How Do I Carry Out an Effective Probation Review?

A good probation process is an essential part of any company's onboarding process. Here are the key steps to get the best outcome for you and your new employee.

If you get it right you can set expectations with your new employee early on, and begin to establish a regular feedback pattern. 

Setting Expectations

At the start of the probationary period, you should discuss the following points. It's helpful to document these in writing, so you can review them at a later date. 

  • What you expect the employee to achieve in their job during the probationary period - are there any specific objectives? 
  • How your organisation operates - any specific company rules?
  • Performance standards (e.g. adherence to internal systems / processes, timekeeping, etc)
  • Any training or development required to help the employee to do their job?
  • How you're going to manage the probationary period and when review meetings will take place


    You may want to carry out a review meeting before the probationary period ends. It's helpful to get feedback from your employee: to see how they think they are getting on and if there are any 'niggles' to iron out. Of course, this is also a chance for you to raise any concerns you may have in the first few weeks. 

    Having a structured framework for the conversation is a good way to keep the meeting on track, and allows both of you to think about key questions in advance. 

    Making a Final Decision 

    At the end of the probationary period, you have three options:

    1. Everything's going well - you are happy to confirm the employee in the role permanently. Great news - now is the time to think about the objectives for the next 6 months. 
    2. You'd like some further time before making a final decision - maybe the employee hasn't achieved all the objectives you'd hoped for or your business situation may be uncertain. You have the option to extend the probationary period if necessary. 
    3. It's not working out -  you may be unhappy with how the employee is performing; if it's a new role, perhaps it's not having the impact you'd hoped for; or the business situation may have changed. 

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