Human Resources

Probation Scheme: The four-stage process


The Probation Scheme at the University of Kent is a four stage process over six months:


Stage 1
First week

You will meet with your manager at various points during your first week at the University, to orientate you into your role and team.

Stage 2
Interim review

Your manager will arrange an interim review to discuss your progress, review any objectives set, agree further ones as needed and discuss development requirements. This should be done before the end of week six.

Stage 3
Interim review

Your manager will arrange an interim review to discuss your progress, review any objectives set, agree further ones as needed, and discuss development requirements. This should be done before the end of month three.

Stage 4
Final review

Your manager will arrange a final review to discuss your progress during probation, sign off on your probation period and set on-going development objectives for your role. This should be done before the end of month six.

In addition to these stages both you and your line manager will have to do some preparatory work prior to commencing your probation and there should still be informal conversations and one-to-ones1 with your line manager after the probation process is completed; these will naturally flow into your annual Reflect, Plan, Develop (RPD) conversation. Further information about the end of your probation process can be found in the Completing Probation guidance.

Early completion of probation

In exceptional circumstances you may be confirmed in post before the end of your six-month probationary period, for example where you are performing at a level over and above what would be expected at this stage of employment.

In these instances managers may confirm you in post at an interim review meeting.

Confirmation in post will be subject to any outstanding actions on the Probation & Induction Schedule still being completed and continued support and throughout what would be left of your probationary period, by your line manager.


Setting the scene: preparing for probation

  1. Prior to commencing your employment with us, you will be sent information about our Probation Scheme. We recommend you read this guidance before you start work.

  2. Your line manager will ensure a structured Probation & Induction Programme is organised prior to your start date; outlining the standards and objectives that will be set in your new role and how you will be orientated into the role over your first few week. Your Probation & Induction Programme may include such things as:

    • orientation into the department, including showing you around the department and introducing the wider University campus

    • time to meet your team and the wider school/department, including one-to-ones with your manager, Director/Head of School or Department and other team members as needed

    • introducing you to your Probation Mentor2

    • meetings with the key stakeholders for your role

    • scheduling time for you to shadow work colleagues as needed

    • time set aside for reading of University-wide, Faculty and department-specific processes, policies and procedures

    • details of any key learning or development opportunities that have been organised for you. For example, time to spend at a PC undertaking the Equality, Diversity & Inclusivity (EDI) and Data Protection e-learning modules, booking you onto relevant Health & Safety courses and any role-specific development felt appropriate

    • dates of your interim and final probationary review meetings, as well as any one-to-ones.

  3. On your first day your line manager will talk you through the probation process and welcome you to your new role, providing you with information they have prepared in advance about the expectations regarding your work performance, conduct and attendance and (if they have not already sent it to you in advance) a copy of your Probation & Induction Programme.

  4. Your manager will talk you through your job description and main duties of the role as required, detailing any key service and performance standards specific to your school/department. This may include:

    • quality and quantity of output expected

    • any skills you will need to acquire during your probationary period

    • protocols that you will need to learn

    • deadlines which will need to be met and how any changes to these will be communicated

    • working relationships you will need to develop with key stakeholders, including other staff and students.

    Your manager will make clear how these standards will be monitored throughout your probationary period and the frequency of your formal review meetings, in line with the Scheme’s guidance.

  5. Your manager will also assign a Probation Mentor to support you during your probationary period. Your mentor will normally be a more experienced member of the team, who can help you settle during your probation, acting as a source of advice and information and as a confidential ear. For more information see Support & development during probation.

  6. You will also be given a Probation & Induction Checklist which details standard information and activities to undertake at the appropriate stages of probation. This should be referred to regularly throughout your probation period and any activities marked as completed once undertaken.

  7. Once you have started in post the Learning & Development team will also write to you to invite you to the next Induction & Information Fair. Further information about the Induction & Information Fair is available by contacting the Learning & Development Team at, extension 7713 or via the Learning & Development website.


2A named member of your team will be briefed to act as a source of advice and guidance during your probation period. For further information, please see Support & development during probation.


Registry, University of Kent, Canterbury, Kent, CT2 7NZ

Enquiries: +44 (0)1227 764000 or contact us

Last Updated: 17/03/2017