All You Need to Know About Probation Period

Probation Period is a mutually agreed upon duration of time (typically anywhere between 3 to 6 months) where the performance of an employee is observed and assessed. In other words, probation period is essentially a safety net for the employer and employee to assess suitability for the role while on the job.

Contrary to popular belief, Probation periods are not only for new employees joining the team. Probation periods are also applicable to employees taking on a new role or employees who have recently gotten a promotion.

Why is a probation period necessary?

The standard recruitment process of a job interview or written assessment isn’t perfect. Candidates may show immense potential at the time of the interview but may fail to live up to the expectations while on the job. Thus, a probation period works as a trial period to assess a candidate’s skills and performance. Probation Periods usually end with an employee review meeting between employees and their managers. Performance and areas of improvement are highlighted on. At this meeting, you can assess how well the employee’s performance is and what are the areas that need improvement on. Failure to meet performance standards at the end of this period can lead to a dismissal or an extension of the probation period.

Can probation periods be extended?

A new position or new job can be overwhelming and performance may not be satisfactory during the initial months. Probation periods give you the opportunity to assess new recruits on the job, for three months or more. It’s common for employers to discover that new hires could not deliver the performance they had promised. Probationary periods allow you to address the problems before on boarding an employee on a full contract.

Although, failure to meet the required standards can lead to dismissal, the problems can also be addressed by agreeing to a full contract. Extension of the probation period can prove to be a great learning period for the employee.

How to decide the length of the probation period ?

There isn’t any specific time frame laid out for a probation period. Typically, the length is defined by the goals of the probation period. If the goal is to on-board a new employee, a probation period can be set out for 6 months , considering 6 months is long enough time to assess a new employees’ performance and give them appropriate feedback .

Whereas, the length of the probation period for an employee taking over a new role can be set out for 3 months considering that employee’s performance has already been reviewed before.

How to manage employees during probation?

Managing employees during probation is crucial as rectifying errors and making necessary changes for improvement in performance can be done as early as possible.

Certain steps need to be taken to bring an effective & productive employee on-board after probation –

  • Achievable goals need to be set and measures to evaluate them needs to be in place to track employee performance.
  • Goals & Objectives needs to effectively communicated to the employee at the time of joining
  • Managers are also required to provide training and support to the probationary employees to help them achieve the desired results.