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A proactive approach to probationary periods

Posted on: June 18th, 2019 by Ginny Hallam

So often we hear that it’s only those who lose their jobs or have their probationary period extended that have the privilege of time with their manager to discuss early performance.

The missed opportunity of telling someone they’re great at an early stage of their career can’t be recovered. Whether you call it an early careers chat, probationary review meeting or three/six month catch up – get it in the diary!

Here’s our tips to make it happen:

Don’t leave discussions about performance to the end of the period – start sharing from month one!

Work with a people system that automatically reminds you when you need to have a probationary discussion – find out about ours!

Train your managers to feel confident approaching the conversation and support them with agendas

Ensure that managers wishing to end an employee’s employment can demonstrate they’ve done all they can do to support that individual to succeed

If ending employment, support the individual with next steps to future employment elsewhere

Don’t leave probationary conversations until the last minute and ensure they take place within the probationary period – contractually you might otherwise lose the right to benefit from a shorter notice period if things don’t work out

If you extend the probationary period, ensure you set SMART objectives and offer support and guidance to achieve them – follow up in writing so the employee is clear that their probationary period has been extended and what they need to achieve

Ensure you follow your own policies throughout

There’s a lot to get right with probationary periods – we’re here to help if you’re unsure.