HR News and Views

HR News and Views

Employer Question - Probationary Period Clause

Tuesday, June 02, 2015

Employer Question:
This section answers questions raised by you our readers

We have a probationary period clause in our offers of employment but we are unsure of how to use it effectively. Can you advise on best practice and how to deal with a new employee who is not performing well?

Recruitment and selection processes have improved over the years with better methods available to identify and assess the most suitable candidate for your business. However, there will always be a proportion of new employees who will not meet your work performance requirements.

This WILL happen in any  business, sooner or later. The direct and indirect costs of continuing to employ someone who isn’t fulfilling their role can be very significant. In today’s climate this can be a drain on already tight resources and can damage an organisation’s culture.

Using the probationary period to regularly review performance will lead to quicker integration, delivery of required levels of performance and ultimately higher retention rates.

Best practice tips

  • Clear communication of performance expectations from the outset, so the new employee knows exactly what their job is and how they will be assessed
  • Be clear in the recruitment process that a probationary period applies and that employment may be terminated if the required standards of work are not met.
  • Regular informal reviews with the employee should happen to check if they are on board and if they are meeting their job requirements. Feedback from the employee is gold, as you can see how your business is viewed by a new comer.
  • Offer support or further training if needed
  • Before the end of the probationary period invite the employee to a formal review meeting to discuss the outcome of the probationary period. These outcomes may be include:
    • confirming ongoing employment;
    • extending the probationary period; or
    • terminating employment if their progress is unsatisfactory.

For more specific information or to seek advice about a current probationary issue please  contact us on 1800 761 561 or email

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