Things to Consider When You’re On Probation

6 minute read

Starting a new job is an exciting experience. You put the work in, went on more interviews than you could count and finally found the perfect organisation to work for. Surely, that’s all the hard work done, right? Not necessarily. First, you need to pass your probation.

Your probationary period can be a stressful time. You’re getting to grips with a new environment, trying to learn new products and adapting to the company culture. Combine that with the tall task of having to remember everyone’s name and impress your boss—it’s a lot to take in in the first few weeks.

But probation is a normal part of any new job. It’s your chance to prove that just as good as they thought when they hired you, and it allows the organisation to assess whether you’re the most suitable person for the job. In other words, do your job well and you’ll be fine.

Need a few tips to help guide you in the right direction? Here are a few things to keep in mind during your probation.

Things to Consider When You’re On Probation

First, get to know how the organisation works

Every company operates differently. In smaller organisations, you’re more likely to be working closely with your colleagues (and probably sit right next to them). But in a larger office, you may have to set more meetings and deal with different stakeholders on every project.

It’s all about matching the flow and figuring out how your skills can help drive things in the right direction.

Get to know your colleagues straight away. They can offer valuable insight on how things work and provide support when you need it. If you’re naturally introverted, try to push yourself out of your comfort zone. The more friends you have, the less daunting things will seem. Meet everyone you can and make sure you understand what they each do and how this relates to your new job. Most importantly, get to know your manager.

 

 

Understand the ethos and policies

Working for a charity or social enterprise? Than ethos is a HUGE part of your organisation. Think about the company values and mission. What are you trying to achieve? And are you doing everything you can to be socially responsible?

Even if your company isn’t necessarily trying to save the world, it’s still important to know what really matters and how you can contribute to the greater good. Get to know the values of the new organisation and the company policies. It’s crucial to understanding what’s expected of you.

If this isn’t introduced to you in your induction (which it most likely will be), do a bit of digging and figure out what really matters to the company and the people that work there. Take, for example, Google’s inclusion statement:

“At Google, we don’t just accept difference — we celebrate it, we support it, and we thrive on it for the benefit of our employees, our products, and our community. Google is proud to be an equal opportunity workplace and is an affirmative action employer.”

Clearly, inclusivity is a big part of how they operate, so making sure you’re open and respectful of other cultures is important.

Every organisation is made up of different personalities. It’s an important life-skill to get along with different people and personalities, so be open and approachable to all and treat others as you wish to be treated. If you build a good relationship with your colleagues, you can get the best out of them.

Things to Consider When You’re On Probation

Don’t be afraid to own up to your mistakes

We can’t guarantee you won’t make any mistakes in your first few months. But it’s how you handle these mistakes that really defines the type of employee you are.

Always be honest and own up to the things you did wrong. Your probation is an adjustment period, and your colleagues understand that. The longer you’re there, the more comfortable you’ll be with the company and the way it operates. So don’t beat yourself up when you stumble—your employer will appreciate your honesty more than anything and will have respect for you from then on.

Mistakes do happen—take it as a valuable life experience, learn from it and move on.

 

Hold off on holiday and sick days

Not getting sick is easier said than done. But if you’re not actually bedridden, then it might be better to come into the office. That’s not to say that you should be walking around infecting your coworkers, but many organisations don’t offer paid sick days during probation. Find out what the policies are early on so you’ll know what to do if a sickness does come up during your probation.

The same goes for holidays—some companies may offer your holidays during your probation, some may not. But it’s probably best to hold off until you know you’ve passed. Remember, this is the time that you’re supposed to be learning and making your mark, so any time you take off is time that you’re not doing what you’re required to do. Your focus should be to show your employer that hiring you was the best decision they made. If you’re not there, your employer can’t see your hard work, skills and talent.

 

 

Always be positive and professional

Positivity can go a long way, especially when you’re the new person in the office.

It’s a well-known fact that being more positive in your behaviour, language and outlook makes room for greater success, satisfaction and reward in life. Positivity helps you engage and communicate with your colleagues and projects a good image of yourself to others, whilst showing your attributes and personality in the best light.

And speaking of good image, remember to keep things professional. If you’re involved in social gatherings with colleagues and alcohol is involved, BE VERY CAREFUL. All the good work you’ve been doing can too easily be undone by one careless comment or action under the influence of alcohol.

 

Be confident, not cocky

There’s a fine line between confidence and arrogance. They hired you because they saw potential. That doesn’t mean that you can do no wrong.

Don’t be afraid to voice your opinion, especially if you’re bringing a fresh perspective to the table. Just remember that your colleagues also bring their own experience and values, so all input needs to be considered and respected. It’s all about being part of the team but not overpowering them.

Make your mark early on. Never state the obvious, but always run things past your manager first, so that you know you’re on the right track in the early days. This also acts as an opportunity for you to show your boss what you’re made of.

Things to Consider When You’re On Probation

See, not so scary once you break it down. What it all comes down to is just getting comfortable with the new role and applying all your skills and experience to make the job your own. Don’t just try to copy what the last person who had the job before you did. Chances are, you’re equipped to do the job well, it’s all about proving it.

Got any other tips to share? Let us know in the comment section below.

Emma Begg

Product and Marketing Manager at CharityConnect. Love learning about new technology and helping to create a culture of collaboration over at www.charityconnect.co.uk

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