Making the move away from probation

Making the move away from probation

“Hiring people is more than an investment of time and money – it’s an investment of trust”

Have you heard? There’s no probation period at activpayroll anymore!

We’re taking a new, and some would say bold approach to replace the outdated idea of a probationary period. Instead of a 6-month period, that culminates in a ‘pass/fail/extension’ there will be new Induction Reviews that offer ongoing support and training. Another major benefit for new joiners is that from day 1 they will be entitled to sick pay, death in service and lots more.

The move demonstrates the trust we have in both our new employees and of course, in our ability to recruit the best people in the first place. We asked Chief People Officer, David Deacon to tell us about the thinking behind the change, before catching up with HR Project Lead, Sam Horn to hear how her hard work made this a reality.

David explained: ‘One thing that struck the HR team was how we talk of trust and belief in our new employees, yet that the six-month probation seemed to contradict that message. Thanks to our professional and robust recruitment process that we’ve adopted we were confident we were recruiting the right people for the right role. The next step was to clearly demonstrate that belief by allowing everyone to get on with their new job without worrying about passing probation.

‘When and wherever we discussed the proposal, the unanimous view was that removing probation and replacing it with the new enhanced induction process would clearly demonstrate our new transparent and trusting leadership style.’

Of course, this is where the hard work really begins, and Sam Horn was charged with leading the change and showing how ‘We’ve got your back’. From discussions with key team leads on what the changes would mean in practice through to contract changes and communications there was plenty to coordinate and deliver to make this a reality.

Sam had been involved at the earliest stage of the process when she carried out the initial discussions with key personnel to look at the idea and how it could and should work if adopted.

Sam takes up the story: ‘There were a number of initial questions about what the removal of probation would mean when it comes to performance and training for new starts but quite quickly, we were able to allay fears and the overwhelming view was that this would be a hugely positive move for all concerned.

‘Replacing probation with Induction Reviews turns what can be seen as a worrying period for new employees into a well-rounded approach to training, support and development that aims to encourage our new employees and help them succeed in their roles. This has the added benefit of allowing line managers to better track and monitor progress and provide that aforementioned support.

‘And as David mentioned, when we are taking on new employees it’s because we believe that they are the best fit for the job. This means we want to remove the ominous ‘pass/fail’ approach to probation and replace it with encouragement, support and most importantly, trust.

This new approach came into effect from 1 January and some of the initial responses from team members who are benefiting from the new Induction Reviews have been positive:

I think it is extremely refreshing to see a company taking a step like this and really making new employees feel part of the business from the very start! I think this is a great benefit as often the feeling of being on probation can weigh on new starters (not that I have felt that since I’ve joined activpayroll at all).”

“First off – I would say that this is a huge positive for me. One of the biggest negatives of changing jobs is the probationary period (for various reasons – feeling like you’re under a microscope, feeling unsure, feeling less supported, feeling like 2nd class citizen until you “pass” the probation).”

This approach has now been rolled out globally wherever local employment laws allow.