Celebrating 20 Years in Business • 2004 - 2024

Employment Probation Is Stale and Out of Date

In theory, a brief probation period allows both employee and employer to familiarize themselves with each other and learn the ground rules. Many newbies resign before their first 90 days have elapsed. How can you work around this?

What’s in a name?

Probation began in the days of union dominance as a measure to protect employers temporarily from termination requirements of collective bargaining agreements. Union job holders may still forgo certain grievance procedures during probation months.

In today’s labor environment, probation is next to meaningless. The relationship between worker and employer operates “at will” in all states except Montana. That means either party may terminate it at any time and for any lawful reason. In most other countries, employees can only be fired for cause. In the U.S., legislators have made the calculus that increased flexibility outweighs job security.

In reality, the rights and restrictions of both new workers and employers differ very little from those affecting regular employees. All are still covered by the applications of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1928, including key elements such as minimum wages, discrimination and workers’ compensation.

There are a host of other names for the concept, some designed to sound less intimidating. Probation may be labeled as orientation, training, initiation, eligibility or an introductory period, but the underlying principles are similar. The period usually spans one to six months, most commonly 90 days, and can be extended if necessary.

During probation, companies can still fire and workers can quit. And employers cannot avoid wrongful termination lawsuits just because the probation is ongoing; employees gain no added security after probation, although some misconstrue their status to believe they do.

Diluting trust and goodwill

Does probation give employers a better shake than employees? Is it a ploy to counter ineffective hiring? Are companies taking advantage?

Workers may not have access to a few benefits during probation. For example, if the company decides to let them go, they may lose eligibility for their new employer’s unemployment benefits. Some firms also delay health insurance or pay smaller benefits. In addition, recent hires may not receive their full sign-on bonuses.

Other than relatively minor delays, the main downside is an erosion of trust from the git-go — a moment when firms are eager to impress employees with the cohesion of their office culture. On one hand, management is paying lip service to the myth that these newly engaged team members are joining a big, friendly corporate family. On the other, it can be uncomfortable to still feel unproven during evaluations. Companies might also lose out if the stigma associated with a probation period discourages talented candidates from applying. In particular, someone who might need to relocate from another city may be less inclined to risk an upheaval in their life. Others may continue to keep alternative job applications open, just in case.

Managers contend that the trial time does provide concrete advantages for serious employees. They would argue that the new hires will be receiving extra support, attention, training and feedback during onboarding, including weekly performance evaluations and check-ins. It can be unsettling, they say, to drift in limbo at a new job, so an introductory stage encourages management to pay extra attention to starting workers’ needs.

Facilitating the process

When organizations remain committed to probationary trials, management can follow a few guidelines, such as:

  • Applying practices consistently with no exceptions.
  • Consulting an attorney to ensure the policies are properly drafted and implemented.
  • Establishing a paper trail if you must fire someone, in case your reasons are challenged as unfair dismissal.
  • Including a disclaimer in the employee handbook, and always using clear language in defining at-will employment and termination.

On a personal level, managers who hope to construct a positive relationship with their new employees may gain extra points by leveling with them. Suggest to them that they should regard probation as a formality, not a make-or-break test. Add that if they make genuine efforts, their probation status won’t make much difference.


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Emily Gooding

Payroll Specialist

Emily is graduating in May with a BA in Business Administration from Lander University. She has gained valuable experience as a payroll intern for BMW. We are so excited to have her on the team and  to see her excel in her role as a Payroll Specialist.

Madison Capps​

Payroll Specialist

Madison received a BS in Psychology from Southern Illinois University in 2019. Since then, she has been working as a supervisor at Starbucks and earning her second degree, a BA in Administration and Accounting, from USC Aiken in the fall. She will be joining us as a Payroll Specialist and a valuable addition to our Paysmart team.

Kristen Wilby

Payroll Specialist

Before moving to South Carolina with her husband, Kristen worked as a Sales & Marketing Specialist for Premium King in Feasterville, PA, where she gained valuable experience in strengthening the brand and generating new business. Kristen also brings to our team several years of professional experience as an Executive Assistant and as an Office Manager, where she was first introduced to payroll. Kristen’s knowledge and her innate ability to establish genuine relationships contribute greatly to the team as we continue to grow and serve our clients.

Meg Whitaker

Payroll Specialist

Meg brings nearly twenty years of professional experience to the team. Most recently, she worked as a Payroll & Benefits Specialist in Centennial, Colorado. She and her husband recently moved back to the Carolinas for his job, and we were fortunate to find her! Before Colorado, Meg worked at CPI Security Systems in Charlotte, NC, for twelve years as a Billing Coordinator and Senior Administrative Assistant. She also gained three years of experience as an HR Assistant for a law firm in Fayetteville, NC. Her expertise significantly adds to our team and benefits our clients as we continue to grow!

