employee Performance Evaluation

January 14, 2020

By: Omnia Group
Last Updated on June 7, 2023

90-Day Employee Performance Evaluations: 9 Tips for Making Them (Relatively) Pain-Free 

Imagine that you’ve just landed a new job. You're thrilled, excited, and ready to dive in headfirst. But as you walk through the door on your first day, you're greeted with confusion, chaos, and a whole lot of unanswered questions. Suddenly, what you considered a dream just yesterday doesn't seem so dreamy anymore. 

This is a common scenario for many new employees who experience a lackluster, or even nonexistent, onboarding process. It’s really the worst time for a company to be unprepared because starting a new job can be nerve-wracking enough without having to navigate unclear expectations, unorganized training, and sparse feedback. It’s a sure way to give your new hire buyer’s remorse and lose them quickly. That’s why an effective onboarding process that includes productive performance evaluations is crucial for both the employee and the employer. 

Onboarding is the foundation of a successful work relationship. It's the time to set expectations, establish rapport, and equip new hires with the tools they need to succeed. Without a solid foundation, the relationship can crumble faster than a stale cookie. 

So, let's take a closer look at why an effective onboarding process is so important and how it can set you and your new hires up for success. 

Why is Honest, Actionable Feedback so Important? 

An essential aspect of an effective onboarding process is providing employees with honest and actionable feedback. Feedback helps employees understand whether they are performing well and provides guidance on how to improve. Despite the fact that 96 percent of employees find regular feedback helpful, a survey revealed that 32 percent of employees must wait over three months to receive feedback from their managers. Ouch!  

However, many managers avoid performance evaluations and feedback because they fear negative reactions from their employees. This apprehension is understandable since critical feedback can cause people to disengage and become defensive. To create a culture that values feedback, deliberate steps must be taken throughout the organization. 

One step is administering an Omnia behavioral assessment. When a manager knows the key traits and motivators of the unique individuals on their team, they can tailor their communications to resonate with each new and tenured team member.  

Of course, reviews of any kind can be an unpleasant experience for both managers and employees. They definitely have a bad rap. However, if executed correctly, performance evaluations can motivate high performance. For new employees approaching their first review after 90 days, the process can be particularly daunting but also particularly important. Therefore, it's crucial to make the review process less intimidating and more manageable — something that will benefit both the employee and the manager. 

What are 5 things that happen when you skip giving your new hires a 90-day review?  

  1. Confusion in the form of unclear expectations

    When things aren’t clear, stuff can go wrong fast. Without a performance review, employees may not truly understand their job responsibilities, performance expectations, and how their work aligns with the company's goals.

  2. Demoralization from a lack of feedback

    We all need to know how we are doing at work. Employees, especially new employees, need feedback to improve their performance and understand how their work impacts the team and the company. Your employees shouldn’t have to request feedback or coaching, and they are likely to feel demoralized if they do have to ask. A formal 90-day evaluation provides your new hire with the security of knowing they will get answers and that the company is committed to their growth and success. 

  3. Missed opportunities for growth

    Performance reviews provide an opportunity to discuss career development and opportunities for growth within the company. Personal and career growth are important motivators for all employees, and you want your new hires to know they can expect to learn and grow with your organization. 

  4. Increased turnover

    Retention is a big deal, and without a review, employees may become disengaged and feel undervalued, leading to increased turnover and recruitment costs for the company.

  5. Legal risks

    In some cases, performance reviews can help protect companies from legal risks. Without documentation of employee performance, companies may face challenges if they need to terminate an employee for performance-related reasons. 

But we’re not here to focus on the negative. Let’s talk about ways to deliver effective 90-day evaluations. 


9 Tips for Delivering a Pain-Free 90-day Employee Performance Review 

  1. Start with a can-do, positive mindset.

    Change your mindset and approach toward giving feedback. Instead of considering it a waste of time, view it as a vital part of employee development and engagement. It is an opportunity to show your employees that you care about their success. When your employees see you approaching this in an optimistic, upbeat way, they will start to see it differently too. 

