2 August 2019
Probation period – what is it?

You don’t have to have served any hard time to be on probation. In fact, at one time or another, this word applies to us all. It is estimated that almost one in five new employees fails to get through their probationary period when starting a job. So what can you do to get through those first few months?

What is a probation period?

It is, essentially, a safety net for employers after the recruitment stage is complete. The probation period is a mutually agreed upon duration of time (typically anywhere between one and six months) in which your ability to meet certain performance levels – in other words, the potential you exhibited in your interview – will be observed and assessed. Pending a review, the subsequent failure to meet these standards within that period can lead to an employer dismissing an employee without fear of unfair dismissal claims and employment tribunals.

During an employment probation period, the company will evaluate:

  • Your skills
  • Performance
  • Attitude
  • Ability to fit in with the organisation’s culture.

How Do I Get Through It?

Your chances of successfully navigating the choppy waters of probation will improve if your company does the following:

  • Provides you with a clear job description.
  • Clearly outlines the firm’s general business practices and procedures.
  • Schedules the requisite training to ensure you meet their requirements.
  • Explains when you’re evaluated and the methodology used.

You may be required to take part in one or more reviews throughout your probation. This is completely normal, and is a chance for the employer and yourself to discuss matters that may be concerning either party and come up with the right solution. It is also an opportunity for you to explain whether or not the job has met your expectations. Reviews are the perfect way to discuss any problems you may be having, things you may be struggling with and also things you enjoy about the role.

You can be dismissed during the probation period as long as your employer acts reasonably and can offer suitable reasons for its decision. In the event your employer wants to include a probation period extension, check your contract to make sure it is legal. Your contract should outline the circumstances where an extension is applicable along with the duration of the new probation period.

Lastly, remember to you ask your manager when your probation review will take place so you can prepare for anything you would like to discuss; think of ways in which you can progress within the organisation – it will demonstrate that you are serious about your role and you are invested in the future of the company.

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