Probationary Period: Management Process

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What You Should Do

During the probationary period the new employee needs as much support as possible. This is a very crucial time for you and the employee, so set aside plenty of time to:

  • Provide the employee with a clear job description.
  • Provide clear performance expectations and objectives so the employee understands what is expected of him/her and how he/she will be measured.
  • Acquaint the employee with office procedures and practices.
  • Schedule the employee for New Employee Orientation through the UC Learning Center.
  • Provide a good systematic departmental orientation for the new employee (see Chapter 5, New Employee Orientation).
  • Explain how and when the employee will be evaluated in writing.
  • Provide follow-up sessions as often as necessary so the employee can adjust to his/her new working environment.
  • Provide a desk manual (if available).
  • Tell the employee when his/her 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).

Note: Employees in limited appointments should be evaluated beginning on day one of the limited appointment. Once an employee goes over 1,000 in a rolling 12-month period without a 120-day break in service and becomes a career employee, there may be only about two weeks remaining in the probationary period.

When to Evaluate

Probation is the most critical period to assess your employee. At the end of the probationary period, you should have complete confidence that your employee meets or exceeds performance objectives; to know that, you must evaluate him (see Chapter 7, Performance Management). Probationary employees should be evaluated in writing at least once during the probationary period, preferably at about the three-month point. Beyond that, you should provide an evaluation whenever you believe it is necessary, in order to help the employee pass the probation period.

Extending the Probationary Period

Under extraordinary circumstances, the employee's probationary period may be extended. Extensions can be the result of a change in responsibilities or supervision. Consult the appropriate contract or policy for implementation.

Release During the Probationary Period

Unsatisfactory performers and unsuitable employees should be released during the probationary period without delay. Delaying a release action does little to help the campus or the employee.

Questions to ask yourself before you release an employee during the probationary period

  • Has the employee received clear performance standards?
  • Has the employee had sufficient time to understand the job duties and demonstrate his/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 totally unsatisfactory?

Final Steps

Now that you have determined that the employee should be released you should:

Ensure that the employee's final pay check is given to the employee upon release - see Payroll Separation Check Procedures.