Orientation & Evaluation Period Policy

Policy Statement

When an individual begins work as a regular staff member at Duke, a required 90-calendar day orientation and evaluation period must be successfully completed. The staff member’s orientation and evaluation period starts on his or her first day of regular employment and lasts until the staff member has completed 90 consecutive calendar days of regular employment status.

During this time, the staff member determines whether or not the position meets his or her expectations, and the supervisor determines whether or not the staff member possesses the knowledge, skills and necessary competencies to perform satisfactorily. This period is a time for frequent communication between the supervisor and staff member regarding performance expectations. During this 90-day period, a staff member accrues Paid Time Off or vacation, sick leave, and holiday time. However, the staff member is not eligible to use time off except on designated holidays or if the severe weather policy is activated until after the 90 day period. Upon successfully completing the 90-day orientation and evaluation period, staff will be eligible to use the dispute-resolution process.

Policy Details

Supervisor's Role

The supervisor plays a very important role in ensuring the new staff member’s success during the orientation process. Supervisors are usually the first to have contact with the new staff member and are often the most influential in the development of a new staff member's attitudes and impressions. The time spent developing and implementing plans for the staff member’s first months on the job will greatly increase the chance for a successful start.

Throughout the orientation and evaluation period of a staff member, a supervisor should observe and monitor performance and provide timely feedback. The staff member should also regularly seek advice, counsel, and feedback on his or her performance.

Applicability

A 90-calendar day orientation and evaluation period is required upon initial employment as a regular, full-time, abbreviated schedule or part-time staff member at Duke.

Other staff who are obligated to serve an orientation and evaluation period include:

  • staff who are returning to work from at least a 6-month break in service, and
  • temporary staff who are appointed to regular full-time or part-time positions.

Staff who are transferring from one regular position to another regular position without a break- in-service are required to serve a trial period.

Starting a New Job at Duke

During the first 90-calendar days of employment at Duke, supervisors should carefully evaluate a staff member’s performance, behavior, and potential for job success. Since the orientation and evaluation period is only 90-calendar days, supervisors should not expect a new staff member to function and operate at full efficiency or performance on the job.

The supervisor should perform the following introductory tasks for all new staff members:

  • Advise staff member on activating his/her NetID and the creation of a NetID password to gain access to Duke’s many computing resources.
  • Register the new staff member for the New Staff Member Welcoming event presented by the Office of Human Resources. Supervisors should ensure that new staff attend the event within 30 days of their start date. The event covers Duke's history, mission, organizational structure, values, programs, services, and conveniences available to Duke staff. The welcoming event will also provide the new staff member the opportunity to sign up for benefits.
  • Complete a review of the Duke Staff Handbook as well as all relevant entity or department policies and procedures.
  • Provide an explanation for the purpose of the 90-calendar day orientation and evaluation period for the new staff member on the first day of work.
  • Complete a review of the New Staff Member Orientation and Evaluation Checklist – a plan for completing all orientation and evaluation actions during the 90-calendar day orientation period.
  • Review Duke@Work, a self-service website that offers staff the ability to view and update their personnel information at Duke and encourage the use of direct deposit.
  • Assign a co-worker to offer advice and guidance to help foster and promote the orientation of the new staff member. The co-worker should “know the ropes” of the new position and should be able to be an effective source of advice and encouragement. The co-worker should also be able to offer seasoned experience in the form of workplace training and socialization. With an effective co-worker, the new staff member should be able to become a contributing member of the department more quickly.
  • Provide the new staff member with a copy of his or her job description and an explanation of workplace expectations, performance expectations in the new position, reporting relationships, pay schedules, and methods of payment.
  • Provide training that describes the specific performance, duties, and responsibilities of the position.
  • Ensure staff complete online safety training before the end of their 90-day orientation and evaluation period.

Even though a new staff member will accrue paid time off (with the short-term bank or vacation leave, and sick leave) during the Orientation and Evaluation Period, no paid time off may be taken during this 90-calendar day period unless the department or office is closed for a designated and/or recognized holiday or during a period declared as severe weather or emergency.

Completion of the Orientation and Evaluation Period

Supervisors must evaluate the staff member during the orientation and evaluation period. A performance review should be initiated within the first 15 days of hire. The supervisor should obtain and complete an Orientation and Evaluation Period Review Form. Upon obtaining the form, the supervisor and staff member should meet to discuss performance and determine whether the staff member is performing at his or her expected level of performance during the orientation and evaluation period.

The form must be signed and dated by both the supervisor and staff member. The staff member and his or her department must then each retain a copy of the signed and dated form. The review form should be completed before the 90th calendar day of the orientation and evaluation period.

A decision should be made by the supervisor to recommend:

  • successful completion of the review period,
  • extension of the review period for 30 days, or
  • discharge because of unsuccessful completion of the review period.

Any extension or discharge must be reviewed with the entity/department HR leader and a representative of Staff and Labor Relations at least 14 calendar days before the end of the 90 calendar day period.

Extension of the Orientation and Evaluation Period

In some cases, 90 days is not a sufficient period of time to evaluate the suitability of a new hire. In these rare situations, a (maximum) 30-day extension of the orientation and evaluation period is available to supervisors. Such extensions are only appropriate when - without this action - the staff member would be terminated.

Supervisors who feel that this additional time period could result in the staff member successfully meeting the performance requirements of the position should take advantage of the extension. A supervisor’s department head must approve the request for an extension at least 14 calendar days prior to the end of the staff member’s 90-calendar day orientation and evaluation period. To discuss an extension of the orientation and evaluation period, supervisors should contact the entity or department Human Resources representative or a representative of Staff and Labor Relations. The extension agreement should be in writing and should be signed by both the staff member and supervisor.

Termination of Employment During the Orientation and Evaluation Period

If the new staff member and his or her supervisor are not fully confident of the suitability of the recent placement and/or performance during the orientation and evaluation period, either party may terminate the employment relationship without prior notice. For example, a supervisor may terminate a staff member during this period after discussing (1) the performance or behavioral issues with the staff member and providing an opportunity for success; and (2) the individual’s lack of adaptation to or suitability for the position in question with the entity or department Human Resources representative or a Staff and Labor Relations representative. This contact must be made as early as possible but must be made at least 14 calendar days prior to the end of the 90-calendar day orientation and evaluation period and before any discussion of termination with the staff member in question.

New staff are not eligible to use the dispute resolution process during the 90-day orientation and evaluation period unless the issue involves an allegation of discrimination. Staff will be eligible to use the dispute-resolution process after successful completion of the orientation and evaluation period. Staff who resign or are terminated during the initial orientation and evaluation period are not eligible to be paid for any accrued but unused paid time off in the form of short-term bank, vacation, sick leave, or holiday.

Depending on the reason(s) for termination, a new staff member may be eligible for rehire at Duke following the termination. This issue must be discussed with the entity or department Human Resources representative or a representative of Staff and Labor Relations prior to the completion of the Termination Form.

Additional Resources

If there are questions or concerns regarding performance expectations and accomplishments or questions around a staff member’s employment status, staff are encouraged to present such questions to their immediate supervisor, department manager, entity/department Human Resources representative, or they may call Human Resources, Staff and Labor Relations at 684-2808 or 684-5557 for assistance.

Additionally, concerns or questions regarding harassment or discrimination may be directed to the Office for Institutional Equity at 684-8222. For staff whose jobs are covered by collective bargaining agreements, they may wish to contact the appropriate union steward.

Policy Number: 02.07

Categories

Recruitment, Hiring, & Transferring Policy