Starting at the beginning.  What is probation?

A probation policy / procedure refers to the requirement of a new employee to complete a probationary period or “trial period” for want of a better phrase, during which time their performance and achievements are assessed against company standards for the role.

The policy is intended to allow both the employee and the employer to assess objectively whether or not the employee is suitable for the role.  Commonly a probationary period is 6 months.

At the end of the probationary period:

  • If the employee meets the standards they are confirmed in post. 
  • If they fail to meet the standards they are dismissed (with due process).



  • include a robust probation clause in your employee contract
  • specify a time limit for the probationary period (I recommend six months)
  • have a training plan for the new employee
  • monitor the employee throughout the probationary period (not just at the end)
  • review the employee’s performance at the end of 1st, 3rd and 6th months
  • create a non-contractual probationary policy
  • intervene in underperformance when needed
  • check training has been delivered and completed
  • have a plan for when the employee is failing to meet standards


  • fail to train new employees
  • fail to set appropriate and realistic targets / performance standards
  • fail to check in on employee’s progress regularly
  • fail to address issues in a timely manner
  • ignore the probation date. 

Above all make sure you actually review the employee’s performance BEFORE the end of the probation. 

Your options at the end of probation are:

  1. PASS – employee is confirmed in post as permanent
  2. EXTEND – give the employee an extension (1-3) months to make the required improvements
  3. FAIL – dismiss the employee fairly in line with the “write – meet – appeal” process. 

Did you know that HR Made Easy | The Membership has a whole bundle dedicated to probation including masterclass training, all the templates you will need and so much more! To find out more go CLICK HERE

If this sounds familiar and you are dealing with a tricky probation issue and you want to get a second opinion on what steps you need to take, I’d love to help you via a HR Mentoring call.  You can book one here.

I’d love to help.

Johanna xo

PS. For 2022 I have set myself the challenge of working with 100 small business owners to implement employee contracts in their business. If you want to be one of my 100 stars, then reach out and book a discovery call here.  Or contact me here.

Ways  I can help you right now: 

HRME | Contract Packages

HR Made Easy Membership

HR Mentoring

HR Training


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