Integrating employee onboarding and performance management

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min read
August 24, 2023
January 18, 2024
Making a new starter feel welcome
In this article

First impressions count. Setting a positive, welcoming tone with new employees is crucial. If they feel valued and included from the start, it can shape their whole experience with your organisation. Our new starter and end of probation check-in templates can help you get off on the right foot.

Starting a new job is difficult. Very few experiences produce the same level of nerves or make the heart beat quite so fast. This fear comes from entering the unknown – will I be able to do the job? Will I be able to find my way round? Will my teammates like me? A negative experience in the first few weeks can be hard to recover from. It often sets the tone for an employee’s whole time at an organisation. Making an employee feel welcome and included is crucial.

Research from Robert Half shows just how important this is. It found a staggering nine out of 10 new hires would consider leaving their job in the first month if it failed to meet their expectations and 28% actually do quit within the first 90 days. This has wide-reaching consequences, causing massive disruption within teams and the wider business, wasting valuable time and resources while harming productivity and employee engagement.

Making performance management part of the employee onboarding process

Many elements go into creating a positive onboarding experience for a new hire, such as making sure their equipment is correctly set up and ready, introducing them to the team and key contacts across the business and explaining the organisation’s mission and values. An essential part should also be explaining the organisation’s performance management process including how objectives are set, monitored and reviewed. 

Embedding productive conversations from day one

The most important relationship a new hire will have in any organisation is with their line manager. Frequently it will shape their experience, affecting their view of their role and the organisation and dictate whether they can see themselves building a successful career within the company. According to recent findings the most common reason for employees to leave a job voluntarily was being unhappy with their manager or supervisor.

Supporting line managers to have positive and productive conversations with employees from day one is crucial to make them feel part of the organisation. Research from Gallup in the US found when it comes to employee engagement, managers account for 70% of the difference between a positive and negative experience.

Making a new starter check-in conversation part of the onboarding process, including a framework for line managers to follow, helps to ensure this crucial relationship gets off on the right foot. That’s why in Appraisd, we’ve created check-in templates to help with not only onboarding, but every different situation an employee will encounter during their lifecycle with an employer.

New start onboarding check-in

When should it take place?

A conversation should happen in the first two to four weeks ensuring the new hire has enough time to begin to understand their role but not enough time to get disheartened.

What should it cover?

This should be a friendly chat where the new hire and their manager can get to know each other better. It’s a chance for both to ask questions, particularly the employee, helping them to understand their role and what is expected of them. The manager should use the conversation to establish how much help and support the employee needs.

What considerations should shape the conversation?

While the core of the conversation will remain the same, the focus may vary depending on whether the employee is working remotely/hybrid or based in the workplace and their level of experience. A younger employee with limited experience is likely to need more support than an older, more experienced counterpart.

What should happen next?

While this is an informal chat, it's crucial that any action points are followed up on. If the employee has highlighted any deficiencies in the overall onboarding, this is an excellent chance to feed these back to HR and the wider business to improve the process for future recruits.

In many cases, new hires are given a probationary period, typically lasting between three and six months. To continue a positive dialogue, it makes sense to conduct a check at the end of this period to underline what has gone well and address any issues.

End of probation check-in

When should it take place?

This should happen as soon as possible after the probationary period has been successfully completed.

What should it cover?

This is an opportunity for the line manager and employee to review progress, discuss any training needs, set priorities and agree on the next steps.

What considerations should shape the conversation?

The nature of this conversation will be shaped by how well the probation period has gone. If the new hire has sailed through with flying colours, it’s an opportunity to provide positive feedback and reinforce what they are doing well. If there have been a few hiccups, it’s a chance for an honest and productive conversation about how to address any problems and help the employee to develop in the necessary areas. 

What should happen next?

Once an employee has completed their probation, they should be integrated into the wider performance management process. Together with their line manager, they should agree SMART objectives for the next review period and have regular progress check-ins to discuss how things are going and highlight any concerns.

These two conversations are an effective way to invest time and effort into new hires, showing them they valued, listened to and supported.

Giving managers a helping hand

To make life a little easier for line managers we have created a suite of different check-in templates to support employees through their entire lifecycle with an organisation. As well as templates for new starter and the end of probation check-ins, the set also includes:

  • Career planning check-in
  • Exit interview
  • Hybrid or remote working check-in
  • Objective setting check-in
  • Performance review (end of year/period)
  • Personal development check-in
  • Realignment check-in
  • Regular check-in
  • Stay conversation prompts
  • Wellbeing check-in

New starter check-in templates: Onboarding & End of Probation


Performance Management - surely it’s about people not software?

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