Getting The Best From Probationary Periods

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Probationary periods are the start of the relationship between the employer and employee. Investing time into an employee’s probationary period will help determine if the employee is the right person for the role. Probationary periods also allow the employee to ensure that they have received the right training, adapt to their role within the company, demonstrate that they are performing satisfactorily and carrying out the role as required. Some key areas to consider:-
  • Carry out a detailed induction to ensure the employee has been given enough information and tools about their role and the company.
  • Provide greater guidance and assistance to the new employee during the probationary period.
  • Hold regular review meetings with the employee on how they are progressing and ensure you are clear on areas of concern/improvement. Don’t wait until the end of the probationary period to tell them this.
  • If you have identified areas of concern, ensure these are highlighted and give them a reasonable period of time to improve.
  • Make a note of meetings and confirm the details to the employee.
  • If the employee is absent for a length of time during the probationary period, then extend the time taking into account the length of absence.
  • If you are not 100% sure, then as long you have a contractual right to extend the probationary period, use this period to make a firm decision.
Remember final probationary review meetings must take place before the probationary period expires, otherwise it will be deemed to have been passed.

Although employees with less than two years continuous service do not have the usual unfair dismissal rights, employers must ensure that the reason for ending the employment is not related to any matter that is automatically unfair.

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