You spotted a great opportunity that few others knew about, you got a great application in early, you nailed your interview, impressed the manager and landed the perfect job with a salary and benefits package to die for. On top of it, it seems like you have the best manager, in the world. Job done?
Not a chance. Once the honeymoon period is over, you will come back to reality and remember that, your job, like all jobs in this company, starts on a probation period and you need to perform well over the next 3 months for the dream to continue.
And, passing the probationary period should not be taken for granted, as according to a study from Wynhurst Group, ‘22% of staff turnover happens in the first 45 days of employment’. You don’t want end up like the latest star acquisition to a big sports team who flops and gets let go quietly on a free transfer in the close season.
So we’ve set out several tips to help you focus on hitting the ground running in your new job, so you can sail through your probationary period and work towards a long and fulfilling career.
1. Clarify Your Goals and understand what support is available.
You need to meet your goals if you are to pass your probation, so it is vital that you are clear on your goals. If you manager is not forthcoming with your probationary period goals, be proactive and ask the manager to provide you with your goals. This will create a good impression, and show the manager that your are motivated to succeed. Discuss the goals with your manager to ensure you understand what is required and clarify and confirm exactly what training and support will be available. This approach will give you the greatest chance of meeting/exceeding your goals.
2. Ask for an interim probationary review to assess progress against goals
If your manager does not do this automatically, then ask them for an interim probationary review meeting. Why? It means you can see how you are doing and if you are slightly off course, you have enough time to make corrections before you reach the final probationary review. This is a very important step.
3. Build Relationships and find out who the ‘Go to’ people are
Being able to develop and maintain strong working relationship is a key competency required by all employees looking to be an effective performer within a business. You need to be able to collaborate effectively with other staff members in order to achieve many of the goals you may have been set in your probationary period.
So one of your key activities during the probationary should be to introduce yourself to your key collaborators which should be internal and external customers, suppliers and colleagues. Attend any team social events and use them to network with and get to know your colleagues. This will help show you are a team player and provide you with a range of potential allies and ‘go to’ people.
4. Quick Wins
One way to make an impact in an organization during the probationary period is to make some ‘quick wins’. Being new to the organization you are ideally placed to diagnose organizational or department problems? Why, because you have a fresh pair of eyes and can see the wood for the trees in a way that existing employees may not be able to. It means that you are in a prime position to identify problems and potential improvements which existing employees may have become ‘blind’ to. Enhancements which could seem obvious to you as an outsider may not be on the radar of existing employees.
Therefore, allow yourself to find improvements, (for example, software that can automate a time consuming task) and then present it to your manager and see if they will allow the changes to be made. This kind of initiative will impress your boss and your colleagues too, if their jobs are made easier.
5. Build Your Reputation
First impressions last and it is vital that you engender trust by delivering what is required time and time again, on time, to budget and to specification. This will help you to build a strong reputation for delivery and meeting targets during your probationary period. It is vital that you build trust in your ability to deliver at all times, but especially in the probationary period as first impressions last and you will get far more return on your investment. So, if you have to work late or work at home to ensure you meet those goals, during your probationary period, then do it.
By following these tips you can create a strong impression during the probationary period and start laying the foundations for your longer term reputation in the business.