Unlocking Success: The Importance of Probation Reviews

Aug 7, 2023 | Onboarding and Probation Reviews

new employee on 1st day


If you are a UK business, you almost certainly have a probation period as part of any new employee contract. But is your probation review process equipped to ensure that probation reviews are completed on time, and do they give appropriate results? In this post, we’re going to take a deep dive into the importance of probation reviews and the process around them.


Understanding The Importance of Probation Reviews

Probation reviews are formal assessments conducted during the probationary period. Typically ranging from three to six months they are used to evaluate the performance and progress of new employees. These reviews differ from regular performance appraisals by focusing on the specific challenges faced by individuals adapting to a new role and organisational culture.

In the UK, probationary periods are not only common practice but also have legal implications. This is because UK employment contracts often have a ‘probation period’ defined. So, while employees in their probationary period may not have worked long enough to qualify for unfair dismissal protection, they are still protected against dismissal for ‘protected reasons’. For example, ethnicity, disability, age, gender and religion.

During that period, probation reviews offer employers an opportunity to monitor a new hire’s suitability for the role. And to assess their ability to meet the organisation’s expectations.

Usually, the probation review process is the only structured process in place where HR, the hiring manager and the new starter “know the rules of engagement”. This, the contractual and legal obligations are why getting your probation review right is super important.


Benefits to the Employee

Probation reviews play an integral role in an employee’s onboarding journey:

  • Constructive Feedback: Probation reviews provide structured onboarding and give valuable feedback. This allows new starters to understand and prepare for their new role and understand their strengths and areas for improvement. All whilst aligning their new objectives with those of the company.
  • Performance Expectations: Through probation reviews, new employees gain clarity on what their role entails. Ensuring they meet expectations effectively and contribute to the overall success of the organisation.
  • Professional Development: Probation reviews often identify training needs, enabling employees to acquire essential skills that enhance their performance, job satisfaction, and employability.
  • Career Advancement: Successful probation reviews can boost employees’ confidence, secure job stability, and open doors for career progression within the organisation.


Benefits to the Organisation

From an organisational standpoint, probation reviews yield remarkable advantages:

  • Fit and Align: Probation reviews help assess the new hire’s compatibility with the company’s culture and values. Ensuring they integrate well with the team and contribute positively to collective growth.
  • Identify Training Needs: Probation reviews uncover specific areas where additional training or support can bridge any skill gaps. Leading to more efficient and effective team members.
  • Mitigate Risks: By identifying performance issues early on, probation reviews allow organisations to proactively address concerns. Reducing the potential negative impact on workflows and team dynamics.
  • Determine Long-Term Fit: Ensure the best possible fit between employees and the organisation during the probation period. Avoid the costly process of replacing unsuitable hires later on.


Best Practices for Conducting Probation Reviews

For effective implementation of probation reviews, consider these best practices:

  • Set Clear Objectives: Establishing clear performance expectations at the beginning of the probation period ensures both employer and employee are on the same page.
  • Regular Feedback: Consistent feedback fosters growth and development. Regularly scheduled check-ins provide an opportunity to address concerns promptly and motivate new starters.
  • Record Keeping: Maintaining detailed records of probation reviews preserves evidence of progress and assists in the decision-making process. This is where a tool like PerformanceHub excels in probation review tracking.
  • Professional Conduct: Conduct probation reviews with fairness, consistency, and professionalism, treating each employee as an individual with unique challenges.
  • Evidence-Based Evaluation: Utilise performance metrics, benchmarks, and objective criteria to ensure evaluations are comprehensive, transparent, and unbiased.
  • Centralised Approach: For larger organisations, implementing a centralised probation review system ensures consistency and optimisation across different departments.
  • Pass/Fail Decision Evidence: If the new hire fails their probation period, you need strong evidence to show why. Probation reviews are where this evidence sits.


Tips for your probation review process

Use software like PerformanceHub

The software will give structure to your probation review process. And if you use PerformanceHub, there are other advantages. When the employee passes probation, all information seamlessly rolls into the regular appraisal cycle the employee will enter into

Using such software will also help you ensure probation reviews are timely and have an appropriate result. Usually, the software will help you analyse and improve your onboarding process too.


Consider interim probation reviews

Think of an interim probation review as a probation period check-in. You can structure these to structure your onboarding process further. For example, the first check-in could concentrate on ensuring the new starter has had the proper introductions and initial objectives. The 2nd check-in could concentrate on the new started having the right access to the tools and training they need for their job.


Train Managers

Make sure that you train managers in the art of onboarding and they realise the importance of probation reviews. Don’t assume they know who to onboard a new employee simply due to the fact they are ‘a manager’.

Managers should ensure they follow the organisation’s process and know the risks related to unfair dismissal and discrimination. These options could include signing off the probation period as successfully completed (passed), extending the probation period, or the employee failing their probation.

PerformanceHub makes this super simple with an option to automatically give managers an objective related to onboarding new starters. Their manager reviews the objective, thereby putting a better focus on effective onboarding.




To wrap up, probation reviews are not merely administrative checkboxes but powerful tools that help the new starter, their manager, HR and the organisation as a whole.

Probation reviews play a crucial role in ensuring the success of new employees and the overall effectiveness of an organisation’s onboarding process. By using PerformanceHub’s probations review features, managers can easily set objectives and assess the progress of new hires, ultimately leading to more successful onboarding experiences.

It is important for managers to follow the organisation’s process and be aware of the risks associated with unfair dismissal and discrimination. By conducting thorough probation reviews, managers can identify areas for improvement and provide the necessary support to help employees succeed in their roles.

Failing a probation period does not necessarily mean that an employee will be fired. It is an opportunity for both the employee and the organisation to address any performance issues and provide additional training or resources. However, if an employee consistently performs poorly during the probation period and fails to meet the required standards, termination may be considered.

To streamline the probation review process and ensure a fair and objective assessment, I highly recommend taking a look at PerformanceHub’s probation review features. These features provide a comprehensive and structured approach to probation reviews, allowing managers to easily track progress, identify areas for improvement, and make informed decisions.


Final Thoughts

Remember, the goal of probation reviews is not to punish or terminate employees, but rather to support their growth and development. By using PerformanceHub’s probation review features, you can create a positive and productive onboarding experience for new hires, setting them up for long-term success within your organisation.

By highlighting the importance of probation reviews, I hope we have made you think about how you do yours.

So why wait? Take action now and explore the benefits of PerformanceHub’s probation review features. Your employees and your organisation will thank you for it.

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