Terry Corbell, The Biz Coach
By Terry Corbell
Business Consultant

Probation Meetings – HR Tactics for New Employee Success



Businesses are reluctant to hire new employees, and it’s not necessarily because of the extra payroll expenses. There are also assorted direct and indirect costs.

Businesses’ investments in new employees also entail recruiting, training, training materials, and a myriad of other expenses in both money and in time. Time means money.

Recruiting expenses can include advertising, your internal recruiter’s time to consider resumes, the interviewers’ time to schedule and conduct interviews, background checks, drug-screening tests and any pre-employment screening tests.

ID-100208147stockimagesEven if you could hire workers at $8 per hour, published reports indicate it might cost you at least $3,500 in direct and indirect costs.

Companies must consider the costs of orientation and initial job training. Along with on-the-job training of new employees don’t forget the costs of any continuing education.

Many businesses know the costs in additional wages for new workers. But then there’s the lunchroom, coffee, workman’s compensation, disability, medical and life insurance, dental plans and more.

So it’s important to remember that a new employee’s salary plus benefits equals as much as 1.5 times in the base salary range.

But such costs don’t usually include the expenses associated with desk space, a computer, chair, cell phone and other expenses.

Depending on the host of new expenses, the break-even point in expenses in hiring new employees can take many months.

Why?

You must take into account productivity costs. Depending on the position, it can take months for employees to get up-to-speed in productivity before you break even.

Unfortunately, many new recruits leave the job before the break-even point because they can’t absorb the training, enjoy the work or fit into your workplace culture.

Probation meetings

So it makes sense to take every precaution – tactics that will help insure success of new workers. That calls for probation meetings.

To get the most out probation meetings, here are five tactics:

1. Schedule regular meetings

Start your paper trail. Write a letter inviting the new employee to regularly scheduled probationary meetings to discuss progress.

Depending on the position and the duration of your company’s probationary period, the interval between the meetings can be anywhere from one to four weeks.

As you conduct the review meetings, try to anticipate the employees’ likely long-term potential.

Be certain that you don’t miss the last scheduled meeting of the probation period. Because if you do miss the last meeting and you have a weak-performing employee, it can legally be assumed the employee has qualified for indefinite employment.

2. Adequately prepare for your meetings

Prior to the meeting, evaluate the employee’s performance. Focus on the positive and negative. Observe the person’s soft skills and teamwork.

3. Communicate with the employee

Clarify your expectations. You’ll want to correct bad habits right away. Your comments should be diplomatic and well-defined.

Be balanced in your feedback. Clarity and precision is needed in giving compliments.

4. Partner with your employee

Set the tone conducive for a long-term association with the employee. Show patience and be supportive.

This is the time to be thorough but communicating as a partner with your employee. That means making it a two-way dialogue.

Encourage questions.

To create an open discussion, ask open-ended questions. You need to encourage the employee to freely talk with you. Actively listen to what the person has to tell you.

If, for example, the employee finds it difficult to implement certain tasks or needs tools in order to be held accountable, assess the problems jointly. Be constructive in your criticism.

Discuss the reasons causing the problems, and the two of you should develop solutions together. This will facilitate a productive relationship.

You should also be as diligent is praising the employee when it’s warranted. Either way, the employee will respond favorably and this will help you to be accorded maximum respect.

5. Elements to include in your written action plan

The action plan should be discussed and documented in each probation meeting by you. This should include what is discussed, and a deadline for implementation and completion of tasks.

This record is important. You’ll want to document any areas of under-performance and associated issues.

From the Coach’s Corner, related management strategies:

Welcoming New Hires the Right Way Enhances Your Culture — What is your plan for welcoming new employees? If you don’t plan well, you risk alienating your new employees, your organization’s culture and ultimately hurting your business performance.

Trust Gap between Managers and Workers — How to Drive Engagement — While it’s true there are companies that are aware that good morale among employees propels profits, many businesses are missing opportunities for growth. It’s not because of marketing. It has to do with internal issues. Why? There’s still a wide gap between what managers and workers think about trust.

Millennial Manager: Earn Respect, Get Results with 6 Tips — It can be tough to manage baby boomers. Not because they’re difficult workers. Your learning has just begun. Remember a lot of baby boomers know they have more experience than you; perhaps even in management. Maybe even in your job.

Get the Maximum Benefit from Your Part-Time Employees — Are you getting the most benefit from your part-time employees? Many employers are so focused on putting out fires and taking care of their full-time staff members, they inadvertently overlook their part-time employees.

How to avoid EEOC Discrimination Suits — Here are six tips for micro-companies and 13 strategies for larger organizations to avoid EEOC migraines.

People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing – that’s why we recommend it daily.


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Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is also a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.




Photo courtesy of stockimages at www.freedigitalphotos.net

Seattle business consultant Terry Corbell provides high-performance management services and strategies.