Scott had employed Ian for 9 months and as time had gone by he was getting more and more dissatisfied with Ian’s attitude and lack of interest in taking more ownership and responsibility as part of his role.
So Scott contacted us and when we spoke it was apparent that there had been niggling concerns from the start of Ian’s employment but they weren’t addressed as he was ‘doing his job’ and the was ‘no time’.
Ian hadn’t been given any objectives or outcomes to meet when he joined, there were no scheduled review meetings (there was nothing to review!), Ian had been left to his own devices to carry out the tasks detailed in his job description and the probation period clause in his contract of employment meant that he was automatically confirmed after 3 months.
Now I can’t say 100% who was to blame about Ian’s lack of motivation, but in resolving the situation, it was apparent that there wasn’t a strategy in place to get Ian working in the way that Scott wanted him to.
Having an induction strategy is vital to being able to have enough evidence to decide should you new employee stay or go.
Here are some practical tips to get the evidence that you need to confirm, extend or fail an employee during their probation period and remain legislatively compliant:
First things first, ensure that your probation clause states that it is only completed when confirmed in writing.
Clear, SMART objectives
During the first week of employment set objectives for the first 3-6 month, ensure they are clear and easily monitored.
Meet with your next starters once a week during the first month and at least fortnightly thereafter. Have a template to ensure you are reviewing how they are progressing against your objectives and well as ensuring that they have been provided with the support and training that they need to succeed.
Give clear objective feedback, so that there are no grey areas, it’s not how you feel, it’s what the evidence is showing you. For tips on having that ‘difficult conversation’ read our article here.
Extend or Terminate
If your new employee isn’t achieving the objectives that you have set for them, and you can demonstrate that they have been given the support and training needed to be successful. You have to decide whether to extend their probation period or terminate their contract. If you’ve been having the regular review sessions as discussed above and there has been little or no improvement, terminate, However, if there has been an improvement and there are just a couple of minor issues it may be worth expending the probation period for a month or two.
Document all of the above
Always, always, always ensure that you document your objective and review meetings.