Many HR pros swear by probationary periods for new hires. But are they really a good idea?
Yes, those 30 or 90 days give managers a chance to keep a close eye on employees to make sure they’re going to work out for you.
But there are problems with probationary periods that many firms overlook, according to Inc.com.
Keeping ’em at-will
The biggest issue: Language that says or implies that staff become permanent employees who can only be fired for cause once they’ve made it through the probationary period.
That’s clearly not what you want – you want staffers to remain at-will so they can quit or you can fire them at any time for any reason.
Make it clear: Just because you have a probationary period doesn’t mean staffers are under contract as soon as they may make it past those 30 or 90 days.
But if an employer’s not careful, it can, indeed, mean that – especially if the organization’s company handbook has wording that employees become “permanent” at the end of the probationary period.
After all, the opposite of probationary is – you guessed it – permanent.
So, forget the probationary period.
You can still keep policies like, “You can’t take vacation until you’ve been here for six months.”
And you can also still choose to not offer benefits until someone has been with your company for a certain amount of time.
But make it clear to employees and in your handbook that employment is and will always remain at-will and not under contract.