FAQs on Non-Academic Probation
HOW LONG IS NON-ACADEMIC PROBATION?
- DO INTERNAL APPOINTMENTS RECEIVE A PROBATION PERIOD?
No. This only applies to new appointments to the University or if an employee moves to an academic post.
- WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN AN OBJECTIVE AND AN ACTIVITY/STANDARD/RESPONSIBILITY?
Objectives are outcome focused. They should relate to the requirements of the post and the strategic objectives of the School/Directorate (Grade 6 and above). Activity / Standard / Responsibility relates to general tasks to be obtained relevant to the job role.
- HOW DO I DEVELOP AN APPROPRIATE OBJECTIVE?
By using the SMART acronym:
More information on setting objectives:
- How to set objectives (clickable to pdf doc supplied as per Invision)
- Setting SMART objectives (clickable to pdf doc supplied as per Invision)
- How to write a SMART objective
- WHAT TOOLS ARE AVAILABLE TO SUPPORT THE PROBATIONER THROUGH THEIR PROBATION PERIOD?
Local level induction program; central induction for e.g. researchers, clerical; central booked training; monthly review meetings with management. These should all be scheduled/diarised with the probationer within the first month.
WHAT HAPPENS IF NO OBJECTIVES ARE SET AND THE EMPLOYEE IS NOT PERFORMING?
It is critical that objectives are set for new employees at the start of their probationary period and agreed with employee. Advice is available from HR on managing issues of under-performance.
- WHAT IF A PROBATIONER IS NOT PERFORMING?
The monthly review meetings, in addition to discussing areas of strength and achievement, feedback should also identify any deficiencies in performance and an adequate period of time given to improve. Where deficiencies are discussed, the probationer should be advised of these in writing and of the potential outcome. The line manager should ensure that the information is documented and shared with the probationer.
- HOW LONG CAN A PROBATIONARY PERIOD BE EXTENDED FOR?
Recommendation would be to extend for 3 – 6 months but no longer than 6 months in total. Please speak with the HRBP regarding specific cases for best practice guidance.
- DO YOU HAVE TO WAIT UNTIL THE END OF THE 6 MONTH PROBATIONARY PERIOD TO RECOMMEND NON-CONFIRMATION IN POST?
No. Whilst it is imperative an employee is given the opportunity to develop their skills and reach the standard required to be confirmed in post it is not mandatory the 6-month period is reached before non-confirmation is recommended. Please speak with the HRBP regarding specific cases for best practice guidance.
- WHAT IF THE PROBATIONER DOES NOT ATTEND PROBATIONARY MEETING(S)?
If, without good cause, the probationer does not attend the probationary meeting(s) to set / review objectives and / or sign the completed probationary form, the process will proceed in the probationer’s absence. It is imperative that line managers schedule and conduct all probationary / review meetings to identify any problems (for both parties). A failure to do so will elongate the process and exacerbate problems that could be easily resolved if discussed at the time.