Probationary Period

Career employees serve a probationary period during their first six months of employment. 

This gives managers and supervisors an opportunity to review the abilities of an employee to perform all aspects of their position. The probationary period should be used to ensure that the applicant selected is qualified to perform the job and achieve regular status. During this period, you should carefully evaluate the employee's performance and general suitability for employment. To make this decision, you will develop performance standards and objectives, set aside time to observe the employee, provide feedback, and evaluate the employee.

Supervisors and Managers Responsibilities:

  • Provide the employee with a clear job description.
  • Provide clear performance standards so the employee understands what is expected of them and how they will be measured.
  • Acquaint the employee with office procedures and practices.
  • Schedule the employee for the New Employee Orientation through the Employee Development and Training.
  • Provide a departmental orientation for the new employee.
  • Explain how and when the employee will be evaluated.
  • Provide follow-up sessions as often as necessary so the employee can adjust to their new working environment.
  • Provide a desk manual (if available).
  • Tell the employee when their probationary period will be over and explain what it means to become a regular status employee.
  • Evaluate the employee's performance in accordance with applicable policies, procedures, and contracts.
  • Show a continuing interest in the new employee (it's not enough to explain terms and conditions of employment and leave the employee to make it from there alone).

Probationary employees should be evaluated as frequently as is specified in the applicable personnel policy or collective bargaining agreement.

Extended Probationary Period and Release of Employee

Under some circumstances, the employee's probationary period may be extended. Extensions can be the result of a change in responsibilities or supervision, a leave of absence taken during the probationary period, etc. Consult the appropriate contract or policy for information and talk to an Employee Relations Consultant. If there is a concern in performance, attendance or conduct during the probationary period, managers and supervisors are encouraged to contact Employee & Labor Relations to discuss options. An employee should receive timely feedback on any problem with performance, attendance or conduct.

The following may be considered:

  • Has the employee received clear performance standards?
  • Has the employee had sufficient time to understand the job duties and demonstrate her performance level?
  • Has the less-than-satisfactory progress been discussed with the employee? Has it been documented in a performance appraisal?
  • Has the employee had sufficient time to correct the deficiency? In the case of poor work habits, did the employee know that the behavior was unsatisfactory?

If a probationary employee continues to have problems after receiving feedback, please contact us to discuss a probationary period extension or release of the employee. Managers and supervisors are required to talk to an Employee Relations Consultant prior to extending a probationary period or releasing an employee during his or her probationary period.