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What is a Probationary Period?

We often hear the phrase "on probation" used in employment scenarios - but what does that really mean and what's the purpose of it?

A probationary period refers to a specific duration of time during which an employee's performance and suitability for a job are evaluated by the employer.

It's usually the initial stage of employment, allowing both parties to assess the employee's capabilities, work ethic and overall fit within the organisation.

How long should probation last?

The duration of a probationary period can vary, but it is usually 3-6 months. At Lilac HR, we usually advise our clients to use a 6 month probationary period to allow enough time to properly assess the employee.

Speaking from experience, 3 months does not allow enough time for effective induction training, evaluation and assessment and quite often, if there are going to be problems with an employee, they tend to occur around month 5.


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