  2. Set clear goals and expectations.

    If unclear expectations create confusion and chaos, then do the opposite. Define the job responsibilities and performance expectations at the outset so employees know what they are accountable for. Use the job description as a reference point when providing feedback. It will help you keep the conversation focused and objective. Consider using a 90-day review development action plan to help keep you and your new hire on track. After the evaluation, set realistic goals and expectations for the remainder of the year. Check in regularly with your employee to keep track of their progress. Which leads us to…

  3. Offer ongoing feedback.

    Give regular feedback to employees throughout the 90-day period to avoid any surprises during the official review meeting and to set them up for success when the big day arrives. 

    If you’ve done a personality assessment on your team, you’ll have an instant guidebook for exactly how to approach each individual with feedback. Some members of your team might require regular, detailed feedback to feel secure in their role, while others will be happy with something informal or general. Tapping into the communication style of your staff will help you navigate how to give feedback and how to manage conversations. Which takes us to number 4…

  4. Make it a two-way conversation.

    Employee feedback is about having a conversation. Keep this in mind and don't stress yourself out. Focus on the job and performance, not personal qualities. Encourage them to give their input during the evaluation. Ask for their feedback and opinions on their performance and the review process. Listen carefully to their responses and take their feedback into account.

  5. Focus on achievements and address areas for improvement.

    Yes, it’s important to fix what’s not working, but you’ll never do that if you don’t also recognize the positives. Highlight the employee's accomplishments and positive contributions to the team then segway into the specific areas for improvement. Don’t stop there, though; be sure you are also providing guidance on how to get there. Be objective and focus on behavior and performance, not on motivations or personal qualities. Use examples to support your feedback.

  6. Provide growth opportunities.

    No one wants to be stagnant. Well, your A-Players don’t. Be sure to discuss future opportunities for growth and development within the company. Start to craft a career development plan for each employee.  

    This is one of many areas where an employee behavioral assessment can help. Understanding the personality traits and motivators of your employees is a great way to help define career paths. Not everyone wants to be, or should be, a leader. By examining the natural traits of your staff, you might find some people will want to climb the ladder within individual contributor roles while others might have untapped potential for sales or leadership.   

  7. Offer support.

    Be the coach your employees need and provide the resources, tools, and training to help each employee improve their performance.

  8. Be honest.

    Don't be afraid to be honest with your feedback. If the employee is performing well, give them praise. If there are concerns, address them honestly. It's better to be upfront than to wait until the problem becomes unmanageable.

  9. Don't wait until the last minute.

    Prepare for the evaluation bit by bit during those first 90 days. Make notes about positive and negative feedback as you go along. This will help you avoid rushing and avoid stress when the deadline approaches. 

By following these tips, you can deliver a pain-free 90-day employee performance evaluation that sets your employees up for success while promoting a culture of positivity and feedback in your workplace. 


How Can Behavioral Assessments Help? 

Are you using a behavioral assessment to enhance your human resource strategies? From selection and onboarding to performance reviews, career development, and employee engagement, the Omnia Assessment gives employers insights they can use throughout the employee lifecycle.   

Understanding and valuing the unique personalities of each individual on your team is the key to unlocking their full potential and achieving your organization’s goals. When a company uses personality assessments and data in the workplace, they are empowering their employees to gain a deeper understanding of themselves and their colleagues, fostering a culture of empathy, respect, and collaboration. 

Omnia helps companies create a workplace environment where each person's unique talents, strengths, and perspectives are not only acknowledged but celebrated. Our simple yet accurate behavioral assessment provides valuable insights into individual traits, behaviors, and preferences that can help individuals thrive in their roles, build stronger relationships with their coworkers, and ultimately contribute to the success of their organization. 

Through the use of personality assessments, you can build a workplace culture that values authenticity, self-awareness, and personal growth.  

Also Popular: Enhance Workplace Effectiveness through Behavioral Assessments

Omnia Group

For over 30 years, we’ve helped organizations across the world improve and optimize their workforce operations and company cultures. While we take a unique, scientific approach to hiring, development and retention, we also believe every business is a people business. Our passionate advisors always put people first.

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