Introductory Period

We have a new employee who has finished the 90 day introductory period, but with exception. His supervisor is not completely happy with his performance so he had a counseling session with him and increased his introductory period another 30 days. This last 30 days has come and gone and the supervisor is still not real impressed with the efforts of the employee. He wants to give him one more opportunity to meet the goals they set together. My question, can we keep extending his introductory period another 30 days without putting the company in harm's way? What is our responsibility if we decide to terminate his employment here? What do we have to do?
Thanks for any help asap.


  • 21 Comments sorted by Votes Date Added
  • Exactly what is the difference between your "inductory" period and regular emploment?

    What is said in your policies about the introductory period?
  • We have had an Introductory Period in our employemnt practices for many years now and occasionally need to extend it, too, tho I don't know if we've done so for more than one 30 day extension period. According to our handbook, while in the Intro. period, the full time employee is ineligible for any paid benefits (health insurance, holiday pay, vacation or sick pay). Time may be requested to be taken off unpaid if necessary. Only after the "successful completion" of the Intro. Period, that is no reprimands or policy infractions, can the employee be moved out of Intro status and into Regular status and become eligible for Holiday pay and begin to accrue Paid Time off. Granted, too many times our managers and supervisors do not pay close enough attention to new employees' performance and work and attendance habits and later need to deal with problem behaviors we should have seen in the 90 day intro period.
  • I think the supervisor should make a decision now on whether or not he should keep this employee. Apparently, the two have had discussion about the employee's performance and there has not been the degree of expected improvement. If the improvement has not happened during both the "introductory" period and the extended "introductory" period, what would lead anyone to believe that it would occur in another extended "introductory" period. It's time to cut your losses and let this emlployee go.
  • Without attempting to criticize the wisdom of having or not having an introductory period, it does seem to me that this supervisor is procrastinating a bit in the exercise of his management duty to either get this guy up to speed or cut him loose. Maybe a 10 day extension; but cannot see a thirty day extension followed by another one.
  • It sounds as if goals were set and not attained. If that is the case, I believe the decision should be to let the EE go, rather than prolong the issue.
  • I would like to add my voice to the chorus here:

    For some supervisors it is very difficult to decide/admit that your efforts have gone unrewarded. That it is time to release an employee who is functioning below acceptable standards. Let's be honest, after working with someone to try to gain a solid employee do any of us really want to start from scratch again if we can avoid it?

    I would try to encourage the supervisor to weigh the benefits and consequences of having a below-standard employee in the position. How is the decision to extend going to look to other employees? Is he being consistent in choosing to extend? Can he articulate the reasons he wants to extend the introductory period for this employee but hasn't/won't for others in the past/future? It can be extremely hard on the morale of other employees to have to compensate for someone who isn't carrrying his/her weight. If the supervisor can really lay out solid reasons to support his decision to continue perhaps your job will be to support his choice and ride it out. If not, he might benefit from a push to cut his losses.

