The 30-Day Review: Key to Successful Employee Onboarding

manager and employee in their 30 Day Review interview

In this detailed article, we'll take a closer look at the 30-day review process and its role in evaluating new hire performance while enhancing their job satisfaction, engagement and laying the groundwork for a motivated workforce.

What is a 30-day employee review?

A 30-day review is a type of performance review conducted at the end of an employee's first month on the job. It's an essential part of the employee onboarding process that helps both the employer and the new employee assess how well the initial settling-in period is progressing. The objectives of this review include:

  • Evaluation of employee performance: The 30-day review provides a structured way to assess how the new hire is adapting to their job roles and the overall company environment. This early feedback process is crucial as it allows managers to gauge the employee's performance and determine if the job description was well understood and met.

  • Alignment with company culture: This review helps new employees understand the organizational culture and dynamics, ensuring they feel part of the team. It’s a chance to reinforce the values and expectations of the company, making sure that the new employee feels aligned with the team dynamics and company policies.

  • Identification of training and development needs: Through the review process, managers can identify any gaps in skills or knowledge and arrange additional training sessions. This not only helps in making necessary adjustments to training programs but also ensures that employees have the support they need to succeed.

Why is a 30-day review so important?

A 30-day review is crucial for several reasons, particularly in how it supports both the employer and the new employee during the crucial initial stages of employment. Here's why it's so important:

Early problem identification and resolution:

Conducting a review at the 30-day mark allows for early identification of any problems or challenges that the new employee may be facing. Whether it's a misunderstanding of job responsibilities, difficulties with company culture, or gaps in necessary skills, addressing these issues early can prevent them from becoming more significant problems later on.

Feedback and communication:

This review serves as a formal opportunity for open dialogue between the new employee and management. It allows the employee to express how they feel about their new role, what challenges they've encountered, and any support they might need.

From the company’s perspective, it's a chance to provide specific feedback on the employee's performance and integration into the team, fostering a culture of open communication and continuous improvement.

Adjustment of expectations:

Both the employer and the employee come into a new job with expectations. The 30-day review helps align these expectations with reality. It allows both parties to adjust any misconceptions and set realistic, clear goals moving forward, ensuring that everyone is on the same page.

Employee engagement and satisfaction:

By actively engaging with new hires through a 30-day review, companies demonstrate their commitment to employee well-being and professional growth.

This engagement helps increase job satisfaction and can significantly impact employee retention rates. When employees feel heard and see that their feedback leads to tangible changes, their commitment to the organization deepens.

Improvement of onboarding processes:

Feedback from 30-day reviews can provide critical insights into the effectiveness of the current onboarding process. Organizations can use this information to continually refine their onboarding practices, making them more effective for future new hires.

This ensures that the onboarding process evolves to meet the changing needs of the workforce and the organization.

Foundation for future performance:

The 30-day review sets the groundwork for future performance reviews and the ongoing development of the employee.

It establishes early performance benchmarks and helps the new hire understand the metrics by which their performance will be judged. This clarity helps motivate employees to improve and excel in their roles.

Key components of the 30-day review process

The 30-day review process typically involves several key components to ensure it is effective and beneficial:

  • Preparation: Prior to the review, managers should gather specific feedback from various team members and prepare an overview of the employee's performance.

  • Feedback meeting: Often held in a conference room or a quiet space, this meeting should facilitate open dialogue, providing constructive criticism and actionable feedback.

  • Documentation: All feedback and plans for further development should be documented. This includes summarizing the performance review and outlining the next steps for the employee.

  • Follow-up: Setting up follow-up meetings or check-ins to review the progress on any agreed actions or development plans.

The role of the 30-day review in setting expectations and performance benchmarks cannot be overstated. It serves as a foundational step for relationship building between the new employee and management, ensuring that the employee understands what is expected of them and what they need to focus on moving forward.

This entire process is crucial for effective onboarding, fostering employee satisfaction, and reducing employee turnover by addressing issues early on.

How to prepare for the 30-day review?

Preparing effectively for the 30-day review is crucial for both HR and the new employee to ensure that the evaluation process meets the intended goals.

