When an employee starts a new role, they may be subject to a probationary period. This is a fixed length period at the beginning of employment which allows employers to assess the suitability of the employee to the role. Most companies use this system to maximize the efficiency of recruitment. To decide whether probationary period should be used in your company or not, it’s crucial to identify its pros and cons.
One of the most common benefits of having a probation period is that it allows both employee and the employer to decide whether their working relationship fit one another well or not. Employers can have this probation period to see the new hire’s performance and see how well the new hire can actually get along with company’s culture, and whether they have the right skills to contribute to company’s needs. On the other hand, employees can have this time to see if they really like the position, colleagues, and company’s atmosphere.
A probationary period also allows employer to evaluate new hires closely and avoid retaining new hires who is not able meet the standards during probation. During probation period, performance reviews are frequently scheduled which allows the company to assist in giving new joiners some additional training. This can ensure the new joiners’ success in working productively and meeting company’s standards by the end of probation period.
A probation period can also help the company to save money. The newcomers at the beginning might not be able to work at full efficiency compared to those who already have experience with the job, so in most companies, employees who are on their probation period are paid less and might not get their benefits until they successfully complete the period. Companies that use this policy often save some money in wages and benefits compared to hiring them without probation.
Requirement of having a probationary period may turn off some of the potential employees as it can be seemed like a lack of trust or a red flag for the working environment. New hires may also be concerned of how uncertainty the probationary period could be (e.g., an extension), which leads to less job securities and possibly less income than what they should receive. With that being said, it could cause a potential candidate to turn down the offer or take another offer without a requirement of probationary period instead.
It is common from an employee’s perspective to feel added pressure when having to go through a probationary period. There is already stress for employees when joining new company and this probationary period can be even added stress as employees would need to go through numerous performance reviews and training. Sometimes this added stress and pressure can cause new employees to have lower morale during their probation period. It is important that new hires working through their first phase at work feel equally as part of the team so that they do not lose confidence in the work they are doing or feel like they are at a high risk of losing their new position.
Another disadvantage of a probationary period is that it could create legal risks in states where employment is at will, meaning you can let employees go for any reason not otherwise protected by law. This could be implied that once the evaluation period is over, the employee can’t be terminated. This case they may try to take legal action against the company if the company tries to terminate the employee later.
To avoid this, we then suggest providing a clear explanation of the probation period to employee in the beginning and also putting this in employee handbook, as well as explaining the employment laws, to prevent any confusion this may cause.
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