Managing probation periods

When you hire staff, you include a probation period in the contract to ensure that the business is protected in case the new person isn’t actually the right fit.  But how do you manage this? 

It’s not appropriate to reach the end of the probation period (3 months, 6 months) and then just tell them they’re no longer required.  The best way to manage this process is to actually set the person up for success and then manage any shortfalls. 

Start by planning and executing a solid induction plan for them.  The key here is to actually follow through with it! Next, book in a six week suitability review to check in on their progress, how they’re settling in, any red flags and if you are holding up your end of the bargain as the employer, by providing them the training and equipment they need. Lastly, address any issues as they arise.  

Don’t save them up for a big meeting at the end of probation – give the person the opportunity to improve and adapt – they won’t know to change their behaviour if they aren’t told.  If you determine that they aren’t meeting the business needs, check in with Fair Work for advice prior to terminating their employment to ensure you meet all legal requirements. 

The bottom line is that if someone isn’t working out in your business, it shouldn’t be a surprise to them, you should have had several conversations addressing their performance already prior to parting ways.

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