Do You Recognize the 3 Parts to a Great 90 Day Performance Review?

90 Performance ReviewWhere is the strangest place you ever received your performance review? What about the bathroom? While I admit that never happened to me, or anyone else I know, it did happen to “Don,” but more on that in a minute.

First though, let me tell you about one of my superstars…Heather.


A few days ago, I met with Heather to do her 90 day performance review. As you can see by her smile, she passed with flying colors. Here are the 3 parts to a great 90 day performance review:

  1. The 90 Day Review is the Really the 13th Review
  2. Identify specific contributions
  3. Review the goals and KPIs


The 90 Day Review is the Really the 13th Review

A performance review is a process, not an event.  If the first time you sit down with someone to review their performance is at the 90 day mark, then congratulations, you just wasted the first 90 days.

The best way to avoid this trap is to set up a weekly one-on-one. I schedule one for each one of my reports and block out 30 minutes for each one. If your goal as a leader is to make your people better, then this is the time to really connect. To really connect with someone, take some time beforehand so you know what ground to cover during the one-on-one.

If you do weekly one-on-ones, the 90 day performance review becomes your 13th review because you’ve already done 12 others.


Identify Specific Contributions

During the review, point out three to five specific contributions she makes to the team. The more specific your examples, the more meaningful the feedback becomes. Take time to relay messages you’ve heard from the other team members so she gets a feel for the breadth of her impact.

If you need to bring up some opportunities for improvement, 90 days is a good time to get them on the table. I like to couch those conversations by telling her two things she’s doing well, then the one opportunity for improvement, and finally one more thing she is doing well.


Review the Goals and KPIs

This is also the key time to solidify the goals she set, as well as her Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). This way, you both know what the definition of success looks like and how to get there.

Now, back to the guy in the bathroom…

According to Rodd Wagner [Twitter link] in 12: The Elements of Great Management [link], “Don” received his performance review later than the company deadline. His boss, in an apparent attempt to make up time, decided to provide great feedback to Don in the men’s room.

Don later wrote, “I happened to be entering the men’s bathroom at the same time as my boss. Standing side-by-side at adjacent urinals, he remarked that he hadn’t had a chance to go over my review with me, but now was as good as time as any. All this was bad enough, and a bit humiliating since we were not alone in there.”

Not surprisingly, Don doesn’t work for that company any more.

Hopefully, though, by treating your people right, you will get your best ones to stay.


Question: How do you go about your 90 day performance reviews?


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James Rogers

James is our digital marketing expert who has worked in the marketing field for over 15 years. When not writing blog posts or newsletters, James is geeking out over all things SEO and SEM. He is a husband and a father of four. In his spare time, he enjoys woodworking, hiking, and hanging out with his family.

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