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Managing Probationary Periods

Managing Probationary Periods

There is nothing in law that requires employers to use probationary periods, they are however commonly used when a new employee joins a company, and are a useful way of assessing performance in a given time frame.
An employees’ statutory rights in regard to employment law are not affected by probationary periods.* However, employers can provide different contractual rights during the probationary period, such as withholding certain benefits. It is important to remember that the probationary period works both ways and allows both you and the employee to walk away at any point during that time. This means that as an employer you will need to reflect on your hiring choices and put things right if you have made a mistake.
Whichever recruitment strategy you use it has probably cost you time and money so to give your new employee the best chance to pass their probation there are a number of things you can do.
• Firstly, provide the employee with a clear job description.
• Provide an overview of your business practices and procedures.
• Schedule training that will help the employee reach any requirements you have set.
• Explain the evaluation methods you will use.
• Ensure they are aware of absence, timekeeping, sickness and disciplinary procedures and don’t forget the small details such as accepted behaviour and etiquette in the workplace environment such as dress code and social media policy.

Your new employee will be evaluating you, so ensure your induction process is as good as it can be
Set up a weekly or monthly meeting where you can both highlight areas that are causing concern. Offer guidance and keep criticism constructive, offering solutions. Ask other employees to feedback on their performance. Don’t be afraid to adjust your requirements, further training could help those struggling to attain tasks and offer challenges to those completing tasks with ease.
It’s important to spot a hiring mistake as quickly as possible and act on it. Firstly ask yourself if you have set requirements too high? Have external factors, such as lack of training, equipment, affected their performance? Have you allowed the employee time to learn all the procedures, is pressure from management affecting your evaluation of the employee?
Could they possibly be the right person for your organisation but in the wrong job? We know the costs of hiring so before you cut things short and begin another lengthy process think about your business and see if they would be suitable elsewhere within the organisation.
Your new employee will be evaluating you, so ensure your induction process is as good as it can be, make sure they understand where they fit in and make them feel welcomed and valued.

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