Probation periods for new employees

11th November 2014

MANAGING STAFF

probationMost companies add a probation period to their contracts of employment, but as an employer do you know what rights you have with regard to probation periods?
We’ve outlined the key information you need to understand to manage employees through their probation and how Staff Squared can help.

What are probation periods?

A probation period is usually added to a contract of employment to ensure that the new staff member is competent and able to complete the role that they have been employed to do. Most probation periods are either 3 or 6 months. Probation lengths can’t be unreasonable, so before you ask, you can’t put an employee on indefinite probation!
If you do have a probation period you must always tell your employees before they join in writing. Ideally you’d simply include it in your offer letter and contract of employment.

Staff Squared will keep track of probation periods for you

It’s important that you don’t just let a probation period lapse without acknowledgment. Employees are automatically taken off of probation at the end of the probation period if you don’t confirm otherwise.
Staff Squared ensures that you never need to remember a probation period. You’ll get an e-mail, dashboard and calendar notification:
probation calendar
You can define how long your probation periods are, and how far ahead you wish to be notified too:
settings for probation perid

It is possible to extend a probation period?

Not sure if your new employee is going to cut the mustard? If you don’t wish to dismiss them your best bet is to extend their probation.
You must ensure that you notify your employee during their probation period. Fortunately we’ve created some handy probation period letter templates that you’re free to use in this situation.
So you’re unsure about whether an employee that’s on probation is going to be able to perform their duties? Well your options are to extend their probation, which needs to be done in writing.
Beware! If you do not extend a probation period then it will be assumed that the employee has satisfactorily completed their probation period.

How do I dismiss an employee while they’re on probation?

Many business owners and managers assume that while an employee is on probation they can be dismissed without recourse. This isn’t entirely true, and so it’s important to make sure that you handle the dismissal fairly and professionally.
You must have a reason for dismissing the employee. Poor attendance, performance or conduct are all acceptable reasons. Rather than waiting until the end of probation to address these issues it’s important that you meet regularly with the employee to discuss and document the issues you’re having.
If during the course of their probation they do not improve, then you need to hold a final meeting where you explain that their performance is not acceptable, and then follow this up in writing to confirm that they have not successfully completed their probation.
Use our probation letter templates to make a head start on any written confirmation you need to send.

Successfully completing a probation period

So you think your new hire is all they said they would be? GREAT! It’s still a good idea to send them confirmation of successful completion of their probation. You should store their confirmation letter on their profile in Staff Squared too!

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