Dresser & Associates

When should I decide to place an employee on probation?

If an employee’s overall behavior or performance is below expectations the employee may be placed on disciplinary probation. This is a specific period during which the employee is required to work to correct a behavior or performance problem. Disciplinary probation is generally designed to put an employee on notice of work deficiencies and to develop a plan of action to improve them. Usually, unless significant improvement is made during the probation period, termination will be recommended, although a probation period can be extended to allow an employee more time to improve performance.

After consultation with Human Resources, the employee’s supervisor should give the employee a written notice saying the employee is being placed on disciplinary probation, noting the length of the probation period, the specific deficiencies in the employee’s behavior or performance, the necessary changes and improvements that should occur, and the plan of action to improve those deficiencies. The statement should include a dated, signed statement as to what may happen if conditions are not met-including termination, if that is an option. During the disciplinary probation period, the supervisor should counsel, train, or provide other appropriate activities designed to bring about the desired outcome.

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