The Introductory Period

Establishing the Performance Plan

All new regular staff members are subject to the Introductory Period, which consists of the first four months of employment at the University (the introductory period for internal-Penn transfers is 90 days). This period is used to determine if the performance meets the expectations of the position, and if continued employment is warranted. New staff members are informed of the existence and length of the introductory period at the time the offer of employment is made via the offer letter.

Within the first week of employment the supervisor will:

  • provide the staff member with a copy of their position description;
  • establish written performance expectations for goals and responsibilities that the staff member will be evaluated on via the online Introductory Performance Plan module on the Performance Management database (Instructions for completing a plan using the standard form are here and using a custom document are here);
  • meet with the new staff member to discuss the position responsibilities, performance expectations, policies and procedures, and the review process during the Introductory Period;
  • ensure that the staff member understands what the performance expectations are and ask them to electronically sign the Performance Plan indicating their understanding;
  • provide the staff member with the resources necessary to execute the responsibilities of their position. 

Throughout the introductory period review process, the supervisor will:

  • meet with the staff member regularly to discuss their performance and provide constructive feedback as to whether expectations for the position are being met;
  • determine if the staff member needs additional training and, if necessary, provide the staff member with a plan for improvement; 
  • determine if the introductory period should be extended to allow for additional monitoring of performance; 
  • determine whether the staff member meets the required performance expectations for continued employment.

During the Introductory Period

The Introductory Period Performance Plan creates an opportunity for discussion between the supervisor and the staff member, and helps the supervisor structure conversations about performance, improvement, and/or additional training needs. During the introductory period the supervisor and staff member will have ongoing discussions with the new staff member about their performance, and monitor whether the staff member is meeting the established goals and expectations for the position.

Any concerns about performance or the ability of the new staff member to meet the outlined goals and expectations will be addressed before the expiration of the introductory period. 

During the introductory period staff members do not accrue paid time off (vacation). However, upon completion of the introductory period, paid time off will be credited retroactively to the initial date of employment and will be available for the staff member's use.

Staff do accrue sick time during the introductory period (one day per completed month of service), and are permitted to use accrued sick days if illness prevents them from reporting to work during the introductory period. The use of sick time during the introductory period is subject to the general sick time usage policies.

Extension of the Introductory Period

If a new staff member is not meeting the required performance expectations of the position within the first four months of hire, the Introductory Period may be extended one time, by a period not to exceed eight months. The staff member will be informed of the extension prior to the expiration of the original introductory period, and a letter will be issued outlining the extended time period and areas that need improvement.

Completion of the Introductory Period

As the end of the introductory period approaches, the supervisor will complete the remainder of the performance plan and, based on the performance results achieved, select the definition that best describes the staff member's overall performance. Once completed, the appraisal will be electronically routed to the staff member for their comments and signature. Supervisors will then meet with the staff member to discuss the appraisal and identify and review goals for the future.

Termination During the Introductory Period

At any time during the Introductory Period, a staff member may be terminated from employment with the University of Pennsylvania. The staff member will be notified in writing of the effective date of termination. Termination during the introductory period is not subject to the guidelines of the University's termination policy or the Staff Grievance Procedure. Read more about Penn's Introductory Period.

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