Managers & Supervisors

Managing Probationary Employees

As part of the selection and hiring process, most career employees are considered probationary employees for their first six months of university employment. This six month timeframe allows you time to assess whether the new employees' skills, performance, and reliability fit their position and merit continuation of university employment.  (The length of the probationary period should have been communicated to the employee during the hiring process by the Employment recruiter. If you are uncertain about the employee’s probationary status, please contact Employment.)

You are encouraged to make full use of the probationary period to assess the employees fit for the particular position as well as overall University employment. Once an employee completes probation, he/she becomes a career employee and is not subject to probation again unless a break in service occurs.

General Recommendations

On the first day of employment, you should meet with the probationary employee to clearly explain your expectations for performance, attendance and conduct. We encourage you to take the following steps during the probationary employment period:

  • Review the applicable University policy or collective bargaining agreement for the employee’s position.
  • Review the job description for the position along with your expectations and standards of performance.
  • Discuss any particular department expectations or guidelines for:
    • Reporting to work in a regular and timely manner
    • Scheduled breaks or lunch periods
    • Reporting sick leave use and other absences
    • Appropriate conduct
    • Following specific health & safety rules
  • Give probationary employees ongoing feedback on a frequent and regular basis.
  • Review completed tasks, projects and assignments as soon as possible and provide feedback if any changes or improvements are needed.

Performance Evaluations During Probationary Period

In most cases, probationary employees should receive at least one written performance evaluation during the probationary period. Please consult the applicable University Policy or collective bargaining agreement that covers the job title for more information about these requirements. More information about the general performance evaluation process is available in the Performance Evaluation section in the left menu.

Probationary Release

Probationary employees are at-will and may be released, with or without cause, during probation. Employees being released or extended during the probationary period must receive written notification, pursuant to the requirements of the applicable University policy or collective bargaining agreement.
You must consult with Employee & Labor Relations prior to making any final decisions regarding releasing an employee during probation. A decision to release a probationary employee from employment requires advance review and approval of Employee & Labor Relations prior to communicating the decision to the employee. You are encouraged to contact Employee & Labor Relations as soon as you begin thinking about releasing a probationary employee period but should contact us no later than two weeks before the end of the probationary period.

Probationary Period Extension

In some case, you may wish to extend the employees probation by an additional three months. Probationary employees must be advised, in writing, of the reasons for the extension before the probationary period ends. A decision to extend probation requires review and approval by Employee & Labor Relations before the decision is made and communicated to the employee.

You are encouraged to contact Employee & Labor Relations as soon as you begin thinking about extending an employee’s probationary period but should contact us no later than two weeks before the end of the probationary period.

Completion of Probationary Period

At the conclusion of the probationary period, you should give the employee written notification of the successful completion of the probationary period using the Probationary Period Report Form. The employee should receive a copy of the completed Probationary Period Report form. The original form should be filed in the employee’s departmental personnel file. (Human Resources does not retain a copy centrally.) Typically, new employees should also receive a written performance review at the conclusion of the probationary period.


When the information presented on this web page or elsewhere on this site is in conflict with University policies, procedures or applicable collective bargaining agreements, the terms of those University policies, procedures and agreements shall govern.