    Good luck with this one!
  • I have found that new employees are usually giving their best effort during an introductory or probationary period. I have never had a circumstance that an employee improved significantly after their introductory period was completed. Usually it is the opposite. Let the employee go now.
  • I also feel that the supervisor is sending a much louder message by not acting than he would by simply cutting the company's losses now. We all have made poor hiring decisions. Poor retention decisions are on a grander, even more costly scale. A supervisor's inability to rise to the occasion and make the decision that the employee has not made it through the intro period, speaks volumes about that supervisor's management maturity.
  • I'm with the majority. I think that in some circumstances an extension is fine, because there are slow catchers-on and they will do fine with an extension. Going beyond that, though, seems a bit much because the supervisor should have learned all there is to learn about this employee and skills for the job. If the person is really a poor fit, more time won't help.
  • I guess I'll stick my neck out and say that extending the intro period, could be the right thing to do. It all depends on why the extenstion is needed. We had an employee who was trying very hard but was having a hard time grasping the information for his job, as it was lenghty and had different criteria for each customer. We extended his intro time and he has been with us 7+ years now and is one of our most reliable employees!
  • We have a 20 day introductory period, and if the employee cannot make the grade in that amount of time we end our relationship. Ninety days is a long time...If the employee cannot perform to expected standards in that amount of time most likely he/she never will. It's time to let this person go and find someone who can perform the job.
  • We also have a 90 day probationary period. This is so that we can get the background checks back, evaluate performance, etc.; however, it also helps with our unemployment costs. If they don't make the grade we terminate them within their 90 days. We don't pay quarterly into unemployment, we pay whenever anyone collects so if we terminate someone within the 90 days we are exposed to fewer unemplyment costs. MA is very much on the side of the employee when it comes to unemployment no matter the reason.
  • The various state unemployment regulations I'm familiar with will pay benefits to an individual who is separated because he/she simply cannot do the job or cannot get up to speed. I've not known of one released for that reason who was denied benefits, so I don't see the value of a 90 day period for that purpose. If your offer letters state a contingency of passing background checks and drug/screen physical, etc., the 90 day period doesn't really add value if you get back negative background results after employment begins. Without a 90 day policy, you could still terminate them if your offer letter and policy so state or if your application addresses application falsification. Just my thoughts. x:-)
  • What you say is true Don, however, we are a non profit company and don't pay quarterly into the system. We are whats called a reimbursable employer. We are billed for the cost of any and all benefits actually paid to former employees, including those that would be charged to the solvency account. Therefore, the less quarters we have to pay saves us money and if we let someone go within the 90 days, we are paying less quarters. The Executive Director believes that 90 days is a fair amount of time for an employee's work to be evaluated; that if we used anything less, we wouldn't be giving the new employee a chance.
  • I think 90 days is plenty of time to assess whether an individual is going to make the grade. If they are having problems with following company policies and procedures (absenteeism, tardiness, etc.) - they will not get better after their initial assessment period. These issues tend to get worse.

    If the problem is performance related (trying very hard,but simply can't do the job), then sometime before the 90 days, this is probably very obvious to you that they just aren't "getting it". I would sit down with the employee as soon as I feel this is the case and voice your concerns and ask if there is anything that you can do to assist them; do they feel they are being given ample training, etc. If they feel all these things are in place, I would simply lay out the expectations of the position and when these expectations have to be met. I think it's only fair to sit down at least once during the "introductory period" to let the employee know their performance is not up to par.

    In our state (South Carolina) I hate to use terms such as "introductory" or the even worse "probationary period" Employees feel like if "I can make it through that, I am home free." Some courts have even contended the term "probationary" may form an implied contract of employment. We have had much litigation in our state concerning implied contracts of employment via employee handbooks, so I tend to tread lightly here.

    We are an "employment at will" state, so technically an employee is always "on probation".
  • I agree Rockie. We use the phrase "90 day introductary period". We are also an "at will" state in MA.
  • I think the best way to handle the issue that the word "Introductory" or "Probationary" can be seen to imply guaranteed employment at completion of said time period is to call all new employees "Temporary" employees until completion of time period then moved to "Regular", (not Permanent) status.
    Think that would satisfy labor attorneys?
  • That would cause confusion for us because we do have a catagory of temporary/casual employees who work in our health center.
  • Until you know what the difference is between an introductory employee and a regular emplyee or whatever terms you want to use (other than "probation" and "permanent"), you can't truly be accurate in deciding what to call them.

    In this case, all we know is that jeanj's company has a 90-day introductory period. But what is that mean in, especailly terms of emplyee expectation, and what is the situation after the introductory period? That's why talking about extending the introductory period without knowing it is meaningless. There may not be any difference between the two in her company, especially as it regards performance expectations, other than one is the first 90 days of employment.
  • This employee has had enough chances to meet expectations. Employees tend to be on their best behavior and do their best during the introductory phase. I can't see much improvement in the future. I would not waste anymore time on this one. Let him/her go and move on.
  • The original 'problem' was posted on November 15, over 3 months ago. Tell you what 2445428, if the employee is still there, both the manager and the supervisor should be terminated!
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