Probationary periods are not a legal requirement but are a useful tool for employers to assess the suitability of new recruits and identify additional training requirements.  The following tips set out how to implement them effectively:

1. Determine the length of probationary period.  It should be long enough to allow you to determine an employee’s suitability for the role so the length of time may depend on the complexities of the role.  Periods of either 3 or 6 months are fairly standard.

2. Set out required standards and timescales with the new employee from the outset so that they are clear on what they need to achieve.

3. Have regular one to ones with the new employee to review performance and identify any additional training needs, two way communication is key during probationary periods.

4. If there are issues address them as soon as possible in order to keep the employee’s performance and training on track.

5. Just before the end of the probationary period arrange a probationary review meeting.  If required standards have been met inform the employee that they have passed their probationary period and confirm it in writing.

6. If an employee is not reaching required standards then a probationary extension may be considered but this should only be for a limited time, 3 months maximum.  Again this should be done before the end of the probationary period. 

7. If it is clear that a new employee is not reaching the required standards and they have been given all the necessary training and coaching then it is advisable to terminate before the end of the probationary period.  Ensure that a fair dismissal procedure is followed clearly outlining the reasons for dismissal.

As the UK enters a prolonged period of uncertainty after the Brexit vote, it is important for HR to be proactive in our approach to managing potential conflict.  This may arise from differing opinions, job uncertainty and indeed the impact to, or racial harassment of EU workers who are employed by so many companies.  Here are our top 5 tips to having a robust system in place that can help to minimise conflict in the workplace:

1. Be honest, open and upfront with staff about how the Brexit vote may affect your business and individuals

2. Remind staff to respect each other’s opinions and political views and not allow their feelings to affect their work or relationships with colleagues

3. Ensure you have robust policies in place with regards to bullying and harassment and equal opportunities and role these out to employees to emphasise that these behaviours will not be tolerated

4. Take swift action, formally if necessary, where any employee displays unfavourable or unacceptable behaviour towards another employee and do not dampen down situations as being ‘banter’ or political discourse

5. Develop managers skills in managing potential conflict and increase their awareness of being pro-active and more vigilant in spotting any unrest between employees

Hiring the right employee is a challenging process. Hiring the wrong employee is expensive, costly to your work environment, and time consuming.

Hiring the right employee, on the other hand, pays you back in employee productivity, a successful employment relationship, and a positive impact on your total work environment.

• Define the job before hiring an employee.

• Plan your employee recruiting strategy.

• Review credentials and applications carefully.

• Pre-screen your candidates.

• Ask the right job interview questions.

Solve HR can provide you with full cycle recruitment services, if you have any queries please contact us.

Choose a positive attitude to motivate your employees and colleagues…

The attitude you adopt at the workplace affects not only you, but those around you. Enthusiasm and optimism are contagious. Choose to be upbeat and positive, and others will soon be the same.

Five tips to help you stay upbeat:

Be cooperative and approachable.  Your cooperative attitude will be noted by others and reciprocated.

Have open communication.  Regular communication prevents many problems from occurring in the first place. Good communication also helps solve problems that pop up.

Stay calm.  When you’re faced with a difficult situation, don’t allow emotions and pressure to affect how you communicate.

Be part of the solution.  Don’t just identify a problem, propose solutions. Encourage your teams to do the same.

Share good news.  When something good happens, share the news with others and praise those who made it happen.

In the case of Dove v Brown & Newirth Mr. Dove was awarded £63,391 for age discrimination.  He had been a salesperson with the jewellery manufacturer, Brown & Newirth since 1990 during which time there were no issues with his work until a restructure in 2010 that resulted in younger team members being introduced and a younger Sales Director.  This is when the situation started to deteriorate as the Sale Director nicknamed Mr. Dove ‘Gramps’.

Mr. Dove continued to work within the sales team and did not complain about the ‘Gramps’ nickname.  In 2015 he was informed that his traditional approach to sales was out of touch with their business needs and customers found him to be old fashioned or long in the tooth.  The Company informed him that as a result of this his customers were being transferred to other sale persons and that as no alternative work could be found for him he was dismissed.

Mr. Dove lodged a case for unfair dismissal on the grounds of Age Discrimination which the tribunal upheld.  The tribunal found that he had been treated less favourably because of his age. The vocabulary used to describe customer views related to age.  The employer then acted on these discriminatory and stereotypical attitudes.  Having his customers transferred to a younger salesperson also reinforced this less favourable treatment. The employer had failed to have a proper performance process and had not investigated or challenged customer views.

Through a targeted recruitment initiative, cloud and software company SAP have employed 100 members of staff in three years who are on the autistic spectrum.

The scheme was introduced in 2013 and is designed to target people with autism as part of the company’s diversity and inclusion efforts.  SAP partnered with a specialist recruiter to identify candidates for technology-focused roles such as software testing, programming and data management.

The programme was first piloted in India before being rolled out in the US, Germany, Canada and Ireland. However, the scheme is yet to be introduced in the UK because it does not currently have a large enough presence in the region.

SAP employees volunteer to become ‘buddies’, helping new autistic recruits settle into the organisation.  Long-serving employees who have a thorough understanding of the company and its culture are encouraged to mentor the new recruits.

Stefanie Nennstiel, global leader for autism at work and senior director of diversity and inclusion emphasised that the recruitment drive is not a corporate social responsibility initiative. Staff who volunteer to be a buddy and those recruited by the scheme “become better communicators on both sides of the equation”.

When it comes to recruitment, Nennstiel said companies need to “look beyond qualifications and interview skills, which many autistic people really struggle with. Different people’s styles help businesses and employees become more creative and innovative. Many companies need new skills and behavioural styles, and people with autism form just one possible talent pool.”

Nennstiel hopes that by 2020 SAP will have one streamlined recruitment process for all applicants.  “It positively impacts our brand and company identity, thought leadership and ability to capture the best possible talent. Our employees are really proud of what we do,” she added.

According to research from the National Autistic Society, just 15 per cent of autistic adults in the UK are in full-time paid employment and 53 per cent would like to receive employment support.