Even with stringent recruitment practices, a thorough interviewing process and detailed checks on references, you never really know how a new employee will fit into your business until they start working. Many companies counteract this by ensuring all new employees complete a probation period before being offered a permanent contract with the company.
The probation period enables the employer to see whether or not the employee is right for the company, while allowing the employee the chance to decide if the job is what they expected.
Now with many businesses downsizing their HR departments and increasingly relying on recruitment software and outsourced HR, along with managers who are too busy to invite candidates back for second and third interviews, probation periods are becoming more popular and more important.
Most workers will pass their probation periods without problems, however occasionally HR departments will be faced with the prospect of an employee who hasn’t passed. If you find yourself dealing with this situation, it can be both difficult to handle and a potential legal minefield.
Hold a consultation
Being professional throughout the process is key when dealing with this situation.
It is a good idea to first bring the employee in for a meeting with you and their manager so you can discuss the situation and find out if the employee is happy with the job or if they want to terminate their employment with the company. If they do want to leave then it will be a mutual agreement with no hard feelings on either side.
If however they don’t want to leave you need to discuss how to proceed. You need to be honest with the employee about why they haven’t passed the probation period – it might be their timekeeping, attendance, or that they are clearly not suited to the job. If you and their manager are certain that you want the employee to leave, you need to tell them this, the reason why and when their last day is. If on the other hand you think the employee can improve you need to discuss options with the employee on how to proceed further.
It might be clear leading up to the end of the probation period that there is a problem with the candidate. If this is the case, it might be ideal for the employee to have one-to-one meetings with their manager to discuss areas the employee needs to work on. If they make an effort to improve, it will give you an idea that they are keen to stay with the company and perhaps they just need more time, training and support – areas to discuss during the probation meeting.
Stick to the contract
Before starting the job the employee will have signed a contract that lasts for the probation period. This contract will lay out what will happen if they fail to pass the probation period. To avoid any lawsuits make sure you stick to the contract when letting the person go. Read through their contract before the probation meeting, as it will provide you with information about how long their probation period is for, as well as how much notice you need to give before terminating their employment.
If you have agreed to them staying so that they can try to improve, ensure a new contract is drawn up to avoid any problems in the future.
Extend the probation period
If you feel the employee still has potential with the company and want to let them stay, it is a good idea to extend their probation period rather than offering them a permanent contract, just make sure a new contract is drawn up that covers you legally.
By extending the probation period you need to work with the employee to ensure they have the support and resources needed in order to meet the standards of the company.
By : Derin Clark – HumanResourcesIQ