Friday, 24 February 2023 15:55

Induction and Probation

Despite the doom and gloom regarding the country’s economy that we’re currently hearing being predicted by the Bank of England and institutions such as the CBI and OECD, vacancies in the UK still stand at above 1.1million. Staff recruitment and retention still remain significant challenges for employers. However, that shouldn’t be an excuse for shortcutting the recruitment process or for recruiting the wrong individuals. Furthermore, induction processes and probation periods need to work more in the employer’s favour.

What was once an opportunity to be briefed on one’s duties and to meet colleagues in other departments in the organisation, an induction programme these days needs to be a robust and thorough process. We’re seeing a rise in employee claims and challenges against their employers and so businesses must ensure they protect themselves by providing appropriate training and being prepared to challenge performance in the early days and weeks of a new recruit’s employment.

Required compliance training in the usual suspects like Health and Safety and Safeguarding should already be baked in, however with societal expectations changing, it has never been more important to cover Equality, Diversity & Inclusivity and company values. Failure to ensure that employees have been demonstrably trained in areas of legal compliance can make it difficult and expensive to dismiss underperformers at a later stage and leaves a door wide open for tribunal claims or a costly settlement under the threat of one.

Poorly planned probationary periods for new recruits can also create headaches when review meetings aren’t scheduled or carried out or when the probation deadline drifts past without action. Whilst passing the probation period doesn’t make an employee bulletproof, properly administered probation periods are considered best practice. You might have an uphill battle in justifying a dismissal just a few months after an employee’s probation period has ended.

During their probation period, new employees should have regular meetings with their line managers to measure their performance against targets and objectives, starting with weekly and moving to fortnightly and monthly as competence develops. Consistent under-performance should prompt closer monitoring and support culminating in dismissal if the employee doesn’t make the grade; this doesn’t have to wait until the probationary period is complete.

Too often we see an arbitrary decision to dismiss at the three month probation stage based on what the manager feels at that time. When an employee is truly unsuitable for a role, a properly executed probation will expose this so it can be dealt with it in a more timely manner, enabling the business to get back to the job of recruiting a more suitable candidate.

Induction and probation should both be considered part of the overall recruitment process, which in itself should be carried out thoroughly and professionally. Failing to send regret letters to unsuccessful candidates for example is not only impolite and unfair on the applicants, it is a sign that other parts of the process may be lacking too.

Statistics tell us that 51% of candidates will continue looking for roles even after they have accepted a job offer so if your recruitment and induction process leaves anything to be desired then you may find yourself losing the best talent. A poor process overall could mean that your bridges are burned with your second and third choice candidates too.

Investing time in a professional recruitment process will pay higher returns in the long run as your churn of new recruits will be less and the initial experience recruits have of your business will outweigh that of your competitors. The process should work in your favour too though so implement a robust probation that enables you to fail quickly and a comprehensive induction plan that protects the business in the long run.

For more support and advice in the recruitment and induction process, call us on 01452 331331 or contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Read 641 times Last modified on Wednesday, 03 May 2023 08:11


HR Champions provide first class HR and Employment Law support and advice to UK businesses; operationally and strategically. If you're an employer you'll potentially need some, if not all, of the services we offer.

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