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Removal of Probation Period

Removal of Probation Period

Posted: 21st May 2021

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      Hi – I know this was touched on during the Question Time call earlier this week and I’m interested to hear from anyone whose actually done this and any guidance or tips of how to manage this change.
      I’ve started by looking at the practical considerations we need to think about – i.e. change to contracts and some of our benefits start on completion of probation period so there would be a small financial impact if starting from Day 1….
      Some of our line managers are quite loyal to the current process, which includes a very stale probation review form etc – so what would be the best approach to re-educate them etc…. any advice very welcome! thanks


        This is something I instituted for our UK population about 6 months ago. I felt that it gave a very mixed message to new hires – we put them through multiple interviews, make the decision to hire and tell them how important they are….and then give them a message that says “we’re not sufficiently confident in our decision that you’ll have the Sword of Damocles hanging over you for 6 months”, when the reality is that from a legal perspective a probation period doesn’t give the company any extra protection.

        A number of our managers also liked probation because they felt it made it easier to remove people who didn’t work out – or at least it is an easier message for them to deliver! When we started probing a bit into what lay behind the decisions to terminate, it became clear that often it covered a lack of adeqeuate onboarding, coaching, short term objective setting, check-ins etc etc etc.

        We have taken a couple of parallel approaches:

        1) Reinforce management responsibility for the outcomes – more  focus on thorough selection and interviewing (with interview training too), 1 week/ 1 month/3 month/6 month goals and check-ins. Emphasising the importance of early intervention, use of buddies and so on.

        2) Education  – helping managers to understand that we have all the legal remedies we need anyway. There is no need for probation and all it does is send a strong message of “we don’t 100% trust our own judgement, we don’t 100% trust you, and if either of us have made the wrong decision, you’ll pay the price”.

        Some of our benefits don’t commence day 1 anyway, but the wait period wasn’t aligned to probation so is just an amendement to the onboarding messages and offer letters.

        Happy to chat if that would help


        • This reply was modified 1 year, 10 months ago by .

          Hi Siobhan

          We removed probation periods a year ago for exactly the reasons that Chris talks about above. We also don’t start all benefits from day one but the majority do start on the first day.


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