If you Google the words “how to nail a job interview,” you’ll find more than a few articles on how people can put their best foot forward during job interviews. These articles are responsible for helping quite a few people to land jobs in recent years.
These articles might be great for job seekers. But they can make life difficult for those businesses trying to fill jobs. They sometimes allow people who might not be the best fits for jobs to land them simply because of their interviewing skills.
This has turned the so-called employee probation period into a must for many businesses. These businesses utilize employee probation periods to ensure that they have the right people filling the positions within their companies.
So, what is an employee probation period? How long does this probation period last? And what should a business do at the end of an employee’s probationary period?
We’re going to answer all of these questions—and more!—in our employee probation period guide. We’re also going to provide you with some useful employee probation period tips. Let’s get started below.
What Is an Employee Probation Period?
As we just alluded to a moment ago, a lot of businesses throughout the country have started to subject their new employees to what is known as an employee probation period. They’ll extend jobs to them and bring them on board to work for their companies, but they’ll do it under the condition that they’ll need to successfully make it through a probation period to stay on board for the long haul.
An employee probation period essentially provides an employer with the opportunity to see whether or not a new employee is able to handle the job for which they’ve been hired. Throughout their probationary period, an employee will be forced to prove themselves time and time again.
As a result, the employee probation period basically serves as an extended interview for someone who wants to work for a company. It gives them a chance to show that they belong and that they’re capable of doing the job that a company needs them to do.
To a smaller degree, an employee probation period also provides a new employee with the chance to decide if a company is really right for them. They might discover that they don’t like a job as much as they thought they would. They can walk away from it at the end of their probationary period if they would like without there being any hard feelings on either side.
How Long Does an Employee Probation Period Last?
There isn’t a hard and fast rule for how long that an employee probation period has to last. There are some companies that will have employee probation periods that only last for a week or two. There are others that will put their new employees through employee probation periods that run for several months.
Generally speaking, an employee probation period will run for somewhere between one and six weeks. But companies make the decision to have their probation periods last for as long as they would like, just as long as they advise their new employees on how long they’ll be.
When Should a Company Inform a New Employee About Their Probation Period Policy?
While a company is more than welcome to put a new employee through a probation period, they can’t do it secretly. They need to let a new employee know that they’ll have to go through a probationary period at the start of their employment before finding out if a company will ask them to stay on for the foreseeable future.
Ideally, a company should let a new employee know this when they’re putting them through their employee onboarding process. You can view more to see how a company can make this process seamless through the use of employee onboarding software.
When a company fills a new employee in on their probation period policy, they should be prepared to tell them:
- How long their probationary period will last
- How they’ll be evaluated during their probationary period
- How they’ll make a decision at the end of their probationary period
Some companies will also choose to hold off on extending certain benefits, like sick days and health insurance, until a new employee completes their employee probation period. If this is going to be the case, a company should let a new employee know this so that they’re not caught off-guard by it.
What If a New Employee Objects to an Employee Probation Policy?
There are some people who don’t like the idea of going through an employee probation period. They’ll object to it almost immediately after learning about the probationary period that they’ll have to go through.
If a new employee really does not want to go through an employee probation period, they don’t have to do it. They’re free to walk away from a job offer without accepting it because of a company’s employee probation policy.
In certain cases, a person might try to use whatever leverage they have to get around being subjected to an employee probation period. They might say that they will only accept a job if they aren’t mandated to participate in employee probation.
Some companies might give in to their demands, especially if they’ve had a tough time filling a specific position. But others will let new employees walk and look elsewhere for good candidates for a job.
Can a Company Part Ways With an Employee Before the End of Their Probation Period?
More often than not, a company will let a new employee’s entire probation period play out before deciding whether or not they want to keep them around. It only seems fair to these companies to give new employees every opportunity to prove themselves.
But there are some instances in which it is painfully obvious that a person is not cut out to do a job that they’ve been hired to do. In these cases, a company can usually cut ties with a new employee before their employee probation period is over.
Some companies decide to do it and part ways with an employee right away. But some will also allow an employee to finish off their current week of work before leaving the premises for good.
Either way, there is nothing stopping a company from cutting an employee’s probation period short if they feel like they have to do it.
What Should a Company Do During an Employee’s Probation Period?
If a company is going to go through the trouble of putting new employees through a probationary period, they should make good use of it. They should utilize this period of time to do more than just scare new employees into going above and beyond in order to make a good first impression.
Here are some other things that a company should do during a new employee’s probation period:
- Give a new employee very clear-cut objectives and goals
- Provide a new employee with constructive criticism on how they should be doing their job
- Praise a new employee for a job well done
A company will be making a mistake if they don’t use every second of an employee’s probation period to their advantage. It provides them with every opportunity to see what a new employee can do in a wide range of different situations.
What Happens at the End of an Employee Probation Period?
At the end of an employee probation period, a company will be able to do one of two things. They can either choose to keep a new employee on board and make them a full-fledged member of their staff—or they can choose to let a new employee know that their services will no longer be needed.
If a company is happy with the performance that a new employee has put forward and they want to keep them around, all they’ll need to do is hold a meeting with the employee to let them know. From there, the employee will be able to breathe a sigh of relief and get back to work.
If a company is not happy with the performance that a new employee has put forward and they don’t want to keep them around, they’ll also need to hold a meeting with them to let them know. But this one might not be quite as pleasant. A company will need to give them some indication as to why they’re letting them go, and they might not be thrilled with what the company has to say.
But regardless of which direction a company decides to go in, they shouldn’t leave a new employee hanging. They should tell them exactly where they stand at the end of their probationary period and move on accordingly.
Can a Company Extend the Probation Period for an Employee?
We know that we just said that a company can only do one of two things at the conclusion of an employee probation period. But there is actually one other option that they might have.
A company can choose to extend the probation period for an employee if they would like. They might decide to do this if:
- They’re still on the fence when it comes to whether or not a new employee would be a good fit for their company
- They want to give a new employee another chance to leave a good impression on them
- They have a few more tests that they would like to put a new employee through
Whenever possible, a company should avoid extending a probation period for a new employee unless they feel like it’s absolutely necessary. An extra employee probation period can be frustrating for many people.
But there will inevitably be times when a company will want to extend an employee probation period for a good reason. They should feel comfortable doing it if they think it needs to be done.
How Will Using the Employee Probation Period Benefit a Business?
Now that you know what an employee probation period is and how it works, you might be wondering how it’s going to benefit your business. We’re glad you asked!
There are so many different ways in which your business will be able to benefit by implementing an employee probation period for all your new employees. Take a look at several of them:
- It’ll light a fire up under your new employees and force them to hit the ground running
- It’ll help to set a baseline for your new employees and show what they’re capable of
- It’ll allow you to see if your new employees are going to be as good as they said they would be during their interviews
- It’ll let you find out if your new employees might be better suited for other positions that you have available
- It’ll save you money by scaling back on the benefits that you give to new employees who might be tempted to utilize them right away
- It’ll show your existing employees that you’re committed to hiring the best people possible to work for your company
If you don’t use an employee probation period for your new employees already, it’s pretty clear that you should be using one. Otherwise, you’re going to be missing out on all the different benefits that we just brought up.
Start Using the Employee Probation Period to Your Advantage From Now On
Not every company has an employee probation period for their new employees. Some operate without any safety net and hire employees without subjecting them to probationary periods.
You and your company are free to do this if you would like. But as you can see, installing an employee probation period could work wonders for your business. It’s why you should strongly consider using a probation period for new employees from here on out.
Would you like to learn about some other employee probation period tips and tricks? Get your hands on them by reading through more of our business-minded blog articles.
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