Many employers have an introductory period that gives new employees an opportunity to adjust to a new workplace, become accustomed to job duties and responsibilities, and develop interpersonal relationships with supervisors and co-workers. According to DePaul University's human resources department review process: "The introductory period serves as an extended selection process assessing the staff member, their skills and fit with the requirements of the job. Ongoing discussions concerning the job tasks, expectations and performance should occur throughout this introductory period." As a supervisor, it's likely you will conduct a performance review upon completion of your new employee's first 90 days on the job.
Meet with your employee a couple of weeks prior to the 90-day performance review. Remind him that you'll be evaluating his performance, and tell him to bring to the appraisal meeting any questions or concerns he has about his duties, responsibilities or the workplace. Don't refer to the introductory period as a "probationary" period. Human resources experts advise supervisors and managers to refrain from using this term; it's contradictory to the at-will employment doctrine because it implies that the employee cannot be terminated after completing the first 90 days of employment.
Review the employee's personnel file to reacquaint yourself with his job description and expectations. Search the employment file for prior feedback, and ensure that all employment forms have been completed and signed.
For the introductory review, invite the employee to your office or another setting that affords privacy. Allow him enough time to be seated and get comfortable. Many employees find the performance review meeting an intimidating experience, particularly during the first review. Dun & Bradstreet suggests several ways to overcome awkwardness, such as: "Lead with the positive. It’s important to reaffirm the employee’s strengths at the beginning of the review." This is a good way to begin a performance review, especially if you are going to provide feedback for improvement.
State the purpose of the 90-day review and describe the review process to the employee. Explain that supervisors and managers typically conduct 90-day reviews to ensure that employees are comfortable in the roles for which they were hired. Begin the discussion with a review of the employment file. If there are any forms the employee must sign or verify, obtain his signature and acknowledgement of having read them. Review the workplace policies in the employee handbook, and ask the employee if he has any general questions about the workplace or his role.
Provide feedback on the employee's performance to date, and, If necessary, discuss suggestions for improvement or development. Tell the employee you will list the performance standards expected for each job duty. Entertain questions about the job. Ask the employee if the role for which he was hired meets his expectations -- there should be two-way feedback during the introductory review. If the employee is experiencing any difficulties with adjusting to the new job or new work environment, ask what you can do to help.
Show your appreciation for the employee's time and his interest in joining the company. Reassure him that you are available whenever he wants feedback or has further questions about his job or the organization.
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