A trial, or probationary period, is a set amount of time that allows an employer to test out a new employee.
Even if you did your due diligence during the recruitment process, interviewed many candidates, checked references, and picked the best possible party, which is not a guarantee that the person will be a good fit at your organisation.
Therefore, a trial period is often necessary to provide management with a chance to see the new employee in action. A standard probationary period lasts about three to six months, depending on the time agreed-upon in the employment contract. Read below for three tips for successful new employee trial periods.
Know The Law – What some employers don’t realise is that a probationary period is still legally defined as official employment. As such, the employer and the employee are bound by the same rules that affect regular staff. Also, the official start of employment begins on the first day on the job, not after the trial is concluded. Therefore, if your new hire needs to wait a certain amount of time to start accruing benefits, remember to begin the count at the right time.
As the main point of a trial period is the ability to dismiss the employee if things don’t work out, remember to include all the details of your right to dismiss in the employment contract. For example, make sure to note what the grounds for dismissal are: they may be failure to comply with company rules, coming in late, too many absences, etc. Some managers state that during the probationary period the individual may be let go for any reason.
Provide Proper Training – A trial period is an important time for the new team member to learn about the job, company culture, expectations and rules. As a manager, you need to make sure the person is properly trained in all the areas that are vital to the job. Start with a clear cut job description that outlines all the different aspects of the position. Assign another colleague to spend a few days with the new hire to teach that person about daily activities and milestones.
Provide Feedback – Typically, during the trial period, the employer takes the time to provide consistent and frequent feedback to the subordinate. It’s important to keep in mind that no matter how qualified and capable the individual is, he or she is new to the job and will not be able to learn everything right away. Therefore, sitting down and focusing on what has been done to exceed your expectations, and what areas need improvement, is crucial to a successful working relationship.
A probationary period is a great time for both the employer and the new employee to see if they are the right fit for each other. However, this short period of time needs to be used wisely, with the manager properly training the new hire and providing quality feedback that will let the person know if improvements need to be made before the trial period is over.
Head of Training and Development
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