What Are Probation Periods Good For?

What Are Probation Periods Good For?

  • Date: Monday 21st January 2019
  • PDF: Download

More employers now opt for probation-free employment – here’s a list of the pros and cons:


  • You can make it clear that employment is technically fixed-term until the employee has passed their probation. This means that underperforming individuals can be dismissed at the end of this period, without having to go through a potentially lengthy process.

  • New starters are encouraged to engage with their managers in terms of flagging any training or additional support needs. This not only puts onus on the employee to self-manage but also encourages communication during those first precious weeks.

  • Managers are being given the opportunity to check in more regularly by attending review meetings (usually after 1 and 3 months, sometimes again at 6 months). Close monitoring can flag up any issues early on, be this on the performance or wellbeing front.


  • All too often, employees are promised regular reviews, which are then not undertaken. If you don’t hold these review meetings and decide to simply dismiss at the end of the probationary period, you may be in breach of contract.

  • In terms of engagement, there is nothing more frustrating than being left waiting. As long as employees are on probation, they know that there is no commitment from their employer – so why should they fully engage with the organisation?

  • Employees on probation are still entitled to the same employment rights as everyone else. So, if your policy states that performance issues will in the first instance be addressed informally, you are obliged to do so. This effectively means that there is no real difference between somebody who has under two years of service (unable to claim unfair dismissal, unless it is automatically unfair) and somebody who is on probation.

Source: Manuela Grossmann, SSG

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