A Managers Guide for Upcoming Probation Reviews

As an employer, it is important to make your probation review meeting count. This blog provides a comprehensive guide for managers on how to conduct a successful probation review. It covers topics such as the purpose of the meeting, understanding the employee’s progress and potential areas for growth, and questions that should be asked during the review process. With this guide in hand, you’ll have all the tools you need to make your upcoming probation reviews successful! 

What is a probation review?  

A probation review is a formalised process for assessing an employee’s performance during their probation period. This meeting between the new employee and their line manager reviews what has gone well and what could be improved, aiming to ensure that the employee is on track to successfully pass their probation period.  

When is the right time to conduct probation reviews?  

A probation review should generally be conducted between three and six months after an employee first starts a new role.  This depends on the length of the employee’s probation period. This allows enough time for the organisation to assess the employee’s performance and determine whether they are suitable for the role. By conducting a probation review, businesses can ensure that they are only employing personnel who have the necessary skills and abilities to do their job effectively. 

Why are probation reviews so important for new starters? 

Probation reviews are a great way to ensure that both employers and new starters are on the same page. From an employer’s perspective, they get a better understanding of their worker’s strengths and weaknesses and can provide constructive feedback. For new starters, probation reviews can be hugely helpful in giving them a direct line of communication with their employer, allowing them to ask questions and feel supported in navigating a new job. These reviews can also help to motivate workers to improve their performance, which is beneficial for everyone involved. 

How an employer should prepare for probation reviews 

A probation review is an important meeting for the employer and employee alike. To ensure it is as successful as possible, the manager should take time to prepare in advance. This may include reviewing the employee’s work prior to the meeting to gain a better understanding of their accomplishments and areas where they need further development. Additionally, speaking with colleagues of the employee can provide valuable feedback on their progress and performance. By taking these steps, employers will be better positioned to have a productive probation review meeting. 

Questions to ask during a probation review. 

  1. Do you feel you have adapted well to your new role?  
  2. How are you getting on with your new colleagues? Are you fitting in well with the team?  
  3. What have you accomplished during your time here?  
  4. Do you have a clear understanding of the job requirements and expectations? 
  5. Has anything negatively impacted your onboarding process?  
  6. Do you require any further training in areas you feel you need to improve?  
  7. Is there anything I can do to support your onboarding to the business?  
  8. Is there anything which has made your job difficult?  
  9. Is there anything you would suggest we change in the company’s onboarding process?  
  10. What would you like to achieve in the next 6 months? 


Top tips on how to conduct a successful end-of-probation meeting 

Provide honest feedback to the new employee. 

Probation review meetings are a great opportunity for both employers and employees to come together to review the initial onboarding of the new employee. Managers should use this as an opportunity to provide honest feedback, good and bad to the employee. Discuss specific examples in areas they need to improve and ensure that your expectations of their performance are clear.  

Give specific examples of the great work they have done. 

After giving your employee honest feedback on the work they have been doing, take this opportunity to cover specific examples of the fantastic work they have been doing. Engage with the employee and make it known that you are impressed with the work they are doing and the impact they are having on your business.  

Explore the problems and solutions the new employee has faced in their probation period.  

Understand from your employee’s point of view how they think their probation period has gone. It is just as important that the employee is invested in their role, passionate about the business and has had a positive onboarding experience within your business. Understand the difficulties they have faced and come up with a plan to overcome this and provide adequate training. Employee experience is essential in retaining employees and having open and honest conversations to ensure the process is seamless and the employee is receiving enough training.  

Take action and agree on a plan moving forward. 

In your meeting, secure a plan to ensure your employee is equipped with further training in areas they need most. Also, make sure your employee understands your expectations of them moving forward. Be clear, and concise and have a clear action plan in place.  

How can Park City support your business with a probation review meeting?  

Not sure where to begin? Park City Consulting is here to support your business’s HR needs. Need support with your upcoming probation reviews? Get in touch with our HR professionals to discover how we can support your business.  


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