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New Hire Performance Evaluation: The Most Important Performance Review of the Year

Your first performance review at a new job can be slightly alarming. Even more alarming when you are approaching your one-year anniversary with the company and don’t really know what to expect. As companies modernize their performance management practices, HR professionals are finding ways to turn performance reviews into a tool instead of a chore. Enter the new hire performance review, a key fundamental to healthy performance management.   

Why evaluate new hires?

Many companies set a ramp time for a new hire to complete onboarding, training, and to take full ownership of their role. Following up that training period with a simple performance review seems like an obvious and logical choice, but the “how” is just as important as the “when.” Let’s examine what we want to achieve with constructive performance reviews:

Defining what a new hire review is/is not

It is not a test that a new employee must pass to be retained at the company. When a performance evaluation takes on the form of a test, you may find that employees are on their best behavior leading up to an evaluation and then let standards fall after receiving a passing grade. If this reminds you of college midterm exams, you are not alone!

Rather, let’s reframe our purpose: to turn the new hire performance review into a mission-critical part of the employee’s onboarding and training process.

What are we evaluating?

Let’s start simple. You may find that the best way to look at a new hire is through measuring soft skills and company culture fit rather than the job-specific skills that will be evaluated later in the regularly scheduled review (annual, bi-annual, etc).

Tip: start by looking at the employee’s job description, as likely, these soft skills have already been laid out.

Future performance reviews & laying the groundwork

At Reviewsnap, we have observed an increased level of employee engagement in the performance review process when the employee has a voice in the content. Setting and tracking goals with an employee is a great way to unleash their entrepreneurial spirit by allowing them to decide what training and achievement initiatives they will focus on for the coming year. For a smooth introduction to goal setting, discuss goals your employee can strive to complete by year-end during the new hire evaluation process.

Long-term benefits of new hire evaluations

Let’s explore the benefits of evaluating new hires:

  • Let your employees get to know your company’s performance management platform and culture. This is an early opportunity to establish that performance reviews are first and foremost a tool for identifying training opportunities.
  • Demonstrate that you’re investing in their success!
  • Identify and start any extra training your new hire will need to exceed expectations in their new role!

A new hire performance evaluation helps the employee settle into their role and do great work from the start.