Newly hired employees and employees who transfer into a new position are subject to the Introductory Employment Period (IEP). The IEP begins on the first day of employment in the employee's new position and continues for six months (and may thereafter be extended).
Supervisors should meet periodically and on an as-needed basis with the employee to discuss performance expectations and responsibilities. The IEP offers an opportunity for the supervisor to assess the employee’s suitability for the position and whether the employee can successfully apply their skills and expertise to the new role or work environment.
Areas of competency that should be evaluated include the GW performance factors and other expectations for the position.
The university offers a number of online training resources for supervisors and employees to assist with learning new skills or refreshing existing skills.
Purpose of IEP
The IEP provides an opportunity for the supervisor and the employee to assess whether the employee is suitable for their new position and to make an initial assessment on the employee's likelihood of future success. The IEP does not alter the at-will nature of employment: employees or the university may end the employment relationship at any time, including prior to the end of the six-month IEP, and successful completion of the IEP does not guarantee continued employment.
The IEP applies to all benefits-eligible staff employees, except librarians who fall under the Code for Librarians. If there is a direct conflict between this guidance and an applicable collective bargaining agreement, the collective bargaining agreement will prevail.
The following provides a framework and helpful suggestions for supervisors to assist the employee during the IEP.
Supervisors should discuss performance expectations and responsibilities with the employee even though formal goals are not required. Supervisors may use the Clarifying Expectations Tool to facilitate this process. The IEP offers an opportunity for the supervisor to assess the employee's suitability for the position and whether the employee can successfully apply his or her skills and expertise to the new role or work environment. GW performance factors and other expectations for the position should be evaluated; supervisors may refer to online resources available in the Professional Growth section of the HR website.
Within First Month
- The employee should have a copy of his/her position description. Supervisors should make sure to address any questions employees may have about the position description. The first month is a period to get to know key members of the employee's unit and for the unit to get to know the employee.
- Supervisors and employees should proactively engage in regular communication to clarify performance expectations. Priorities can change, so regular communication to ensure the employee understands expectations is key to the employee successfully completing the IEP.
- The employee should review GW's key performance factors as well as GW's Values. Supervisors should ensure that employees understand the performance factors and answer any questions employees may have on how they are being evaluated.
- Supervisors should encourage the employee to follow the guidance on the “Preparing for Your First Day” and “In Your First 30 Days” webpages.
Within First 90 Days
- The employee and supervisor should meet for an informal discussion around day 90 (halfway through the IEP) to discuss the employee's progress toward meeting performance expectations.
Within First 180 Days
- The employee and supervisor should continue to engage in regular communication about the employee's performance. Supervisors should give the employee feedback on his/her performance and make clear any areas in which the employee could improve as well as areas in which the employee is performing well.
The IEP is intended to assess the employee's suitability for the position and current and future success in the role. At any point during the IEP, managers or employees may engage with their HR Representative to discuss the IEP process as well as any questions or concerns. The university also offers a number of online training resources for supervisors and employees to assist with learning new skills or refreshing existing skills.
Supervisors may consider if there are performance issues, including:
- Excessive absenteeism and tardiness
- Inability to successfully build relationships with team members or other stakeholders
- Failure to complete assigned tasks or fulfill responsibilities in an effective manner, which may include incomplete work, inattentiveness to timelines, lack of follow through, lack of prioritizing or poor decision making
- Disruptive behavior
- Lack of ownership of areas in the employee's scope of responsibility
Supervisors who have concerns about suitability, future success or performance issues during the IEP should do the following:
- Promptly inform the employee regarding any concerns, including:
- Explaining the performance concerns
- Identifying the skills and competencies not being met
- Clarifying expectations
Notify your HR Representative of serious or ongoing concerns. Your HR Representative is available to provide you with guidance about how best to provide employees with feedback.
Supervisors should document communications advising the employee of the issue(s). Documentation could take the form of an email or memorandum to the employee or notes reflecting a conversation. For available Performance Counseling templates, managers may contact their HR Representative.
There may be instances of performance or misconduct where immediate termination is appropriate. Consult with your HR Representative regarding any decision about whether the employee should continue for the duration of the IEP, or separate from employment. Any actions to separate an employee during the IEP must be reviewed and approved by your HR Representative.
Under certain circumstances it may be appropriate to extend the IEP to provide the supervisor with additional time to assess the employee's performance and likelihood of future success in the role. Examples that might warrant an extension of the IEP are:
- The employee's supervisor changed during the IEP
- The employee's role is modified to include new duties
- The employee is on approved extended leave
- The employee may have experienced performance issues but has demonstrated, in the judgment of the supervisor, improvement that may require additional time to assess
The HR Representative must approve any extensions in advance of notification of the employee.
Successful Completion of the IEP
When an employee has successfully completed the IEP, the supervisor should:
- Complete the IEP form,
- Schedule a meeting with the employee to discuss performance and to develop goals for the annual performance management process, and
- Submit the completed form to the HR Representative.
The employee should collaborate with the supervisor on setting goals for the annual performance management process.
Unsuccessful Completion of the IEP
The supervisor's recommendation that the IEP was not completed successfully must be reviewed and approved by the HR Representative. Unsuccessful completion may result in either extension of the IEP (for the reasons identified above) or termination of employment, as agreed upon by the supervisor and HR representative.
Rice Hall, Suite 101
2121 Eye Street NW
Washington, DC 20052