Probationary Period Policy: Make Sure Your Hired Right

Employee Policy Manual

Even considering the thought of an employee handbook probationary period policy after the time and expense a business goes through to find good employees is hard. The entire hiring process is so exhausting that once you have someone on board the last thing you want to consider is whether or not they will work out or not. Even if you have the perfect employee there can be other reasons they don't work out. As an example, may be personalities don't mix with your other staff. Because no one can predict the future it is important to have a trial period that allows you to evaluate whether or not the new employee is going to work out or not.

It really doesn't matter how good you are at interviewing or whether you have checked out everyone of the references they provided thoroughly or not, an employee may not work out. The real question is how much time do you want to allow for a probationary period. Including a well thought out employee probationary period policy within your employee handbook so that you can review with your newly hired staff is an important process. This will make it clear to the new employee that they are on a probationary period.

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Probationary Period Policy:  Maybe as short as only 90 days to as long as one year…

Again, the length of time is important! An employee handbook probationary period policy maybe as short as only 90 days to as long as one year! The longer the amount of time allotted the better the chances are that you will see if the employee is a better fit for the position. Almost anyone can be on good behavior for a short amount of time. However, if you stretch that time out sooner or later, they will act the way they normally would. Sometimes this is referred to as a honeymoon period.

No matter what length of time your business decides upon when implementing your employee handbook templates probationary period policy, you should also include a clause that will allow you to extend that period if there are still some questions about their ability to be a good fit for your business. It is important to understand no matter if you have a probationary period or not you are still not permitted by law to discriminate against anyone for any reason.

Some businesses will provide a letter of concern to an employee…

An employee handbook probationary period policy will generally state that an employee can be terminated for any reason during the probationary period; however, some businesses will provide a letter of concern to an employee as a last chance to correct the issue prior to terminating them. Remember you have put a lot of time and effort into the hiring process and unless you are certain things are not going to improve it may be wise to do this. The important thing is that you should be consistent and fair.

Every business is going to be a little different and therefore it is strongly recommended that you incorporate your employee handbook to cover all policies including your employee handbook probationary period policy. There are many great employee handbook templates that offer pre-written employment policies that act as a great resource for writing your employee handbook. Most states strongly recommend having an employee handbook and they become a life saver when you have employment disputes with an employee. I know personally I have utilized an employee handbook on countless occasions to remedy an employment dispute in a legal proceeding.

This leaves no doubt to a candidate that you will be evaluating…

Another key to a good employee handbook probationary period policy is that you insure that any potential new hire knows prior to accepting a position with your business that it exists. This leaves no doubt to a candidate that you will be evaluating if they are a good fit for your business for a predetermined amount of time. The probationary period may also be tied to certain benefits. In other words, they may not start receiving a certain benefit until their probationary period is complete.

It is worth repeating that you should insure that you inform a potential candidate that you have an established employee probationary period policy so that they understand the risk if they are leaving an existing position. Some candidates may not want to take the risk if they are unsure that they will work out. It is also wise to make sure that this is stated in your offer letter as well. This way there is no question if it comes up later in some type of employment dispute. The bottom line is covering your bases!

Thank you and may God bless you!


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