Probationary periods: why they’re useful

by Oct 9, 2021All Posts, Human Resources

Mistakes happen sometimes. The person we thought was by far the best candidate for the role can sometimes not be the ideal employee we’d hoped for. Probationary periods are a great way to see how things go with a new person and ascertain whether they’re a good fit for your business and your team. The length of a probationary period is set by the employer and can be anywhere from a couple of weeks to a couple of months, depending on the role.

It’s important to note that a probationary period is NOT a separate period of employment. The employee has the same entitlements as other employees and will accrue and be able to access paid leave (if part of their contract) as normal.

A probationary period is a great time to hold regular performance reviews with your new employee (we’ll discuss these in more detail tomorrow), and give your employee plenty of opportunities to ask questions or address concerns, giving them the best chance of success at the end of probation.

The details of the probation period should be clearly spelled out in their employment contract, along with how you will let them know whether or not they’ve been successful. It’s wise to have the employee sign off on their contract too, declaring that they’ve read the necessary documents such as the employment contract and induction checklist, as well as understanding the terms of their probation.

What next?

As soon as the probationary period is over,  you need to let your employee know whether they’ve passed. If they are unsuccessful, it is possible to extend this probationary period or end their employment. Make sure you keep a written record of this discussion. Fair Work Australia has a number of templates you can use to notify an employee about successful or unsuccessful probation. You can find those here.

If you’d like help writing employment contracts, staff handbooks, or managing conversations with employees, talk to Assurance HR today. We’re here to help you with all your staffing needs. Call us on 1800 577 515.

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