Rachel McClaran, EA


Rachel plays a crucial role in developing Paysmart’s core processes and procedures, as well as overall strategy within the company. Rachel graduated from Bob Jones University and is an active member of the Junior League of Greenville and the South Carolina Association of CPAs. Her desire to serve her community has led her to become involved with several nonprofit organizations and to serve as the past Vice President of Finance for the Junior League of Greenville. Outside of the office,Rachel enjoys spending time on the water and traveling with her husband and their two children.

Hina Rogers

Payroll Specialist

Hina joined the Paysmart team in August 2022. She grew up in Portland, Oregon, before moving to Greenville, SC. She earned both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in education. After college, she represented her alma mater as an enrollment counselor in the Southeast and Western states. She enjoys traveling, road trips, cooking, and quality time with her family. Hina looks forward to serving your company’s needs! 

Sharon Quantrille

Payroll Specialist

Sharon has spent several years in the accounting industry and has completed courses to hone her skills as a Payroll Specialist. Her background as an educator, professional musician, and Human Resources Generalist has contributed to her communication skills, commitment to professionalism, and organizational skills that make her a tremendous benefit to her Paysmart clients and colleagues. A graduate of Bob Jones University with a B.S. degree in Music Education, a Master of Music degree in Piano Performance and a Human Resources Generalist Certificate, Sharon spends her free time gardening, hiking, playing the piano, and spending time with her four adult children.

Haleigh Bates

Payroll Specialist

Haleigh joined our team in May of 2022 as a payroll specialist. Haleigh has over eight years of experience helping personal and small business clients with their financial needs. She received her Bachelor’s Degree from Georgia Southern University. She enjoys spending time with her husband and their three children, Caden, Addie, and Mason.  She likes to go hiking, spend time at the beach, and volunteer at her church in the children’s ministry. 

Courtney Rossello

Payroll Tax Manager

Courtney joined the team at Paysmart Payroll Services in September 2020.  She was raised in Simpsonville, SC, and graduated from Clemson University in 2009 with a bachelor’s degree in political science and a concentration in public administration.  Courtney began her payroll career in 2011 and currently works in the payroll tax department at Paysmart.  She strives to make every client feel comfortable knowing their payroll taxes and tax returns are handled accurately and efficiently.  Courtney is also a volunteer Treasurer for a local middle school in Greenville County.  In her spare time, she enjoys volunteering with special needs children, road trips, and spending time with her two daughters. 

Emily Hargrave

Senior Payroll Specialist

Emily received her bachelor’s degree in music from West Coast Baptist College. Since her college days, Emily has gained nearly 18 years of experience in office operations and project management. Emily joined Paysmart in 2017 and enjoys using her skills to support clients and the Paysmart team.

 At heart, Emily is a small-town country girl from the Midwest but is happy now to call the Upstate home, where she doesn’t have to endure harsh winters. Emily’s favorite ways to spend her free time are reading a good book, challenging herself with puzzles, and doing her best not to kill the plants in her garden.

Julie Shull

Client Success Specialist

Julie is the Client Success Specialist for Paysmart Payroll.  She joined the team as a Payroll Specialist in March of 2020. She received her Bachelor of Science degree from NC State University and earned an MBA from Gardner-Webb University while playing on the GWU women’s tennis team. After starting her career with Wilson Sporting Goods as a Financial Analyst, she took a few years off to raise twin boys until she began working for Greenville County Schools in 2014.  Julie enjoys spending time with her family and outdoor activities.

Brad Detandt

Payroll Administrator

A graduate of Northland International University with a BA in Counseling, Brad Detandt leads the day-to-day operations of the Paysmart team. He is eager to grow the firm’s client portfolio. He brings a diverse employment background in retail, manufacturing, nonprofit ministries, and business development, with
a specialized focus on team development and process improvement. Brad’s professional – and personal – mission is to “Be Great. Serve!” Brad enjoys spontaneous activities and weekend trips to state parks with his wife Miranda and his three children.

Stephen C. Stokes

Managing Partner

Stephen has more than 14 years’ experience working with individuals and businesses to meet their tax, accounting, and payroll needs. He has been the managing partner of Paysmart Payroll Services since January 2009. He is a licensed certified public accountant in South Carolina and Georgia. Stephen is also a member of the South Carolina Association of CPAs, the Georgia Society of CPAs, the American Institute of CPAs, and the Professional Association of Small Business Accountants. He has a bachelor’s degree from Bob Jones University and a master’s degree from Georgia State University. Stephen was born and raised near Atlanta, Georgia and moved to Greenville, South Carolina, several years ago. He enjoys spending time with his wife, Tiffani, and daughters, Madeline and Julianna. He is actively involved in his church and enjoys reading, sports, and other outdoor activities.