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A probation period refers to a specific duration of time, typically at the beginning of an employment relationship, during which a newly hired employee’s performance, suitability, and compatibility with the role and organisation are assessed by the employer. It serves as a trial period for both parties to evaluate the working relationship and determine whether it meets their respective expectations.
Businesses commonly utilise probation periods as a standard practice when hiring new employees. The specifics of the probation period, including its duration, are usually outlined in the employment contract or company policies. While the length can vary, the period typically ranges from one to six months, with three months being the most common duration.
During the probation period, the employer assesses the employee’s performance, skills, and overall fit within the organisation. This evaluation is based on factors such as job competency, adherence to company policies and procedures, teamwork, communication abilities, and overall professional conduct. Similarly, the employee also has the opportunity to assess the job role, work environment, and organisational culture to determine if they are well-suited for the position.
Throughout the probation period, regular feedback and performance evaluations are conducted to provide constructive criticism and guidance to the employee. This feedback helps the employee understand their strengths, areas for improvement and any adjustments they need to make to meet the expectations of the role. The employer may also provide additional training or support to assist the employee in their professional development during this time.
At the end of the probation period, the employer evaluates the employee’s overall performance and determines whether to confirm their permanent employment, extend the probationary period, or terminate their employment. If the employer is satisfied with the employee’s performance, they are typically confirmed in post as a permanent employee. However, if concerns or performance issues arise during the probation period, the employer may choose to extend the probationary period to allow further assessment or terminate the employment if the concerns are significant.
It is important to note that during the probation period, the terms and conditions of employment, such as notice periods and entitlements, may differ from those of permanent employees. However, the employee still enjoys the same legal protections against discrimination and unfair treatment as any other employee in the United Kingdom.
In summary, a probation period is a temporary period at the beginning of an employment relationship where both the employer and employee assess each other’s suitability. It allows the employer to evaluate the employee’s performance and suitability for the role, while the employee can assess the job and organisation. Regular feedback and evaluations are provided, and at the end of the probation period, the employer decides whether to confirm permanent employment, extend the probation, or terminate the employment based on the assessment of the employee’s performance and fit within the company.
Having been built by HR professionals with these key processes in mind, here are just a few examples of how oneHR has been designed to assist in effectively managing probation periods:
Automated Reminders and Notifications: oneHR’s automation tool, AutoHR enables users to create automated reminders and notifications to HR personnel, managers and supervisors to ensure that they conduct regular performance evaluations and provide timely feedback during the probation period. Ensuring that the evaluation process is not overlooked or forgotten.
Performance Management: oneHR allows users to track key performance indicators (KPIs) and goals set for employees during their probation period. It allows managers to monitor an employee’s progress. Much like the reminders mentioned above, AutoHR can once again be used to automate the scheduling of performance review meetings.
Documentation: oneHR’s document management tool can be used as a central repository for storing all documentation related to the probation period, including performance reviews, feedback, training records, and any disciplinary actions taken. This ensures that important information is easily accessible at any time, eliminating the need for manual paperwork and reducing the risk of misplaced or lost documents.
Reporting and Insights: The Data Extracts tool can generate comprehensive custom reports on employees under probation, providing insights into their performance, progress, and areas of improvement. These reports help users to make data-driven decisions about the employee’s confirmation or further extension of the probation period.
If you want to level up how you manage probation periods, contact the oneHR team today to discuss your needs.