Probation Review Meeting Guides

Download the probation review meeting bundle, an essential resource for HR professionals and managers to conduct effective and fair probationary meetings.

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What's included

Probation review meeting guides overview

Our probation review meeting guides provide a structured framework for communicating the probation results with new hires at the end of the probationary period.

Our probation meeting bundle includes:

  • Review meeting guide for successful candidates: Acknowledge and review the accomplishments of employees who have successfully completed their probation period
  • Review meeting guide for unsuccessful candidates with probation extension: Address performance issues and outline a plan for extending the probation period to provide additional support and improvement opportunities
  • Review meeting guide for unsuccessful candidates with termination: Respectfully and clearly communicate the decision to terminate employment due to insufficient performance during the probation period
  • Outcome-specific meeting agendas: Ensure consistent, respectful, and effective communication during these critical meetings
  • Instructions for managers: Ensure that managers are ready to conduct effective, respectful, and fair meetings, regardless of the probation outcomes
  • Allocated space for documentation: Document everything that was discussed during the meeting, such as the next steps (goals, milestones, check-in dates) as well as employee feedback


How to use these probation review meeting guides

Follow these steps and ensure that your probation review meetings are thorough, respectful, and aligned with organizational goals and policies: 

  • Prepare thoroughly for the meeting: Review the employee’s job description, responsibilities, initial performance expectations, and feedback; consult with human resources to ensure compliance with all company policies and legal requirements; and prepare all necessary documentation and resources for the meeting
  • Use the relevant agenda during the meeting: Use the relevant agenda to guide the conversation through each key topic, ensuring all critical aspects are covered—the three variations of probation meeting agendas will ensure you can adequately address each employee case for successful or unsuccessful probations
  • Conduct the meeting: Use the suggested questions as a starting point to encourage honest and constructive conversation, listen attentively to the employee’s responses, and take notes for future reference
  • Discuss next steps: Clearly outline the next steps based on the outcome of the review; for successful completions, share constructive feedback, discuss career goals, professional development opportunities, and any additional support the employee might need; for probation extensions, clarify the terms of the extension, set clear expectations and metrics to evaluate the employee’s progress, and outline an improvement plan; for termination, explain the decision respectfully, ensuring the employee has a clear understanding of what went wrong, and discuss the termination process, including the final work day and return of company property
  • Engage the employee: Engage the employee in the conversation, making sure they feel heard and supported; allow them to share their views and feelings about their role, experiences, onboarding process, support from their line manager, etc.
  • Ensure documentation is complete: Complete all required paperwork promptly and accurately, document the key points discussed, decisions made, and any feedback received from the employee in the allocated fields within the template, and ensure that all relevant forms, including termination paperwork if applicable, are correctly filled out and filed
  • Schedule follow-ups: Establish a timeline for follow-up meetings and performance reviews to monitor progress, provide ongoing support, and set dates for future check-ins to ensure the employee remains on track and receives the necessary guidance and resources


FAQs

What is the probation review discussion?

The probation review discussion is a meeting between the employee and their line manager or supervisor to evaluate the employee’s performance and conduct during the probationary period. It provides an opportunity to discuss strengths and areas for improvement and determine the next steps regarding the employee’s employment status.

How do you prepare for a probationary review meeting?

To prepare for a probation review meeting, gather feedback and documentation related to the employee’s performance, review any relevant policies or procedures, set clear objectives, and anticipate questions or concerns that may arise during the discussion.

Fill in a performance review form with all the relevant information to refer to during the meeting.

How do you conduct a performance review meeting?

To conduct a performance review meeting effectively, prepare an agenda in advance, provide specific feedback on performance, encourage open communication, actively listen to the employee’s perspective, discuss goals and expectations, and document the meeting’s outcomes for future reference.

What tools can facilitate probation review meetings?

Effective probation review meetings require organization, clarity, and proper documentation. Here are several tools that can facilitate these meetings and enhance their effectiveness:

  • Project management tools: Use a tool like Trello for organizing tasks, tracking progress, and collaborating on meeting preparation
  • Documentation and note-taking tools: Use Google Docs for capturing meeting notes, tracking feedback, and sharing them with relevant stakeholders
  • Performance management software: Use integrated HR software like Deel Engage to manage performance reviews, goals, and feedback and set new role expectations
  • Meeting scheduling and video conferencing tools: Use Microsoft Teams to schedule and conduct virtual probation review meetings with video conferencing and screen-sharing capabilities
  • Employee feedback and survey tools: Use Deel Engage to create and distribute surveys to gather feedback from employees about their probation experience
  • Digital signature tools: Use DocuSign to securely sign and manage electronic documents, including performance review forms and termination paperwork
  • PDF templates: Create fillable PDF forms for feedback and evaluations that can be easily distributed and completed

What happens at the end of the probation period?

At the end of the probation period, three outcomes are possible:

  1. Successful completion: If the employee has met or exceeded performance expectations, they are usually confirmed in their position as a regular employee and can start planning for growth within the organization (e.g., through mentoring, career development plans, etc.)
  2. Extension of probation: If the employee shows potential but hasn’t fully met expectations, the company may extend the probation period to allow additional training and time for improvement
  3. Termination: If the employee has not met the required standards, the employment may be terminated. It is vital to communicate this decision clearly, along with any available support and resources, and the end date of the contract of employment

A formal review meeting typically takes place to discuss the employee’s performance and the next steps (e.g., goal-setting and specific timelines when extending the trial period).

Can you terminate an employee during a probation period?

Yes; companies can terminate an employee during the probation period. Probation periods are typically designed to allow both the employer and the employee to assess their suitability for the role and company culture. 

If the employee does not meet the performance expectations or other criteria set during probation, the employer has the right to terminate the employment.

It’s vital to follow the process outlined in the employment contract and ensure compliance with local labor laws and company policies.

How long are most probation periods?

The length of probation periods can vary depending on the organization, industry, and specific role. However, probation periods typically range from three months to six months, with some companies extending probation for up to one year for certain positions.

How much notice do you give in the probation period?

The notice period during probation typically depends on the terms outlined in the employment contract or company policy and country-specific labor regulations.  

It is common for notice periods to be shorter during probation, ranging from immediate notice to one or two weeks. However, it’s essential to consult the specific terms of the employment agreement and any applicable labor laws in your jurisdiction to determine the appropriate notice period.

How do you explain not passing probation?

When you explain to an employee that they did not pass their probation, you should handle the conversation with care, clarity, and respect. 

Here is a suggested approach:

  1. Preparation: Ensure you have documented evidence of performance issues and specific examples
  2. Private meeting: Schedule a private meeting to discuss the decision and next steps
  3. Clear explanation of the purpose of probation: Start by summarizing the purpose of the probation period and the performance expectations set at the beginning
  4. Performance review: Provide specific examples of the employee’s performance not meeting the required standards
  5. Decision: Clearly state that a decision has been made to end their employment at the end of the probation period
  6. Support and feedback: Acknowledge the effort made by the employee and provide constructive feedback
  7. Next steps: Explain the following steps, including the final work day, any notice period, and the return of company property
  8. Feedback from the employee: Collect feedback from the employee; even if their employment contract ends, they can still provide valuable insights into the work environment, performance expectations, teamwork, etc. 

Example: “After reviewing your performance during the probation period, we have determined that you have not met the performance expectations required for this role. We appreciate the effort you have put in, but specific areas, such as [example], have not shown the necessary improvement. As a result, we have decided not to continue your employment beyond the probation period. Your final workday will be [date], and we will provide you with support resources to assist with your transition.”