Reverse Probationary Period

I’ve been listening to friends, colleagues from both current company or previous companies, students, and people who asked me to discuss their condition in their workplaces. The pattern of their stories gave me several insights, especially about critical issues and points related to the necessity of designing and implementing a thorough relationship between and employee and a workplace.

One of my jobs as an HR practitioner is to observe how probationary period being implemented. I can help to provide policy and/or advise to leaders; however, not everything related to this can be really controlled as we’re dealing with human being. There are some interactions happened and accumulated within an individual (that we couldn’t control) which led him/her to several decisions that impacts team and organization.

I recently had a discussion with a mid-senior business practitioner who just moved to a new company. She shared some of her experiences on how she dealt with the dynamics of the new employer. Her profile is, to my opinion, impressive and full of amazing skills and experiences. Nevertheless, I saw that she actually has an issue with her direct leader (which usually happened) because of different perspective, expectation, and beliefs on how things should work. What made my conversation with her interesting was when she said to me, “I’ll see how things going in few weeks or months ahead, if things didn’t work between me and my leaders / team and organization, I’d prefer to explore other opportunities”.

Reverse – 2 ways process (pict:

It’s quite worrying if management, including HR practitioners, still think that probationary period is only 1-way process, from company to the employee. Nowadays, many employees do such a reverse probationary period as well. They ‘set a time’ to assess how their leaders and/or organization (incl. the values, culture, style, and policies they made) are suitable with their ‘zone of acceptance’ or not. By ‘zone of acceptance’, it’s not necessarily has to be 100% similar, but has some degree of tolerance.

I suppose employees who set such a probationary period for their leaders / organization would have such a confident to be adaptable in the marketplace (to be hired by other organization) – in this case, would be a lost for their leaders / organization.

Therefore, leaders and companies needs to also pay attention to this 2-ways probationary period if they want to make these employees stay. To understand each other better and set similar frequency of expectation, open communication has to be established. Although, if it’s related to a strong character of leaders whereas room for communication and improvement isn’t really available – such process might not take place.

If you’re an employee who set a probationary period for your leaders and organization, it’s also important to communicate your terms and condition for this period. However, in case you felt that your current leaders and organization wouldn’t be such a suitable place for you to grow now (with minimum chance to improve to accommodate your condition), you better make decision for the benefits of both yourself and the organization.


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