Probation period dos and don’ts
The dos of a probation period:
- Clearly communicate the employee’s probationary status;
- Define the duration of the probation explicitly;
- Establish reasonable benchmarks for performance;
- Precisely outline and explain the performance standards demanded of the employee;
- Regularly assess and monitor the employee’s performance against the predetermined standards;
- Provide the employee with feedback regarding performance inadequacies;
- Extend the opportunity to the employee to furnish additional information and offer their perspective on the situation;
- Offer assistance, guidance, counselling, and training whenever necessary;
- Follow the appropriate disciplinary or poor work performance procedures based on the prevailing circumstances.
The don’ts of a probation period:
Even during a period of probation, an employer is never entitled to summarily terminate an employee’s employment, especially if the employee’s performance deviates from the anticipated standard. Such actions could potentially lead to allegations of unfair dismissal against the employer at the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA).
Labour regulations furnish explicit guidelines outlining how employers should navigate poor work performance cases. In the event that an employee remains incapable of reaching the mandated standard despite being provided with assistance and training, they are deemed “incapable,” permitting the employer to initiate disciplinary proceedings. It is imperative to recognise that an employer is absolutely prohibited from dismissing an employee without adhering to the required procedure. Every instance of dismissal must unfailingly uphold both procedural and substantive fairness.
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