February 18th, 2015 / Insight posted in

Managing Probation Periods

By Philippa Barnes  So, you’ve hired a new team member and they are coming to the end of their probationary period; but you’re not happy with their performance – what can you do?The probation period, usually the first 3-6 months of employment, is specified in the contract of employment and is the time where employer and employee are assessing each other to see if they “fit” together. Often the notice required to end the employment and access to company benefits are reduced. It is essential that managers make the most of the probationary periods to set the expectations and standards required of the role but also to instil the company culture and values into the new team member. Regular meetings should be arranged to deliver feedback about performance but also to give the opportunity for the employee to raise questions or concerns and to agree training plans.The decision as to whether to pass or extend the probation period or to end employment will depend on the nature of the role, attitude of the employee and ability of the employer to provide adequate support for development; but should not be taken lightly. If performance has not reached the level expected, time should be taken to consider why this is the case and what can be done to rectify the situation. If a manager is unsure of the employee’s suitability for the role, it is important to manage expectations so that the decision to extend probation, or to end employment, does not come as a surprise. Often an extension, with detailed expectations outlined and agreed to between manager and employee, is enough to raise performance to an acceptable level. If a decision is made to terminate before, during or after an extension, make sure to check the contract of employment and make all of the payments for notice and accrued holiday pay and issue the P45. It ‘s worth spending time on managing probation well as the cost of recruitment is not only in the fees associated with advertising and time taken in selection, but also HR and management time spent inducting and training a new recruit.  For more about the costs of recruitment click here: http://bit.ly/1yi9S9k.