Are you a probationary employee or about to become one? Are you wondering what to expect during this phase of your employment? Being a probationary employee can be exciting and nerve-wracking as it determines whether you can continue with the company.
Probationary employment is a trial period for both the employer and the employee. It allows the employer to assess whether the employee meets the standards and expectations of the company while the employee gets the chance to prove their skills and capabilities. However, it also comes with its own set of advantages and disadvantages.
If you are a probationary employee, it's important to understand the pros and cons of this phase. This knowledge will help you navigate the challenges and maximize the opportunities of being a probationary employee. In this article, we will discuss the advantages and disadvantages of being a probationary employee and provide tips on how to make the most of this period.
What is a Probationary Period?
When selecting the ideal candidate for a company, there are factors beyond qualifications and experience to ponder. It's crucial to evaluate whether they are a good match for the position and capable of managing its associated challenges. That's why numerous employers implement a probationary period for new hires—an agreed-upon duration allowing both parties to assess their compatibility.
Generally speaking, the maximum length of an employee probationary period is 6 months, which may be shorter or longer depending on what suits each particular employer’s needs best.
The probationary period assures employers that their investment in training and developing a new hire will be worthwhile while simultaneously giving new hires an opportunity to see if the job matches their expectations.
During this period, companies can evaluate an employee’s performance, commitment, attendance record, and so on, while employees can see how well they work with fellow employees and enjoy the scope of tasks set before them by management. Ultimately, a successful probationary period will define each party’s future working relationship and ensure that everyone involved makes the right decisions regarding long-term commitment.
Probationary Period Pros
Probationary periods can be a great way to ensure that employees are living up to the standards set by their respective organizations. This framework creates accountability and ensures continued success within the organization. The advantages of the Probationary period include :
Finding the right fit: The job market is highly competitive, and knowing when you’ve found the right fit can be difficult. Every applicant might have an impressive resume and conduct well in an interview, but this doesn’t mean they are the perfect choice for any given role. On the employee side, a person could believe they are a good fit for a role based on their interactions with managers and other employees but then find out that it isn’t what they expected upon taking on more responsibility.
This is why having a probation period at the onset of employment can benefit both parties in finding the right long-term fit. It gives both parties time to scope out if it is indeed a mutual match without fully committing to either one yet. Employees have time to consider whether they truly enjoy all aspects of the job, while employers can decide whether candidates have what it takes for them to succeed long-term in the company. This provides both with more options should either decide that there’s someone better suited for the role after all.
Get noticed: Employees have a great chance to be noticed when entering a new work environment. Whether in a big corporate or a small business setting, employers and managers quickly take note of who has the right skills and personality traits to help them succeed. It allows the employee to show how they will be an integral part of the team, how they plan to showcase their talents and skills and prove that they are reliable and hardworking.
When employees use this opportunity to their advantage, it could lead to greater opportunities in the organization down the road once their probation period is over. It could also open up doors that can enhance the career prospects within the company depending on how well they performed during their trial with the job.
This is because employers typically look for standout individuals who demonstrated good results throughout their probation period when making department promotions or advancements. As such, it's important for future employees to recognize and take advantage of any chances to get noticed at work by utilizing comprehensive strategies such as creating effective relationships with co-workers or taking ownership of projects and tasks assigned.
Set Clear Expectations: Starting a new job can be an overwhelming experience, which is why having clear expectations are so important. By setting clear expectations of what performance is desired from the employee, both parties will have a better idea of what tasks need to be completed within what timeframe. This helps to reduce anxiety and stress during the training period as the outlines that must be met are known and agreed upon up-front.
Implementing probationary periods is another way to make sure your expectations are clear for new hires. A probationary period allows time for the employer to review and assess how well the new hire performs without committing completely until they've had time to prove themselves capable of meeting all expectations. This also ensures that if any changes in hours or roles need to make throughout the term or you decide that the employee isn't a good fit for your company, you can easily resolve any issues or make a suitable job transition without upsetting either party.
Get Employee Feedback: Probationary periods allow employers to obtain real feedback from new team members. Employers can understand how the work culture, policies, and working conditions make a person feel, and this helps establish whether an individual feels their role is suitable.