This preparation is an integral part of the onboarding experience, aimed at fostering employee engagement and helping employees feel they are a valuable part of the company.

Here are the steps to effectively prepare for a 30-day review:

1. Set clear performance expectations:

Clearly outline what is expected from the new hire in their new role, including specific goals and objectives. This should be part of the onboarding checklist provided at the start of the employment.

The new employee should review the performance expectations and any other documentation received during the onboarding process to ensure they understand what is expected from them. Regular check-ins with their supervisor can also help clarify any doubts about their responsibilities or the company's expectations.

2. Encourage open communication:

Establish a feedback-friendly environment where new hires feel comfortable discussing their experiences and challenges faced in the new position. This openness helps in adjusting the onboarding programs as needed to better suit the employee's needs and ensure a good work-life balance.

The new employee should be proactive in seeking feedback and expressing any concerns they have about their new role or the challenges they are facing. This open line of communication is vital for addressing issues early on and integrating smoothly into the company.

3. Review progress regularly:

Implement performance tracking systems that allow for monitoring the new hire’s progress throughout their initial phase at the organization. This data helps in providing specific feedback during the day reviews.

Engage actively with any assessments or review formats provided. Being involved and responsive to feedback indicates a commitment to growth and adaptation within the organization.

Tools and resources needed for a successful review

To ensure a successful 30-day review, several tools and resources are essential:

  • Performance tracking systems: These systems help in continuously assessing the new hire's performance against the set benchmarks. It’s important for both HR and the new employee to have access to this system for a transparent review process.

  • Feedback forms: Structured feedback forms can guide the review discussions and ensure that all relevant aspects of the employee’s performance and integration into the company are covered. These forms should encourage specific feedback and include sections for comments on areas where the employee has excelled and aspects where improvements are needed.

Conducting the 30 day review

Conducting a 30 day review is a pivotal moment for both the employer and the new employee, as it reflects on the initial achievements and challenges while setting the stage for future success in the organization. Here is a detailed 5-step guide on how to conduct a 30 day review meeting:

  • Step 1. Schedule and plan the review: Ensure the review is scheduled at a time that suits both the reviewer and the new employee, ideally in a quiet, private setting like a conference room. Provide the employee with an agenda beforehand so they know what to expect and can prepare accordingly. This planning shows that the company values the employee’s time and contributes to them feeling welcomed.

  • Step 2. Begin with positive feedback: Start the meeting with positive notes on what the employee has done well. Highlight specific achievements and strengths they’ve displayed. This positive start helps in enhancing the employee's well-being and makes them more receptive to constructive feedback that may follow.

  • Step 3. Review goals and performance: Discuss the goals that were set during the onboarding process and evaluate how well they have been met from both the company’s and the employee’s perspectives. This is the core of the employee reviews, where you assess if the initial expectations and performance benchmarks have been achieved.

  • Step 4. Discuss challenges and concerns: Invite the employee to share any challenges they have faced, providing them a platform to express concerns from their perspective. This discussion can reveal valuable insights into areas where the company might improve its onboarding process or support mechanisms. It emphasizes a holistic approach, focusing on the overall well-being of the employee.

  • Step 5. Set future objectives and support: Conclude the review by setting goals for the next review period. Discuss any support the employee will need to achieve these goals, such as additional training or resources. Ensure that these future objectives are clear and mutually agreed upon, reinforcing that the company is committed to the employee’s growth and success.

12 must-ask questions in 30-day employee review

assessment interview

The 30-day review is a critical opportunity to gather insights about new hires, assess their integration into the company, and address any immediate concerns. To make the most of this meeting, it’s essential to ask targeted, practical questions that elicit useful responses and foster open communication.

Here are 12 must-ask questions for your 30-day employee review:

1. How do you feel about your integration into the team so far?

This question helps assess the employee's comfort level and sense of belonging within the team.

2. Are there any aspects of your job role that are not clear to you?

Clarifies any misunderstandings regarding job responsibilities and duties.

3. What challenges have you encountered, and how have you addressed them?

Provides insights into the employee's problem-solving skills and areas where they might need support.

