Meaning & Definition
Probationary arrangements, often referred to as a probationary period or probationary period of employment, are a common practice in the employment relationship where a new employee is placed on a trial period after being hired by an organization. During this probationary period, the employee’s performance, behavior, and suitability for the position are assessed by the employer.
Probationary arrangements serve several purposes, including:
- Assessment of Fit
Employers use probationary periods to evaluate whether the new employee is a good fit for the organization, the team, and the role they were hired for.
- Performance Evaluation
The probationary period allows employers to assess the employee’s performance, including job skills, productivity, and the ability to meet performance expectations and goals.
- Behavior and Attitude
Employers use this period to evaluate the employee’s behavior, work ethic, and attitude towards the job and colleagues.
- Training and Adaptation
Probationary periods may be a time for the employee to adapt to the organization’s culture and receive training or mentorship as needed.
- Legal Safeguard
In some jurisdictions, the probationary period can provide an added layer of flexibility for employers, enabling them to terminate an employee more easily during this period if performance or behavior issues arise.
The duration of a probationary period can vary depending on the organization and the nature of the job. It can range from a few weeks to several months. During this period, employers and employees may set specific goals and expectations for performance and conduct. At the end of the probationary period, the employer typically conducts a performance review or evaluation.
Based on the assessment, the following outcomes are possible:
If the employee has met or exceeded expectations, they may be confirmed in the position, and the terms and conditions of employment may remain unchanged.
In some cases, if further evaluation is needed, the probationary period may be extended. This is typically communicated to the employee with clear expectations for improvement.
If the employee’s performance, behavior, or suitability is unsatisfactory, the employer may choose to terminate the employment relationship. This is generally easier to do during the probationary period, as it typically requires less notice and is subject to fewer legal restrictions than terminating regular employment.
It’s important to note that the laws and regulations governing probationary periods vary by jurisdiction, so employers and employees should be aware of the legal requirements in their specific location.
Additionally, employers should ensure that probationary arrangements are clearly defined in the employment contract or offer letter to avoid misunderstandings. Properly managing probationary periods can help organizations make informed decisions about employee retention and ensure that employees are a good fit for their roles and the organization.