How to Get New Starters Through Their Probationary Period

3 years ago

A recent report claims a fifth of employees have their contracts terminated or their probation period extended, with poor performance cited as the main reason.

If a new employee is enthusiastic, has a strong work ethic and a sense of commitment, then there is no reason they should fail their probation. Of course, if their heart really isn’t in the job, then there comes a time when you have to move on, for the sake of the Company and the individual.

Don’t manage performance – motivate it!
New systems, processes and forms which help managers’ record performance, rarely ensure employees are guided through their probation. When someone is new to the team and needing extra support, performance management shouldn’t be about processes. It’s about engaging with the new recruit on a regular basis so you are always aware what support and development training they need to improve, and what motivates them to perform well.

Turn performance into a conversation
A culture that encourages managers’ and staff to have regular informal and formal chats about performance is critical to success. If a manager has little contact with the new recruit, they have very little information on which to make a fair appraisal of their performance. Performance conversations should become the everyday norm. It gives managers a chance to personally check how the new recruit is settling in, how motivated they are feeling, and gives the ideal opportunity to set and review measurable objectives. A performance conversation gives managers a chance to coach and develop areas that may need a bit of refining, helping the new recruit to shine during their first few months, and building on any new skills.

Climate controls performance
How a manager behaves shapes the workplace climate – how someone feels about their place of work. The happier staff feel about work, the better they will perform. Managers’ who engage regularly with their staff have a better understanding on what motivates them, and can work out what will positively and negatively impact on the team, and therefore their performance. Different things motivate different people and different stages of their career. Understanding what engages each one and whether the team climate supports these needs is key. The only way to do this is through regular contact.

It’s easy for conversations to be pushed aside when managers’ are juggling other tasks. But ensuring managers are integrating with their team will pay off in the long run – keeping recruitment costs down and a stable, happy workforce in place.

Keep in mind that recruitment is about identifying people who will fit into your organisation well. Sometimes a recruit will leave because the job isn’t what they expected it to be, or they are simply not able to deliver in the role. But they should never leave for lack of support.


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