4. Have you received sufficient training to perform your job effectively?

Assesses the adequacy of the training sessions and identifies areas needing additional training.

5. Is there anything about the company culture you find difficult to adapt to?

Highlights potential cultural misalignments that could impact employee engagement and satisfaction.

6. Can you provide examples of feedback you’ve received from your colleagues?

Encourages discussion about team dynamics and the employee's interaction with peers.

7. How do you see your role evolving in the company?

Gathers the employee's expectations and aspirations, helping align their career path with company goals.

8. What support do you need from management to succeed in your role?

Identifies specific resources or support the employee requires to be more effective in their position.

9. What aspects of your job do you enjoy the most and the least?

Helps understand what motivates the employee and any potential job dissatisfaction factors.

10. Do you feel that the work you’re doing aligns with your initial expectations of the job?

Checks if the job description was accurate and met the employee's expectations.

11. Are there any company policies you find challenging to understand or follow?

Uncovers any confusion or issues with company policies that could affect the employee's performance.

12. How can we improve your onboarding experience for future new hires?

Offers insights into the onboarding process effectiveness from the new employee's perspective and highlights areas for improvement.

These questions are designed to open up a constructive dialogue that benefits both the employee and the organization, ensuring that the initial stages of employment are as productive and positive as possible.

Actionable insights from the 30 day review

The 30 day review is not just a checkpoint; it's a valuable source of data that can drive meaningful changes and improvements in both the employee's career and the company's onboarding process.

Extracting actionable insights from this review ensures that both the company and the employee are set up for success. How to derive actionable insights from the 30 day review?

Analyze feedback for common themes:

Begin by collating all feedback received during the review, including notes on performance, integration, and any challenges faced by the new hire. Look for patterns or recurring issues that may indicate broader systemic problems or areas for improvement.

For example, if multiple new hires report feeling unprepared for a specific part of their job, this might suggest a gap in the training sessions provided.

Set specific, measurable goals:

Based on the feedback, set clear and measurable goals for the new employee. These should be directly linked to the insights gained during the review.

For instance, if the employee feels uncertain about certain job responsibilities, a goal could be to have them shadow a more experienced colleague or to schedule additional training sessions. Goals should be realistic, time-bound, and agreed upon by both the manager and the employee.

Develop a follow-up plan:

Actionable insights require follow-through. Develop a plan that outlines how and when the set goals should be revisited. This might include scheduled check-ins or the use of performance tracking systems to monitor progress.

Ensure that the employee knows who they can turn to for support and that they feel encouraged to provide ongoing feedback.

Adjust onboarding materials and processes:

Use the insights gained to refine the onboarding process for future hires. If new employees consistently encounter similar challenges, consider revising the onboarding checklist or enhancing the onboarding experience to address these issues.

This could involve updating training materials, reevaluating the introductory training sessions, or even altering the sequence of the onboarding events to better suit the needs of the new hires.

Document changes and outcomes:

Keeping a record of the insights and changes made following each 30 day review can help track the effectiveness of your interventions over time. Documentation also helps in standardizing successful practices and ensuring consistent application across the organization.

Evaluate the impact on employee engagement and retention:

Over time, evaluate how changes made from these reviews impact employee engagement and retention rates. This will not only help in measuring the success of the interventions but also highlight areas for ongoing improvement.

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The 30-day review is a fundamental component of the onboarding process, offering a pivotal opportunity for both the employer and the new employee to ensure a successful start. Early evaluation not only facilitates open communication and feedback but also helps align expectations, address any immediate issues, and reinforce the company's commitment to employee success and satisfaction.

By effectively implementing and continuously refining the 30-day review process, organizations can significantly enhance employee engagement, retention, and overall performance, setting the stage for a productive and mutually beneficial relationship.

Topic: HRM
Rinaily Bonifacio

Written by:

Rinaily Bonifacio

Rinaily is a renowned expert in the field of human resources with years of industry experience. With a passion for writing high-quality HR content, Rinaily brings a unique perspective to the challenges and opportunities of the modern workplace. As an experienced HR professional and content writer, She has contributed to leading publications in the field of HR.


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