Probation has a purpose and it’s more than you may think

December 10, 2017 | In Insights

The purpose of a probationary period is to ensure that a team member is suitable for the position they were hired for and that they are capable of performing the job functions assigned to them.

Yes; the above is true.. However; this is also the period where many of the people who leave jobs within the first 12 months of commencing; actually leave.

They may not physically leave but if a person does not have a good first impression of their new role and the company they have joined; they may well emotionally ‘check out’ and leave during this time. Their body catches up a few months later and you find that they show up at a competitor down the road. A less than ideal outcome!

Therefore a more accurate version of that first paragraph would be to say that the probationary period is the time to ensure that your new team member is showing solid progress in their role and that employers are doing everything to make sure that their team member is happy and feeling valued right from the start. Contrary to some opinions; the ‘sales process’ does not finish with the signature on the contract.

This crucial probationary period is usually 3 to 6 months. This allows the employer enough time to assess the potential and capabilities of the team member and the team member to decide if their ‘new home’ suits them.

Aррrаisals рlау a ріvоtаl part in providing information thаt helps to form opinions and give the new team member feedback to put into action . Thе іnfоrmаtіоn helps to diagnose dеfісіеnсу іn team members rеgаrdіng ѕkіlls аnd knоwlеdgе; dеtеrmіnе trаіnіng and dеvеlорmеntаl opportunities and рrеѕсrіbе thе mеаnѕ for еmрlоуее grоwth. Mоrеоvеr, appraisals during probation provide fabulous opportunities to gain insights into a new team member’s thoughts on what they think and feel about the company.

The key is to pre book these meetings in so that they actually take place and ensure that documentation occurs to keep note of any action items for both the team member and the manager.

At the conclusion of the probationary period, there should be no surprises. Key areas of responsibility and relevant KPI’s need to be referred to so that gaps in knowledge are not overlooked. The probation period is there to ensure that both parties can decide upon the end of this period (or during) whether there is a good fit. Make it easy for yourself and have honest and robust communication right from the start!