Here at the Co-op, we want to make sure that when you join us, you’re given every opportunity to succeed in your role. This means providing you with support in the early weeks so you know how you’re doing, and any questions or concerns can be sorted out quickly. So, everyone who joins the Co-op will have a probationary period. This includes colleagues on fixed-term and temporary contracts.

Crucial bits

Purpose of probationary period

We know it can be a little daunting starting in a new role with a new organisation. So, at the Co-op, probationary periods are all about helping you to settle in and find your feet.

As a new colleague, a probationary period gives you the chance to get a good understanding of your role and what’s expected of you - and to make sure you get the training and support you need to do your job well.

It also gives your manager a way to assess how you’re doing so they can help you get up to speed in the role.

Length of probationary period

The length of a probationary period varies between business areas but is usually either 13 weeks or six months. For colleagues in Insurance the provisions of this policy will apply during the first 9 months of your employment. Your manager will confirm the length of your probationary period when you start, or you can look at your Principle Statement of Terms and Conditions. If you need a copy of this, contact HR Services.

Feedback and support

Your manager will give you feedback regularly throughout your probationary period, so you know what’s going well and if there are any areas where you might need some more training and support. Talk to your manager about how things are going for you and tell them if there’s anything you’re not clear about or you need more support with.

Formal reviews

As well as getting ongoing feedback, you’ll have some formal review meetings with your manager during your probationary period. These are an opportunity for you and your manager to talk about your progress in the role and to make sure you’re both happy with the way things are going. There’s more information about reviews in the Probationary Period Review Process. If you’re not sure when your reviews will be taking place, ask your manager.


As it says in the Absence Policy, we operate a system of absence triggers. For colleagues within their probationary period, the trigger is two absences within this period. This means that if you have two periods of absence while in your probationary period, we’ll arrange a meeting with you to discuss your absence.


If we have any concerns about your conduct during your probationary period, we’ll address these within the Probationary Period Review Process. Just so it’s clear, we’ll use the same definition for gross misconduct that’s within the Co-op Disciplinary Policy.

End of probationary period

At the end of your probationary period, we hope you and your manager will feel that you’ve fitted in well and have got to grips with your new role. If all has gone well, your manager will give you a letter to confirm that you’ve successfully completed your probationary period.

But if things are not working out or you’re finding that the role and/or the Co-op aren’t right for you, we’ll talk about what happens next. Again, there’s more information about the end of probationary periods in the Probationary Period Review Process.

Things to think about


We want you to settle in and get to know the Co-op as quickly as possible - so everyone who joins us will have an induction within their probationary period.

Arrangements for induction vary across different parts of the Co-op – your manager will talk to you about the plans for your induction into the Co-op, the business/function and location you work in, your team and your role.

Induction here at the Co-op isn’t just about attending a one-day or half-day event. There’ll be a range of different materials and experiences available to help you become familiar with us and our ways of working.

Training/development periods or programmes

Just so you’re aware, some roles and businesses have specific training/development periods or programmes for new starters which need to be successfully completed as well as the probationary period. Your manager will tell you if this applies to you and explain how it fits in with your probationary period review process.

Performance management

During your probationary period your manager will agree a number of goals with you as part of the Co-op’s performance management process. You’ll start working towards these goals within your probationary period. But if a yearly or half-yearly review falls within your first three months, it may be too early for them to make a fair assessment of your performance so you might not get a performance rating.

You can find our Colleague Guide to Performance Management here.

If you have any questions about probationary periods, please speak to your manager. Managers should read the Co-op Probationary Period Review Process for details of the review process that should be followed and then contact ER Services if they need further advice.