Try Before You Buy – Why Probation Periods Are An Invaluable Business Tool







With almost a fifth of new recruits proving to be a poor fit for their organisation, can you afford not to find out?

18% of employees will fail their probationary period (opinion matters survey), most commonly because of poor timekeeping/attendance, ill-fitting personality or not delivering on skills they promised in the recruitment process. Utilising a time of three, six, or twelve months to test the waters with a new staff member can avoid maintaining an employee - employer relationship that isn’t working for either party.

The hiring process isn’t perfect, probation is designed to help the business maintain a little more flexibility before committing to a full contract. During this time employers retain the right to dismissal without notice so if the worst should happen and you find the recruit doesn’t fit within your organisation, you can begin to resolve the situation straight away.

It isn’t just employers who benefit from using this procedure, having a period of probation is as much for the employee as it is for the employer. A study by CV-Library found that 22% of employees have left a job during the probationary period – with the role ‘not being as expected’ standing as the most common reason. Until an employee is immersed in the day to day culture of a business, it’s difficult for them to know whether the job is right for them. Having this time, where neither party is bound by contractual obligation, gives a recruit a chance to try the role on for size before committing to the position. A happy employee is a motivated one.

To get the most out of a probation period, it’s vital to set specific goals from the outset so you can effectively monitor success. Keeping the recruit on track with these targets will not only increase the chances of developing a successful employee, but also reduce the possibility of new staff passing the probation period ‘by default’. Unmonitored probation allows new employees to coast during their first months and increases the chance of indifference within the workforce. With regular progress checks, you can ensure that recruits don’t slip through the cracks and encourage proactive self-targeting, a valuable trait in any team.

Though there is nothing in law that requires businesses to use probationary periods, if you want a focused, well-suited work force then the recommendation is clear.

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