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Probation and Notice Periods – What You Need to Know

Probation and Notice Periods – What You Need to Know

Probation period not up yet? Thinking of saying goodbye to a new hire? Then something obviously hasn’t worked out. To ensure their departure goes smoothly, you need to give them the right amount of notice.

But how long should that be when an individual is still in their probation period? And what else do you need to consider? Read on for the answers.

Probation – Not Just For Criminals

Most employers operate a trial period for new employees – also known as a probation period – which can vary from a few days to several weeks or months. The length of probation should be clearly set out in the employee’s contract alongside the employee’s standard notice period.

But what happens if they hand their notice in, or you want them to leave, during their probationary period? Does the standard notice period apply? Or can you legally give less notice and hasten their departure?

It Depends on Length of Service

People with probation periods shorter than one month are not entitled to any notice so you can exit them from your firm immediately.

Of course, notice periods work both ways and employees can notify you of their intent to leave too. Which means you could be left in the lurch if someone leaves within their one-month probation period.

That’s why most organisations stipulate a probation period of three months. This often increases to six months for more senior roles and jobs that are difficult to recruit. By extending the notice period, both employers and employees are protected.

There are two types of notice that employees and employers must give.

Contractual Notice

Contractual notice is the agreed notice period, as set out in the employment contract, that must be given by either side to terminate the arrangement.

You can choose to give more notice than legally required. But of course you cannot give less than the law stipulates.

Typically, contractual notice periods are:

  • Less than one week for staff with under one month’s service
  • One week for people with between one and six months’ service
  • One month for people who have recently passed their probation

These notice periods give both sides a degree of protection and tie in nicely with the following legal minimums.

Statutory Notice

If you don’t include a notice period in your employees’ contracts you have to abide by legally predefined notice periods based on the individual’s length of service:

  • Less than one month’s service > no notice
  • One month to two years’ service > one week’s notice
  • Two years’ service > two week’s notice
  • Three years’ service > three week’s notice

The notice periods increase by one week for every complete year of tenure. So someone with eight years’ service would need to give and be given eight weeks’ notice.

Notice Has Been Served – What Happens Next?

This usually depends on who gave notice and the reasons why.

If an employee gave notice and there’s no problem (like performance issues), you will probably want them to work for the duration. This helps your organisation by keeping work moving and giving you time to recruit.

If you’ve given notice to a member of staff during the probation period, it’s usually because performance or attitude is not up to scratch. Which might mean you don’t want the employee to come in.

In this instance, you will still need to pay them for their notice period and you can do this in one of two ways:

  1. Pay in lieu of notice – you end the employment before the individual serves their notice and pay them as if they had worked their notice period.
  2. Garden leave – the employee serves their notice but doesn’t do any work for your company. This might happen if they are leaving to work for a competitor. Again, they must be paid for the full notice period.

Nobody wants to recruit the wrong person for the role. But occasionally it happens. Protect your business by:

  • checking your contracts of employment
  • paying notice periods as required
  • revisiting your recruitment practices to spot any gaps

If you want help protecting your business from the unexpected, get in touch with Crosse HR.

How is Social Media Impacting Recruitment?

How is Social Media Impacting Recruitment?

Recruitment has been massively influenced by social media. How long do you think Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn have been around? Although it feels like forever, they were only born in 2004, 2006 and 2011 respectively.

In this article, we explore how and take a look at what you can do to exploit social for your business.

A Potted History of Recruitment

Before social media was a glimmer in anyone’s eye, businesses recruited using good old-fashioned methods. Word of mouth and recommendations were standard practice limiting the recruitment pool businesses could cast their net into.

The only chance of finding fresh blood was to advertise in newspapers or pay premiums to recruitment agencies to access details from their hoard of paper CVs.

With the advent of the web, organisations began advertising roles on their websites. This extended their reach well beyond existing networks and opened up vacancies to a wider range of applicants.

In the late nineties, job sites emerged and compiled job listings providing businesses additional places to recruit. Between 1999 and 2000, the job site Monster had 1.2m unique monthly visitors and held 7.2m CVs.

Suddenly, job seekers and recruiters were able to access thousands of new opportunities and candidates around the world.

Which meant candidates could be pickier about what they applied for. Putting pressure on firms to step up their game to attract the best and brightest.

Social Means Even More Choice

As social media came into play, there was a clear demarcation: Twitter and LinkedIn were considered professional tools while Facebook was deemed to be personal.

However, research shows that attitudes are shifting: Twitter is now considered a personal platform even though more businesses have a profile on Twitter (14%) than Facebook (11%).  

With other ‘non-business’ platforms attracting large audiences, businesses are beginning to cultivate a presence on sites like Facebook, YouTube and Instagram too. All of which means recruiters have additional avenues and new ways to communicate with potential candidates.

The introduction of social media has resulted in two main changes to recruitment:

  1. Personal profiles are constantly on display making the passive proportion of the market (those who are not actively job-seeking) more available to recruiters.
  2. Social has merged the power of word-of-mouth with the reach of the internet. Giving recruiters, businesses and candidates their greatest opportunity to find exactly the right job or hire.


What This Means for Your Recruitment

Exploiting the recruitment benefits that social can bring relies on understanding what it means for your business. If you’re considering using social to recruit, take a note of these tips.

  • Be Prepared for More CVs

More jobs, more widely-advertised are applied to by more people. Which adds to up to a CV-screening nightmare for small business owners who don’t have a dedicated HR team to support them. In 2017, employers received a median of 24 applicants per low-skilled vacancy and 19 per medium-skilled vacancy. If you don’t have the capacity to sift through this many CVs and covering letters, consider hiring an HR specialist so you only have to read the very best.

  • Make Your Job Ads Stand Out

Increased recruitment competition means job adverts need to be accurate yet enticing to attract the best people. Get the right words on the page and convey what makes your business great to work for to cut through the noise.

  • Provide Competitive Total Reward

When candidates can find another role at the click of a mouse, you need to be able compete. Competitive pay and benefits, a great working culture, flexible working, training and development. It’s all important in attracting candidates and retaining employees. Particularly when you consider that some individuals are probably being contacted multiple times a year by recruiters. Review your package to ensure you’re competitive in comparison to the area you want to recruit from.

  • Control Your Firm’s Online Presence

Managing your firm’s reputation was easy when you only had a website to consider. Now you need to control your presence across a number of different platforms so that future employees see what you want when they check you out.

  • Use Social for Added Candidate Insight

Yes, candidates can and will check your business out. But this works both ways. 11% of firms check social to get a more rounded view of a candidate, mainly at the application and interview stages.

  • Don’t Rely on Social for Diversity and Inclusion

Social has levelled the playing field by aredicating the need for an old boys’ network. However, things aren’t as rosy as you might think. Did you know that 80% of LinkedIn users are caucasian? Rely solely on social media for your recruitment and you could be missing out on diverse talent.

Social media has significantly changed the face of recruitment. Organisations can now source potential candidates from a global recruitment pool that also includes passive candidates.

Businesses who are on the social media front foot have greater opportunity to find the right mix of skills, experience and personality for their vacancies. Those who don’t will miss out.

Get your business on the right side of social media history by contacting Crosse HR on 0330 555 1139 or at hello@crossehr.co.uk.