Probation

The probation period is an essential part of the recruitment and selection process setting a defined period of time during which the suitability of employment is assessed by the Line Manager and the employee. 

To contact the probations team please email: probations@tcd.ie.

Information on Probation for Academic Staff click here

Probation for Research, Administrative, Library, Technical, Professional and Support Staff

As probation is a key part of the recruitment process Human Resources, during 2015/16, reviewed the probation arrangements and policy for all staff across the University.  A new policy and process has been developed and the policy was approved at Board in May 2016.    These new arrangements assist managers in ensuring that all new staff are probated appropriately, and assess the staff members’ ability and fit for their role.

Further information on the policy and process are available at the links below:

The Policy and the Managers Guide

The Forms

The Probations Process, Phases and timeline

The Policy

This policy was brought to the Human Resources Committee in April 2016, and was approved at Board in May 2016.   The policy sets out the probation arrangements and eligibility for all staff.  Probations are typically held at month 4 and month 8 of the contract.   This policy clarifies everyone’s role in the process, and the process itself.  It also sets out arrangements where there are performance issue.  

In the policy we have developed a new rating system, and a new form, and a managers guide is available.

The Policy:

Probation Review Policy for Professional, Research, Administrative, Library, Technical and Support Staff of Trinity College Dublin (pdf 751kb)

The Managers Guide:

To assist you in using the policy please see the Managers guide: Managers Probation Guide for Professional, Research, Administrative, Library Technical and Support Staff (pdf 728kb)

Probation Forms

Below is the relevant probation form for Research, Administrative, Library, Technical, Professional and Support Staff.

There is a single form for all of these grades. 

Please note that some sections may not be specifically relevant for all staff.  If it is not relevant please state so in the comments box. If there are sections that are not included please include them under the section entitled Role Specific Goals/Skills.

Probation form for All Research, Administrative, Library, Technical, Professional and Support Staff .doc (doc 177 kb)

Performance Improvement Plan form (doc 19kb)

The Process and Timelines

Automated Notifications

HR now sends out notifications automatically to all managers who have a staff member who is due a probation in the coming month.  These notifications are sent 4 weeks in advance of the probation. As the University have identified probations as a matter of high priority we have developed a reminder, and escalation process which will send reminders to you, and will escalate any outstanding probations to your manager, and then to the Dean/Head of Division if still incomplete.
The document below outlines the timelines in which the Automated Probations  notification are sent.

Automated Probations Process notification timeline (pdf 212kb)

How will this will happen/What will change

  1. The only thing that will change from your end is that the notification will no longer come from a member of the Probations Team, it will be automatically generated from our system.   The email will come from CoreEMS@tcd.ie.
  2. A notification will come in to your inbox as the line manager for the relevant staff member.
  3. There is no need to respond to this email.  If you have a query you should send to probations@tcd.ie
  4. You should proceed and set up the probation review meeting, and fill in the form. When complete please return to HR.
  5. If you have not submitted within the timeline, we will remind you again after one week and we will send you a final reminder after two weeks, after the due date for the review if you have not submitted.   If reports are not complete by that time they are escalated to the Head of Department or School.

Stages of the process

PHASE 1 - Induction and Goal Setting

The Manager sets Goals and Review points for the employee that will be reviewed at the appropriate probation milestones. These goals are a combination of:

  1. Key skills and requirements for the post;
  2. The duties which the employee must perform; objectives/goals and outputs they must achieve/that are measurable;
  3. Identify any training needs;
  4. Standard employee terms and conditions (where appropriate) e.g. attendance, timekeeping, team working, supervisory skills; Communications/Interpersonal Skills; Organisational Skills; Conscientiousness; Flexibility.
  5. For further information on setting goals please see our document Guidelines on Probation review for Non-Academic Staff (pdf 217 kb).

PHASE 2 - At Probation Review 1 – generally at four months

  • step 1 -notification- HR Performance and Review notify the Manager that a review is due.  Notification happens approximately four weeks prior to the due date.
  • step 2 -review- The Manager sets a meeting time with the employee, and gives the appropriate form and goals/review points to the employee for their consideration prior to the meeting.
  • The Manager prepares their view under each of the headings, and at the meeting discusses each point with the employee.   The employee gives their view on each of the points.
  • The Manager, following the meeting, fills in the form and gives to the employee to fill in the Employee’s comment section, and signs off on the form.
  • step 3 -return outcome - the Manager returns the form to HR for filing within six weeks (from notification). If the form is not returned the Review will be escalated to the Senior Manager/Dean (as appropriate). If there are any performance issues the line manager should discuss these with the HR Partner. A Performance Improvement Plan (PIP) must be put in place and should be notified to HR Performance and Review.
  • step 4 -record kept. HR Performance and Review file the form on the personnel record.
  • step 5 - HR Performance and Review record any additional reviews set up.

PHASE 3 - Probation Review 2/Final Review –at month 8

  • The process steps 1-2 for Review 1 are repeated with more emphasis on the achievements, and making a judgement on whether the employee’s performance is of the standard required to be confirmed in appointment, as this is potentially the final review prior to the end of the probation date.
  • step 3 - return outcome with recommendation on one of three options  (1) recommend confirmation in appointment; (2) recommend termination of appointment; (3) recommend extension of probation (as appropriate in line with policy).
  • step 4 - record kept. HR Performance and Review file the form on the personnel record.

PHASE 4 - Final Confirmation – after 1 year is completed

  • The Manager, once the full probation period (1 year) has expired, confirms in writing to the employee (copied to HR Performance and Review) that they have passed their probationary period and are confirmed in post.

Academic Probation

Probationary and Review Procedures for Academic Staff (pdf 225kb)

Academic Probations Process Flow (pdf 356kb)

Roles Head of School and application form flow (pdf 485kb)

Probation Arrangements for Junior Academic Staff (pdf 263kb)

Academic Probation and Performance Review Form (doc 281 kb)