QUESTIONS: I hired an employee 6 months ago, initially he seemed to be getting on well and there were no issues with his performance. All of a sudden, there are worrying issues and he isn’t meeting the Company standards. We have an 11-month probationary period outlined in his contract but I have not spoken to him about his performance yet. What should I do?

ANSWER:
The probationary period allows you as the employer sufficient time to ensure that the selection you made for the vacancy within your Company was the right choice and fit. It is an ideal opportunity for you to evaluate the employee's performance and general suitability for the role. Therefore, you need to meet with this employee formally straight away and highlight the key areas he needs to improve on. This will give him a clear path on where he needs to improve.

We advise all clients to hold a minimum of three probationary review meetings with an employee. Ideally in an 11-month probation period the Employer should be meeting with the employee on a regular basis but most definitely at the 3 months, 6 months and 9 months mark. The first probationary review feedback session should be used to confirm that the new employee has received appropriate induction, training and that they are receiving ongoing support to help them succeed. It is also an opportunity to discuss your concerns about performance and outline areas for improvement. Therefore, it is important in this case that you sit down formally with this employee and discuss his performance to date. You will need to meeting with him at regular intervals going forward now to discuss his progress but if he does not improve you will need to inform him that he has not passed the probationary period in a separate meeting.

In this case as you are already at the six months mark so you will need to put a clear plan in place with the employee to ensure he knows where he needs to improve and also to see if there are any additional areas where he needs support. I would meet with him every 2- 4 weeks to see how he is progressing. Every meeting should have a follow up letter for clarity purposes. If the employee’s performance is not improving, after he has been given feedback and support, it is important that you inform him, in the follow up letters, that a failure to improve may result in them failing their probation in writing.

The HR Suite can advise you and your organisation in establishing and maintaining a proactive probation process in your organisation. If you require further information, please do not hesitate to contact us on 066 7102887.