Any negative feedback should never be taken personally but rather viewed as an opportunity to learn and identify areas of improvement. If similar topics start appearing in employee feedback, then adjustments can be made for future recruits to ensure they have the best possible onboarding experience. This allows companies to ensure employees are happy with their roles and stay long-term to improve business efficiency.
Cost-Effective: Implementing a probation period in the workplace can be a cost-effective measure for companies that are looking to save money on new hires. This is because, depending on the conditions set by the company, the probationary period can involve a lower salary rate or reduced hours of work until it concludes. This means that it is optional for a business to pay for an entire full-time employment package if they feel that the individual may not pass their probation period.
In addition, employing someone on a probationary period gives companies an opportunity to test out potential employees before investing in them fully. This also reduces some of their financial responsibility should they decide to leave or not meet the standards required during probation. Businesses can save costs on recruitment processes and retain money by instead designing more suitable but temporary packages as part of their probation terms.
Probationary Period Cons
Employers often use probationary periods to evaluate new hires before officially offering them a job. Employers may assess their communication, performance, technology skills, and more during this period. The Disadvantages of the Probationary period include :
Employees can feel undervalued: Going through a probationary period as an employee can be an anxious and stressful experience. Employees feel this added pressure as it represents the process they must go through to become legitimized and accepted team members. It can be even more daunting for new hires entering a new company and taking on new roles with different responsibilities requiring training.
Because of this additional stress, it is easy for morale to decrease while going through the probation period, leaving some people feeling undervalued or like their efforts aren't being appreciated.
To combat this, companies must promote an equal working environment during someone's probation period, including integrating them entirely within the team from day one. They should also recognize individual contributions and successes and give adequate support and guidance throughout this transitionary period so that confidence in their job performance remains high and they feel safe from passing their assessment period.
These small but significant activities demonstrate value towards employees who are still technically "on trial" with your organization, making them feel right at home from the beginning.
Legal risk if not conducted effectively: Probation periods are a great way to measure the fit of a new employee for the company and decide if they are an excellent long-term investment. However, it can be a legal risk if not conducted effectively, as there may be unfair dismissal or termination issues.
Companies need to have clear and coherent contract policies that incorporate all expectations related to the probationary period to ensure a smooth process. This includes providing accurate information on performance expectations during this period, clearly outlining how long the probationary period will be, and detailing any requirements for terminating the employee’s employment afterward.
It can become more challenging when hiring international employees, as many countries have strict termination and unfair dismissal conditions, which must be considered. However, there is some leeway regarding layoff and termination during probationary periods; if action is taken, it should be based on documented evidence connected to the original contract provisions.
This is where having clear contracts acknowledging the employee’s status is beneficial, so both employer and employee should understand their respective rights to complete probationary periods successfully.
Effect on a company's reputation: Probationary periods can be an excellent way for an employer to assess whether a potential employee is suitable for the job and the company. While this strategy may work in some cases, it can also have a negative effect on a company's reputation.
Firstly, prospective applicants may consider probationary periods as veiled threats of dismissal. This feeling of insecurity can cause them to not want to engage with the company if they believe their position may be at risk, further tarnishing its image.
A high turnover rate can lead prospective applicants to become wary of applying and discourage current employees from staying with the company, leaving companies without reliable workers and sending out signals that it cannot retain its talent. Additionally, such a strategy could suggest that there needs to be trust between staff members which erodes an employer's authority.
Unattractive to Potential New Talent: Unattractive probationary periods seriously threaten to recruit new talent into an organization. Many workers set their sights on jobs that include job security and the promise of growth, neither of which are often afforded by companies that deploy probationary periods for new hires. Consequently, organizations that resort to probationary periods risk alienating potential new employees and shrinking their total pool of qualified candidates.
Although it can seem overwhelming, there are steps that employers take to prevent probationary seasons from acting as an impediment for recruitment. First and foremost, employers should look at their current practices to minimize the chances of discouraging potential applicants from applying due to their aversion to periodic review processes.
Additionally, creating a comprehensive hiring plan, including detailed roles and expectations, can help employers find the most fitting individual for each position while offering attractive starting conditions such as meaningful compensation packages or welcome bonus plans.
What should employees do during their probationary period?
During the trial period, preparing new employees for success is crucial. This is the right chance to communicate your expectations regarding their behavior and performance. Here are a few essential pointers you should share with your new hire:
- Punctuality: Make sure to emphasize the importance of arriving on time for work.
