What is a Probation Period & Should I Have One?

Posted by Florida Resource Management on November 8, 2022

Does your business utilize an employee probation period upon hiring them?

We recommend implementing a probation system for new hires since it gives you and your employees the chance to see whether they’ll fit in well with your organization. We’d like to explain what a probation period is and how to make the most of it.

human resources

What is a Probation Period?

The probation period is the time period after an employee’s initial hire where they work for you on a provisional or “trainee” basis. This is when you would train them, give them a chance to demonstrate competency, then evaluate them. Probation periods can last any length of time (provided it’s clear in the employee contract), but they often last either a few weeks, 90 days, or up to a year.

Finally, the probation period will let you gauge their long-term potential, see how they fit in with the rest of the teammates, and determine if they have the right attitude.

Ways to Optimize the Probation Period for Employee Success

These are the best ways to optimize the new-hire probation period to develop outstanding employees.

  • Emphasize Performance Management
    • Performance management involves measuring and tracking an employee’s productivity, generating reports (with tangible metrics), and sharing the results with your employee. The best part about this is that it doesn’t stop when the probation period ends. You can (and should) track and manage employee performance for virtually everyone on your team.
  • Provide Helpful Feedback
    • The endeavor to track performance only goes so far if you keep all the information to yourself. It’s critical to the success of the employee that you provide constructive feedback early and often. Ideally, this will include both positive and negative feedback, so that employees get a comprehensive profile of how well they’re working.
  • Clarify All Expectations from the Start
    • One of the worst things for an employee is not knowing where they stand or what they’re supposed to do to gain permanent employment. We’d even estimate that this type of confusion and frustration is a major contributor to higher turnover. Since a lot of new hires quit within just a few weeks of starting a job, you should clarify expectations right out the gate. Otherwise, you’ll spend more money having to hire new staff over and over again. 

So, the probation period isn’t there to punish or prohibit new employees. Instead, it should encourage growth and development, while safeguarding your company against various hiring risks.

If you’d like to learn more about HR topics like this, then consider hiring Florida Resources Management for professional assistance on everything from payroll to workers’ compensation. We can help you improve personnel management regardless of your organizational size or structure. You can reach out to us to learn more about our services at 941-343-6160.

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