The College is committed to developing and supporting staff to work effectively to meet the objectives of their roles. The College has policies, procedures and processes in place with the aim of supporting these goals.  Line managers are best placed to offer one-to-one support and guidance to new staff in meeting these objectives and developing new skills.  The probation period is used to support and evaluate a new member of staff’s performance with a view to confirming them in post.

Staff subject to the College’s Probation procedure will normally have a probationary period of six months. The College treats equality of opportunity seriously and has an equality framework to ensure equality of opportunity.  Implementation of the Porbation procedure must be clear and transparent and not subject to any unfair discriminatory practices by line managers.


The procedures governing the probationary periods of academic staff are separately prescribed, please view Ordinance D14 and/or the Procedure for managing Lecturers' probation as applicable.

Temporary COVID update to policy

Temporary COVID update to policy

The Probation policy has been updated to include temporary changes for line managers and staff to refer to during their probation review. The guidance covers instances where furlough periods may have to be extended solely due to COVID-19 related reasons, as well as how incremental progression will be handled in these circumstances. There is also further guidance on how to approach formal review meetings in these new circumstances.

The below table sets out the key elements of the updated guidance to the Probation policy:

 
 Details
For staff who are on the Job Retention Scheme  
  • The probation should still be managed according to the guidelines in the policy, however depending on the nature of the role, furloughed staff members may have their probation date extended for up to three months.
  • The extension length will depend on the period of furlough
For staff who are not on the Job Retention Scheme  
  • If staff have been unable to carry out their normal duties remotely, and therefore their line managers have not been able to assess their work, then their probation may be extended for up to three months.
  • This will only be applicable for COVID-19 related reasons only (and will not cover concerns on performance issues).
How will incremental progression work?
  • If your probation has been extended as a result of the two scenarios above (and not for reasons relating to performance or other concerns), your incremental salary progression will be backdated to the original date you would have completed your probation (pre-COVID)
Formal review meetings
  • Formal review meetings and investigations will continue to take place remotely via electronic means including Microsoft Teams, Conference calls and Skype for Business.
  • Meetings will not be recorded a note taker will be present to transcribe the notes (the same setting which would take place in a physical environment)
Further guidance
  • Further guidance on resources can be found in the policy.
 
Summary of the table's contents

Staff Guidance

How will I be supported as I start my new role?

Your manager should:
a) Explain the key responsibilities/duties of your post and discuss what training and support you may require during your first few months i.e. specialist training on Imperial College's Information System (ICIS), health & safety, managing people, etc.
b) Take you through your induction programme and agree when regular 1-2-1 meetings will happen, e.g. fortnightly, monthly, etc. and identify other key meetings you need to attend.
c) If you will be supervising or managing staff they will explain Imperial Expectations to you.
d) They should introduce you to your ‘mentor/buddy’ if applicable.

What happens during my probationary period?

Your manager will meet with you regularly for you to update them on work, for them to give you feedback / advice and for you both to continue to identify any support or training required.

How is my performance reviewed?

Your manager will:
a) Carry out your first formal review mid-way through your probation period and a final review before the end of the probation period.
b) Ask you to sign the Mid and Final Probation Review form to confirm that your probationary period has been discussed with you.

If your manager does not undertake these reviews, you will be automatically confirmed in post at the end of your probation period.

What happens at the end of my probationary period?

Probation periods are automatically confirmed as successful at the end of the period unless Human Resources are advised to the contrary via the returned Probation Review form.

What happens if my manager is not happy with how I am doing my job?

a) You may be invited to a formal Probation Review Meeting to discuss the concerns with your performance or behaviour.
b) You will be given at least five working days’ notice of the meeting and provided with all relevant paperwork in advance of the meeting.
c) You may bring a work colleague or Trades Union representative; HR will also be present. 
d) At the meeting your manager will explain their concerns and you will be given the opportunity to respond to these and share any factors that may be contributing to this.

They will then decide if you should be:

  • Confirmed in post
  • Your probation extended
  • Your employment terminated

Should your manager decide to terminate your employment, you can appeal against this decision.

Managers' Guidance

What can I do to prepare before a new member of staff joins my team?

a) Compile material for their induction.  You should plan a thorough induction programme that ensures they meet all key contacts within their first weeks of employment.
b) If appropriate, provide a list of important contacts and information about their new team/project in advance of joining College.
c) Ensure that their working area and any equipment they will require is ready for their first day.

What should I do when they first arrive?

As part of the new member of staff’s induction, you should:
a) Explain the key responsibilities/duties for their post and discuss what training and support they require during their first few months e.g. specialist training on ICIS, health & safety, managing people, etc.
b) Agree when regular 1-2-1 meetings will happen e.g. fortnightly, monthly, etc. and identify other key meetings they need to attend.
c) If they will have responsibility for supervising or managing staff it is important to explain Imperial Expectations to them.
d) You may wish to nominate a member of your team to act as a ‘mentor/buddy’ to welcome and help the new employee settle into their new working environment and understand how the College works.
e) If appropriate, organise an informal team meeting or tea/coffee get together so that they are able to start to get to know the individuals they will be working with.

What should I do during the probation period?

a) Meet regularly with your new member of staff to build a relationship with them and to allow them to update you on work, for you to give them feedback / advice and for you both to continue to identify any support or training required.
b) Ensure that compulsory or agreed voluntary courses have been undertaken.  According to their role, compulsory courses may vary, however all staff should undertake the following training:

How and when do I undertake formal probation reviews?

a) The first formal review should be carried out mid-way through the probation period and a final review before the end of the probation period.
b) The Mid and Final Probation Review form will guide you on the areas you should monitor and act as a record of your discussion with the member of staff.
c)The completed form should be returned to the HR Staff Hub via the HR Portal.

If you do not undertake these reviews, the member of staff will be automatically confirmed in post at the end of their probation period.

My member of staff is underperforming / unable to do the job - what should I do?

If you have been concerned during the probation period and the issues are such that they may result in extending the probationary period or ending the member of staff’s employment, then please contact the HR Staff Hub who will explain the non-confirmation procedure.  It is not necessary to wait for the expiry of the probation period to start the procedure.

How do I request that probation is confirmed?

Probation periods are automatically confirmed as successful at the end of the period unless Human Resources are advised to the contrary via the returned Probation Review form.

What does the non-confirmation procedure involve?

a) The member of staff will be invited to a formal Probation Review Meeting to discuss the concerns with their performance or behaviour.
b) Your member of staff must be given at least five working days’ notice of the meeting and provided with all relevant paperwork in advance of the meeting.
c) They may bring a work colleague or Trades Union representative, HR will also be present. 
d) At the meeting you will explain the concerns you have, what training and support you advise or have put in place to address these concerns and give them the opportunity to discuss these with you and share any factors that may be contributing to this.  You will then need to decide if you wish to:

  • Confirm them in post
  • Extend their probation
  • Terminate their employment

Should you decide to terminate their employment, they can appeal against this decision.

Accessible documents

Some of the downloadable documents linked to on this page are not accessible. For accessible versions, please contact hrpolicy@imperial.ac.uk.