Recent research (Opinion Matters survey 2014) shows that 18% of new recruits fail probation. So, if you think about it, this 15% of the workforce could have slipped through if there were no probationary periods. Here are a few considerations when planning our recruitment and probations.

So, what is a probation?

Simply put it is a trial period to see if they are fit for the role and fit for the culture. It typically lasts 3 to 6 months. Most receipts can be let go without standard notice period during a probation. Standard rights of a 1 to 2 weeks’ notice period could be extended to new recruits during this period as well. Although recruits haven’t worked long enough to be covered under unfair dismissal protection, they are still protected against harassment and dismissal for “protected reasons” such as gender, agleam ethnicity, disability, religion, and cultural discrimination.

Why probation?

Well because we know that the standard recruitment process is not perfect. You probably couldn’t tell if someone is fit for a role or for your culture with just a series of interviews. An extended work period is required to ascertain that. It is very common for employers to discover a few things after 3 months of probation:

- recruits cant deliver the skills and performance they promised at interview

- They have poor time and project management skills

- Their personalities are poor fit for your organisational culture

Probation extension:

Sometimes, the recruit is not all bad and you see the potential to train them for an extended period to grow them into a role. You could choose to extend the probation period but to make sure that they don’t make the same mistakes again, it might be good for you to explain why you are extending the period and what improvement you hope to see in their performance.

Focus on the real purpose of probation:

Probation is not an internship. It is also not designed to protect companies from quick terminations. The real purpose of probation is to assess and bring an effective employee on board.

Make sure that your recruits understand:

- The period of probation and what is expected of them

- That you will support them to use fit their skills into their roles and established workflow

- That you will provide guidance and regular reviews during this period

Probation is an extended interview and as all interview goes, it is important to provide the recruit with your final decision and why he is fit or unfit for the role.