Staff on probation
Information about Probation.
Purpose of Probation Review
Probation aims to support new employees to realise their full potential; to focus their efforts as direct contributors to the success of the University; and to encourage development into their new role. It involves setting clear expectations and standards regarding the new employee's performance. It is the manager’s responsibility during this period to ensure access to appropriate training, support and guidance so that the employee can settle in to their new role and meet the required standards.
Probation Review Procedure
Throughout a probation period, the manager should ensure that regular informal meetings are held with the new employee, where they should:
- Discuss the employees performance in relation to the required standards
- Raise any concerns in relation to conduct, capability or attendance and agree how these should be addressed
- Give the employee the opportunity to raise any questions they may have about their work or training requirements.
- The People and Money Onboarding checklist task ‘Probation Review Required’ will prompt managers to hold the probation review meeting, the task is triggered after 5 months (for new staff on a 6 month probation period) or 11 months (for new staff with a 12 month probation period). The task contains some guidance, a copy of the probation form for completion as well as email templates to be used when confirming the probation outcome to the employee. An example of the form can be found here, however please use the template provided within the onboarding task when completing a probation review.
Difficulties during Probation
Where difficulties arise managers should identify whether it is appropriate to deal with the issue on an informal basis initially, or if the matter is more serious instigate formal procedures. The probation procedure makes provision for the employee to have a conversation with their manager about where things are going wrong and to be given the chance to improve. Structured support will be provided for the required improvements.
Confirmation of Appointment
If the employee’s performance, conduct and attendance have been assessed as satisfactory by the end of the probation period, the manager should confirm to the employee, in writing, that they have completed their probationary period successfully.
New post but staff member not new to the University
Staff who are in a new post but have already completed a probationary period within the University do not need to complete a further probationary period. If someone has transferred and an Annual Review has to be completed for them, this should be a forward looking review. Managers from the originating department should endeavour to complete an Annual Review before the person transfers to a new department. This would just be the review against objectives. The manager from the new department should liaise with the originating department to check that this Annual Review has been undertaken.
Purpose of Annual Review
Annual Review aims to support employees to realise their full potential; to focus their efforts as direct contributors to the success of the University; and to encourage individual professional and personal development. It involves reviewing every employee's performance and development each year, setting objectives and identifying development needs and opportunities for the future.
Through Annual Review the employee and their manager will:
- Review the employee’s achievements, progress and performance in relation to objectives over the preceding year
- Review the employee’s development over the preceding year
- Identify priorities and objectives for the coming year
- Identify development and support requirements for the coming year
- Identify longer term objectives and development needs, where appropriate.
Guidance on transitioning an employee from Probation to Annual Review
The current annual review guidelines require managers to conduct annual reviews in each 1 August to 31 July period, for those employees in post prior to 1 August. Once a new employee has had their appointment confirmed, the manager should transition them into the annual review process.
The following steps provide guidance on how a manager should transition an employee from the probation review process to the annual review process.
- Provide the employee with written confirmation of appointment following successful completion of their probationary period.
- Meet with the employee to discuss and set objectives and associated development for the forthcoming period to bring them into alignment with the timetable for annual reviews for other staff members in the group and record this as the employees first annual review. Depending on the time-scale managers may wish to schedule in a formal interim review prior to the next annual review.
- If a manager normally conducts annual reviews in November and the employee’s probationary period ends on 31 May, the manager would sign off the probation checklist and then agree objectives and development to cover the remainder of the current annual review year, and the period in the new annual review year up to November when annual reviews normally take place.
- Include any outstanding objectives or development from the probationary period as part of the annual review process, as appropriate.