The Four Hour Probation

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A probation period is now seen as a normal course of business events. Some industries goes as far as “auditioning” or trialling for a job. We understand this is sometimes needed, especially when working through services to be offered so the potential applicant compliment the standards the company expects.

The one thing that should still be relevant, is that the standards of performance should be known and communicated. Probationary staff can not be expected to “guess” or “know” what the standards are. The guidelines and performance should be clear. In the case of brand new employees, some training expected.

Recently, I became aware of a friend of mine, whose son had been sent packing after just four hours. This is a young kid, and just into the workforce. Welcome to the real world son, seems to be the loud and clear message.

The reason? “too slow”. Four hours into a job and sent packing for being two slow. Some questions just need to be asked and were.

  • Was there a clear expectation?
  • Was this expectation communicated?
  • What training was provided in the four hours to support the new team member to reach the performance benchmark?

 How can anyone make a valid judgement in four hours, if even one of these is missing?

    We are becoming more aware of how to lead people, yet we still have leaders doing the wrong thing. And the results can be damaging for the business. In this instance, social media plays it’s role in sending the clear message about this business, although my friend did not mention them in any way, the same may not be said for their group of friends and friends of the young man who now have a business to stay away from.

    Leaders need to understand the roles they play in nurturing their people and the impact this has on the broader community around them. Impacts on the broader community, will create impacts on that business. Leaders need to look at more than just shareholders, but lead for all stakeholders. Stakeholders, not just shareholders.

    Many leaders still work to the theory that people are fundamentally lazy. Research indicates this is untrue, as engaged and developed team members want to deliver better performance. It is only when teams and employees are not motivated that we see the trends of boredom and laziness take hold. Showing people you care, moves you in the right direction as people buy into the leader, before they buy into the vision, the business or the goals of the business.

    On a side note, my friend applauded the General Manager for listening to her. There is a major difference between listening and hearing. Listening to me, is an action verb and the proof on whether listening occurred will ultimately land with action.

    What can you learn from this? Analyse your leaders and supervisors. Do they have standards and benchmarks? Do they communicate these to their teams? Do their teams hit thee benchmarks? Do your leaders treat your team as lazy and dumb, or do they believe they aim to hit the standards? Do you listen…or do you just hear?

    Tony Curl – Leadership Coach

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