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Navigating Employee Probation Period

20 Mar
by Suzie Business Owner & Senior HRBP

The probation period is a cornerstone of the onboarding process and it should be a smooth transition for laying a solid foundation for a successful employment journey.

Here are the steps to follow to ensure a smooth transition.

  1. Establish Clear Expectations: At the onset of the probation period, define expectations and key performance indicators (KPIs) clearly. Communicate these to the employee to ensure they understand what is expected of them in their role.
  2. Continuous Feedback: Throughout the probation period, provide regular check-in discussions to monitor the employee’s performance. Offer constructive feedback to help them understand their strengths and areas needing improvement.
  3. Identify Development Needs: If any development areas are identified during the probation period, offer support and additional training to help the employee improve in those areas. This demonstrates a commitment to their growth and success within the organisation.
  4. Assessment at Completion: As the probation period nears its end, evaluate whether the employee has met the criteria for satisfactory performance. Determine if they have successfully passed their probation or if further development is needed.
  5. Extension Consideration: In cases where additional development is required, consider extending the probation period to allow the employee more time to improve with proper support and training. This extension should be communicated clearly to the employee along with the reasons for it.
  6. Avoid Drifting Deadlines: Plan ahead to ensure the probation period does not extend beyond the contractual end date. Allowing the probation period to drift beyond this point could inadvertently result in the employee being considered as having passed their probation automatically, triggering the application of normal employment terms.

Handling Employee Probation Results:

Employee Passed Probation:

  1. Confirmation Notification: If the employee successfully passes the probation period or if an extension is granted, promptly send confirmation to the employee acknowledging their status.
  2. Salary Review: If a salary review was agreed upon following successful probation, inform HR of the new salary and its effective date for updating internal systems and payroll processing.
  3. Setting Post-Probation Expectations: Establish clear expectations, including Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), for the employee’s performance now that they have passed their probation.

Employee Failed Probation:

  1. Termination Discussion: If the employee fails to pass their probation, have a candid discussion with them about their termination of employment as per the terms and conditions outlined in their contract.
  2. Notification to HR: Inform HR of the termination decision so they can initiate the necessary processes, including preparing the leaver letter and notifying payroll.
  3. Leaver Letter Issuance: HR will prepare the leaver letter, which you’ll need to sign and issue to the employee. Ensure to return a signed copy to HR for record-keeping.

Employee’s Last Day:

  1. Collecting Company Property: On the employee’s last day, ensure to collect any company property, such as badges, keys, laptops, etc., from them.
  2. Disabling IT Access: Notify the relevant IT personnel to disable the employee’s access to the company’s systems promptly upon their departure.

By following these steps, Line Managers can effectively manage the outcomes of employee probation, whether they pass or fail, while ensuring smooth transition processes are in place.

On How To HR we have a line managers guide, a useful Probation form to fill in to support the process, PLUS letter templates to support the different outcomes.

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