Probation forms part of the contract of employment and continuing employment is usually subject to successful completion of probation. It is therefore important that the process is properly managed and that having a probationary period is meaningful for both the organisation and the employee.
It should be made clear when an offer of employment is made that the role is subject to probation, and the length of the probationary period. This should be confirmed in the written offer of employment and outlined in the statement of written particulars of employment. As part of the induction process probation should be discussed and the process explained to the new employee.
It is important for managers to have regular one-to-one meetings with new starters throughout their induction and probationary period. Any concerns which come to light during this time should be raised with the employee immediately, not left for formal meetings.
A formal probation review meeting with the line manager should be arranged between halfway and two thirds of the way through the probationary period. There should also be a meeting at the end of the probationary period.
The outcome of the probationary review meeting should be formally recorded and kept on file. If the organisation is satisfied that the probationary period has been successful this should be conveyed to the individual at the meeting and confirmed in writing. If there are still concerns about suitability for the role, but it is believed that with further time and support these concerns can be addressed, consideration should be given to extending the probationary period. If the employee has not met the required standards of performance, despite the support they have been given or offered during their probationary period, a decision can be taken to terminate the probationary period at this stage and notice given that their employment with the organisation will end. The notice to be given will depend on what was stated in the contract of employment.
Once a new employee has completed their probation, their line manager still needs to maintain focus on their performance and their learning and development. The new employee will by now be capable and competent to carry out the role and it is important that they are set clear objectives at this stage.
If you require support managing employee probationary periods in your organisation contact our CIPD accredited team of HR Consultants today on 01223 855441.