Posted by Robert Half on 05 March 2017
In effect, every new employee is on probation.
With that in mind, remember that this is more importantly an opportunity to prove you are an asset to the organisation.
While your resume and interview performance has provided the hiring manger the confidence in your skills and expertise, a probation period is an opportunity for them to evaluate your performance on a day-to-day level within the role. A probation period is also an opportunity for professionals to test out the role for themselves and see if it meets their expectations.
Take a look at our seven tips to sail through your probation and become a permanent member of your employer’s team.
1. Be clear on what’s expected of you
It’s hard to do a good job if you are unsure about what is expected of you. Don’t make assumptions. If there is anything you are unsure about, ask for clarification. The more you get right, the more appealing you are to the boss and your co-workers.
Ask your boss for key performance indicators (KPIs), a full job description, regular feedback and someone to help with your onboarding into the role. The more responsibility you take for getting it right, the better you look to the higher-ups.
2. Avoid making special requests during your probation period
Avoid asking for special treatment unless there is a very compelling reason. A family emergency or a serious health issue may be fair grounds to request time off but asking for leave just because you haven’t had a vacation for 12 months is not going to cut it with your employer. Requests for transfers, leave or anything out of the ordinary can wait until you have officially become a permanent employee.
Now also isn't the time to be asking for extended holidays, an internal transfer or racking up sick days unless you have serious health issue or a family emergency. If you haven’t had a holiday for three years, that’s your problem.
3. Don’t challenge the boss
It’s great to show initiative but it’s another thing altogether to take on your employer, assert your rights or question management decisions. Now is not the time to rock the boat. Focus on doing a great job and demonstrating your ability to work productively.
While some managers will be eager to hear your thoughts and insights as you get to grips with your new role, keep these criticisms to yourself until you are confident you understand why things are done in a certain way.
4. Get along with your colleagues
The ability to work as part of a team is critical in today’s workplace – more so when you are on probation. The boss may turn to co-workers for feedback towards your performance review when the time comes to deciding whether to offer you a permanent position.
So take some time to get to know your colleagues and get along with your fellow employees – their opinion of you will matter in the long run.
5. Skip the office politics
Until your position is secure, it doesn’t pay to take sides – you never know who you could offend or put offside. A probationary period is a time to concentrate on developing a squeaky clean reputation.
Your job is to be Switzerland – completely neutral on all issues – because you never know who you might be upsetting.
6. Bypass controversial topics
Surviving your probationary period will be a lot easier if you avoid controversial topics like politics, religion or gender. Now is not the time to be making public statements.
It’s fine to have strong views but save them for conversations with family and friends rather than your new work colleagues.
7. Don’t undermine colleagues
As an employee on probation you should be focusing on doing your own job well rather than competing with co-workers for a promotion or plum project.
Along with these key tips, keep in mind the basics that apply at all times:
Limit the number of personal calls you make during work hours: Don’t make comments about your job or colleagues on social media. And arrive at work each day in great shape and rearing to go to give yourself the best possible chance of receiving the tick of approval when your probation period expires.