Employees are an investment: the efforts around recruiting, interviewing, and the hiring process, training sessions, and onboarding are costly and time-consuming. It's crucial to ensure this investment has been worthwhile—that's why checking in with new employees is key.

How soon should managers check-in when new hires are still getting a lay of the land? It's better not wait too long to make sure they're settling in comfortably to their new role. Now is your opportunity to solve any potential issues early on rather than leave them unaddressed. Enter: the first 30-day review.

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What’s a 30 day review, and why is it important?

A 30-day review is a performance review between a manager and a new hire to assess if the employee's performance after their first 30 days in their new role is satisfactory. This evaluation review is a great way to gain insight into what's going well and identify what needs improvement. It's also an opportunity to gauge how new employees feel about their new job.

These meetings help managers support new hires in their role and set the groundwork to build long-term employee engagement.

One of the best ways managers can approach these sessions with new employees is by asking questions during their one-on-one. Asking questions is an effective strategy for leading the conversation, while giving the other person the space to talk. That's why we've rounded up the best questions managers can ask their new hires after 30 days on the job.

1. How are you? How has your week been?

Asking a basic open-ended question before getting into the meat of the review can make the experience feel a lot more human, and can help the new employee feel more at ease. It can be tempting to dive straight into discussing performance and quotas, but it's important to remember that employees are humans first.

96% of employees feel it's important for employers to show empathy, yet an astonishing 92% feel this is undervalued in the workplace.


2. What’s going well so far?

Start the conversation the right way: on a positive note. Asking the new employee about what's going well will set the tone for the rest of the meeting. Initiating a dialogue about positives reinforces engagement and commitment for the rest of the review session. This is also an opportunity for managers to gain more insight as to what the new employee has been working on, so they have stuff to refer to in the rest of the meeting.

Follow-up questions about what's going well:

  • What do you like most about your new role so far?
  • What are some highlights you’ve experienced since starting with us?
  • Which of your strengths do you feel shines the most in your new role?

3. How is the new job and our company lining up to your initial expectations?

It's normal for new employees to not have a full and detailed picture of the reality of their new role before they actually start it. Managing expectations is a big part of the hiring, training, and onboarding process. Checking in on how the reality lines up makes sure questions or concerns can be cleared up early on. And this makes new hires feel supported, not misguided by false expectations.

Follow-up questions about expectations:

  • How are things similar to what you thought they might be?
  • How are things different from what you thought they might be?
  • Have there been any surprises since you started your new role?

4. Are there any challenges you’re currently facing?

Asking about challenges a new employee is facing gives managers the opportunity to identify issues and help correct them. This discussion should be productive—it's less about focusing on what the employee is doing wrong, and more about finding opportunities to improve, support, or redirect their efforts. Constructive criticism and making negative feedback applicable to the future is key.

Follow-up questions about challenges:

  • Is there anything about your role or responsibilities you don’t understand?
  • Do you have adequate time to do your work? Is there too much or little on your plate?
  • Do you feel you have the tools you need to do your job well?
  • Is there any information, skills or additional training you feel you’re missing?
  • Is there anything I can do to help you overcome these challenges?

5. How do you feel within our company?

The goal here is to ensure the new employee feels like a real part of the organization. If they don't understand how they fit into the company ecosystem, they'll have a hard time understanding (and appreciating) their own value. Onboarding is a critical time for building employee engagement and subsequent performance later down the road, and a clear role in the bigger picture supports that.

Follow-up questions about company culture:

  • How do you feel about our company culture?
  • Do you understand your role within our company? Do you feel you have a place?
  • Is our company mission clear? How do you understand your role as part of that mission?
  • Do you have any suggestions for how our company as a whole can improve?

6. How do you feel within your team?

New employees greatly rely on their team members to show them the ropes. It's important that they feel welcomed, supported, and that they're bringing value. Plus, strong workplace relationships impact everything from collaboration to team dynamics and achieving collective goals.

Follow-up questions about the team:

  • Do you feel welcomed by the team?
  • How do you understand your role within your team?
  • Do you feel you belong?
  • Do you have the right level of support, from me and others?

7. Do you feel you’ve reached your 30-day goals?

It's important to compare your assessment of a new employee with their own self-assessment. Maybe they're not focusing on the right things, or maybe they're too harsh on themselves. Try to get them to go into detail about this topic to better understand their mindset and how they understand their role and goals. This question is an opportunity to provide feedback in the right places.

Follow-up questions about goal progress:

  • What things do you feel have gone the best?
  • What has been helpful for that?
  • Where do you feel things could have gone better?
  • Have there been blockers?
  • How can you apply what you've learned going forward?

8. What are the goals you want to set for the next 30 days?

An onboarding plan usually includes a 30-day, 60-day, and 90-day review. Once you've established what to keep doing and what to improve, it's important to align on where the new employee goes from here. Together, set some new goals for them to focus on and ensure they are equipped to achieve them. Showing employees that they'll have a clear path forward from the time of their onboarding supports their long-term retention.

Follow-up questions about setting goals:

  • What do you think you need to achieve these goals?
  • How can I or anyone else help you achieve these goals?
  • Are there any concerns or issues you anticipate?

9. Do you feel this new role provides you with a good work-life balance?

In 2021, no company can bypass providing a healthy professional environment and work-life balance for employees. And there's something to gain from it: workplace flexibility boosts productivity and employee morale, leading to stronger outcomes and company success. If new employees feel like they don't have that, something's wrong and it needs to be addressed ASAP.

Follow-up questions about work-life balance:

  • Do you feel stressed at the end of the day?
  • Are you able to mentally clock out?
  • Do you feel you have sufficient time to enjoy your evenings and weekends?
  • Is there anything you think could be adapted for better work-life balance?

10. Do you have anything you want to share?

It's important to give a platform for your new employees to express themselves, too. After all, every one-on-one conversation with your team members should be a two-way dialogue. There might be things they want to bring up or questions they want to ask, but they haven't found the right opportunity yet. Your goal here is to listen.

1-on-1 meetings allow for an honest conversation

Some employees might be shy, or simply not sure how to bring up a subject in front of others out of fear of being judged. One-on-one meeting sessions like 30-day reviews provide a safe, private space to exchange feedback, ask questions, raise concerns, and touch base.

Ready? Schedule your next 30-day review now!

Establishing strong employee engagement occurs throughout a new employee's onboarding journey—and a 30-day review is a crucial part of that. Consistent touch bases during the onboarding experience ensure better employee satisfaction in the long run.

Now that you're equipped with the right questions to have an effective 30-day review session, plan it and book it in the calendar with Workleap Onboarding, a complete employee onboarding software.

Equip HR and managers with tools to engage, recognize, and drive performance.