Introductory Employment Period Content

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).

Purpose

The IEP provides an opportunity for the supervisor and the employee to assess whether the employee is suitable for his or her new position and to make an initial assessment on the employee's likelihood of future success in his or her new position. The IEP does not alter the at-will nature of employment, meaning, 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.

IEP Applicability

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 Employee's Role during the IEP

The following provides a framework and helpful suggestions to assist the employee during the IEP.

Within First Month

  • The employee should have a copy of his or her position description and outline any areas where he or she may have questions. 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.
  • The employee should proactively engage his or her supervisor in regular communication to clarify the performance expectations. Priorities can change so having regular communication with the supervisor is key in successfully completing the IEP.
  • The employee should review GW's key performance factors as well as GW's Values.
  • The employee should follow the guidance in the “Learn” section of the “On Your First Day” and “In Your First 30 Days” webpages.

Within First Three Months

  • The employee should schedule an informal discussion with his or her supervisor around day 90 (halfway through the IEP) to discuss the employee's progress toward meeting performance expectations.

Within First Six Months

  • The employee should continue to engage his or her supervisor in regular communication about his or her performance. An employee should not hesitate to ask for feedback on how he or she is doing.

The Supervisor's Role 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 on the Workplace Learning & Development website.

Performance Counseling during the IEP

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 the HR representative of serious or ongoing concerns. The HR representative is available to provide supervisors 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. 

There may be instances of performance or misconduct where immediate termination is appropriate. Consult with the 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 the HR representative.

Extension of the IEP

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.  

Completion of the IEP

Successful Completion of the IEP

  • Supervisor:  When an employee has successfully completed the IEP, the supervisor should (i) complete the IEP form, (ii) schedule a meeting with the employee to discuss performance and to develop goals for the annual performance management process, and (iii) submit the completed form to the HR representative.
  • Employee:  The employee should collaborate with the supervisor on setting goals for the annual performance management process. Review the Goal Agreement and follow the guidance on the Goal Setting page.

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.