- Communication: Encourage them to be mindful of phone conversations and colleague interactions.
- Dress code: Remind them to adhere to the dress code specified in the employee manual.
- Productivity: Encourage them to make a concerted effort to utilize their work hours effectively.
While these guidelines represent some of the general expectations in a professional environment, your organization may have additional specific considerations you'd like to highlight.
Working effectively during a probationary period can show great promise toward one’s career growth and could increase their chances of getting hired permanently into the team. Ultimately, this period should be viewed as an opportunity for both employer and employee to help ensure they are a good fit for each other.
Some tips for successfully using the probationary period from an employee's viewpoint are as follows.
Always Be positive: Having a positive outlook and attitude can be extremely helpful in the early days of an employment journey. Positivity is vital to successful personal and professional growth, and staying focused on the bigger picture is important to make your time at work more enjoyable. Your positivity can diminish teething issues and demonstrate your willingness to tackle challenges head-on.
It is natural for employers to screen their employees' movements during their settling-in period, so it is also important that you always present yourself positively and leave no room for doubt. Practice initiative in everyday tasks, show enthusiasm towards new projects, and get comfortable conversing with colleagues - these are all tangible things that can make your mark quickly. When faced with complex tasks or situations, a positive attitude will be invaluable as it acts as a buffer between yourself and the problem.
Keep track of your progress: Maintaining a planner or diary is an effective way to keep track of your progress during the probationary period. Be mindful of the goals you have set for yourself and regularly document your successes and failures when striving towards these goals. Doing so will give you a clear look at how far you have come and what steps need to be taken to get closer to achieving them. On top of that, the feeling of progress, specifically once a particular goal has been achieved, will be immensely rewarding and can act as an impetus to further drive progress in other areas.
Having a plan with concrete steps and measures by which success can be gauged will help shape goals based on measurable parameters and ensure those goals are achievable during the probation period. Over time, creating milestones for smaller objectives makes it easier to stick with larger ones in the long run. As such, track your progress steadily if you want to maximize your chances of succeeding during your probationary period—keep detailed records, as doing so helps hold yourself accountable while gaining valuable insights into weak spots that require extra effort or attention and powerful points that should be accentuated for future use.
Give your best: Success in any career requires one to put their best foot forward, and once you have overcome your fear and apprehensions, it is essential to make a good impression. You have a golden opportunity to demonstrate your workplace competency and ability, so taking the initiative, showing enthusiasm toward your position, and dressing appropriately is important.
Reaching the office on time, staying organized, especially when handling multiple tasks, and interacting confidently with peers can further loan credibility to help gain recognition. One must be polite and courteous throughout, as this can build a good work environment. Making good impressions helps get noticed, which in turn helps launch a successful career path. Therefore, giving it your best shot is important as this will allow you to make the best of any available opportunity.
Make connections: Connecting is key to success in any workplace. You must establish a good rapport with your colleagues and senior workers to make successful connections. A positive attitude and willingness to take on responsibility can go a long way in building relationships around you. You should also strive to learn more about what other members of the team do so that you can provide meaningful help.
Building a viable network by connecting with individuals who may work for or outside your organization is also important. This could involve attending functions or seminars related to the industry or utilizing social media platforms such as LinkedIn for networking opportunities. By engaging yourself in professional circles, you can broaden your knowledge of the field and open up contacts who may be useful for problem-solving or advice in the future.
At the same time, it is important not to get involved in office politics; this could prove detrimental if potential employers become aware of it during your probationary period. By consciously avoiding gossiping, cutting corners, and taking credit for someone else’s work, you will demonstrate that you are a professional individual they can trust with their business.
In conclusion, As a probationary employee, it is essential to follow instructions carefully to ensure that tasks are completed on time and in the right manner. Following instructions is also important as it shows your commitment to the team and organization. Remember that you are being monitored for your performance during this period, so following instructions will help you stand out from the crowd and highlight your work ethic and trustworthiness.
Remember that not all instructions should be followed blindly; if you disagree with something or have an alternative solution in mind, communicate that with your supervisor. Doing so shows initiative and a willingness to think independently. Ultimately, if you strive to make the best of your probationary period, you can ensure it is successful and rewarding for all involved parties.