What Is The Purpose Of A Probationary Review?

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The purpose of probationary periods is to allow both the employee and the manager to assess whether the role is suited to the new recruit and the new recruit is suited to the Company. It gives a chance for any potential problems to be addressed immediately, giving the employee the chance to improve their performance or behaviour. If probationary periods are managed effectively they should ensure that an employee who is not suited to the role will not be retained and any problems will not escalate.

An effective probationary period should be structured in a way that allows regular feedback to the employee about how they are getting on, as well as addressing any issues when they arise. Suitable support, guidance and any training, need to be provided to allow the employee to achieve the objectives set out for them at the beginning of their probation such as the job outputs expected to be achieved by the end of the period. Planned meetings should be integrated into the probationary period and are a chance for the employee to explain how they are getting on, and for the manager to feedback on an employee’s performance and areas for improvement. As a point of future reference, notes should be taken during the meetings. Be careful about how you note down any comments as the employee has the right to look at notes made, and sign them to say they agree with any training arrangements etc.

Types of questions to ask

Questions to be answered by the employee in their probation period
  • How is the employee settling in?
  • Are they clear about their duties and responsibilities?
  • List any tasks that the employee is having difficulties with.
  • Comments about general performance.
Type of things that the probationer’s line manager should comment on
  • How the employee has settled in, in terms of attitude, personal qualities etc
  • Do you believe the employee is clear about their job requirements?
  • Does the employee communicate effectively with other colleagues?
  • How efficient is the employee in carrying out their work responsibilities.
  • What responsibilities is the employee finding difficult, and what needs to be done to help this, i.e. training needs?
  • Overall assessment of the employee’s ability.

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