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  • Writer's pictureSarah Butler

Successfully Pass The Probation Period At Your New Job

Starting a new job is an exciting experience, but it can also be nerve-wracking, especially if you have a probation period. A probation period is a trial period where you are expected to prove yourself to the organisation and show that you are the right fit for the job.


Here are some tips to help you successfully pass your probation period and impress your new employer.


Make a good first impression

We all know that first impressions last and you never get a second chance to make a first impression. So dress and groom the part - remember if you are unsure how to dress then elevate to one notch higher than you think. Work on your body language to appear open and approachable and introduce yourself to all your come across with your full name and position. Don't take unplanned or unexplained absences - especially in your first few weeks and if you do need some time off, be upfront and explain honestly to your manager why it's needed and how you will make up for it.


Clarify expectations

Make sure you understand your employer's expectations for your probation period. Ask questions to clarify what is required and how your performance will be evaluated. What are the implications if you don't meet KPIs during the probation period? What does success look like in your role? How long is the probation period? Will you need to regularly report to your manager or will you undergo regular reviews? If so by whom and what will be reviewed? Understanding these expectations will help you focus your efforts and avoid unproductive activities that don't push the needle towards your KPIs.


Know and understand the organisation's policies & procedures

You will likely be introduced to many company policies and procedures at the outset including items like a Code of Conduct and procedures for doing your job. Ideally you would be taken through these documents during an induction process. If this is the case then ensure you use the opportunity to clarify the expectations they contain. If not, then take it upon yourself to query with your manager or the HR department about the policies, procedures, compliance, and legislative requirements that are relevant to you and adhere to them.


Be punctual & reliable

One of the most important things to do during your probation period is to show that you are dependable. Make sure you arrive on time for work and for meetings, complete your tasks on time, and communicate proactively if you have any delays. Being punctual and reliable will help build your credibility and demonstrate your commitment to the job and the people you work with. Even better, show your enthusiasm by being a little early or staying slightly later than required.


Take initiative

During your probation period, it's essential to show that you are proactive and willing to take on new challenges. Don't wait for your manager to give you tasks; look for opportunities to contribute and take on additional responsibilities. This shows that you are enthusiastic about the job, the contribution you can make to your team, and eager to make a positive impact. Find opportunities to shine by going above and beyond what is expected, holding yourself to the best possible standards, and offering help to your colleagues if they are busy. Making your manager and colleagues' lives easier will ensure you stand out for the right reasons.


Seek feedback

Don't wait until the end of your probation period to receive feedback. Seek feedback from your manager and colleagues regularly, and use it to improve your performance. This also shows that you are receptive to constructive criticism and committed to your professional development.


Learn from your mistakes

Mistakes happen, but it's how you learn from them that counts. Own up to your manager straight away if a mistake is made - the sooner the better and then take responsibility for them. Be appreciative of any assistance you are given. Use what you learn to improve your performance and avoid repeating the same errors. Don't be too tough on yourself - we all make mistakes and you cannot expect to know or understand everything straight away, no matter how frustrating that may be.


Don't push the boundaries

While it is never a good time to take advantage of your workplace, during your probation is certainly not it. Stay well within the rules and don't abuse the benefits you may be given. For example, don't use the colour printer for your own personal printing, don't sneak out early or take long breaks because no one is watching, save social media activity for your own time, and don't chat excessively to colleagues about non-work topics.


Be organised

Being organised at work is important when trying to successfully pass your probation period in a new job because it demonstrates reliability: Being organised helps you to meet deadlines, keep track of tasks, and prioritise work effectively. This shows your employer that you are dependable and can be trusted to complete assigned tasks in a timely and efficient manner.


Being organised can help you to avoid mistakes and errors that can be costly for your employer. This can help you to demonstrate your attention to detail and your commitment to producing high-quality work.


Be a team player

Showing that you are a team player is crucial to passing your probation period successfully. Be willing to collaborate with your colleagues, and be open to learning from them. Participate in team activities, share your ideas, and help your colleagues when needed. This shows that you are committed to their success and culture.


Be proactive in seeking help

If you are struggling with your workload or are unsure about something, don't be afraid to ask for help. Be proactive in seeking assistance from your colleagues or manager. This shows that you are committed to improving your performance and that you are willing to learn.


If you are unsure about how to do something, it is better to ask for help rather than risk making a mistake. Making mistakes can be costly for your employer, and can also damage your reputation as a reliable and competent employee.


While it is important to ask for help when you need it, it is also important to demonstrate initiative and problem-solving skills. When you ask for help, be sure to also propose potential solutions or ideas for how to resolve the issue. This can help you to demonstrate your ability to think critically and creatively, which can be valuable for your long-term success in the role.


Manage upwards

Find out your manager's preferences when it comes to communication. Do they prefer to be emailed or updated face-to-face? Do they want to receive frequent updates or just a check-in periodically? What do they need to do to succeed in their role and how can you help them with that? Don't let anything take them by surprise, so let them know when things are on track and flag to them early if you are unsure about something. Make it easy for them to manage you.


Build your networks

Building a network within your organisation is invaluable - it can enhance your visibility and make it easier to collaborate, share knowledge, establish relationships, and learn about different parts of the organisation and the company culture. Some organisations may partner you with a 'buddy'; or a mentor - if so then make the most of this opportunity by staying in close contact and learning as much as possible from them - the technical aspects of your position and also the unwritten rules of the company culture.


Take the initiative to get to know your coworkers by introducing yourself and make the effort to form relationships by joining them on breaks or just taking a few minutes for a casual chat. Have a reputation for being friendly (even with difficult coworkers) by acknowledging all you come across - even if you don't know them.


Above all, show respect for others and avoid engaging in gossip and office politics.


Stay positive

Finally, it's essential to maintain a positive attitude during your probation period, even if things get challenging. Show resilience in the face of setbacks, and remain focused on your goals. When you approach challenges with a positive mindset, you are more likely to find creative solutions and overcome obstacles.


Having a good attitude helps you to build positive relationships with your colleagues and superiors. When you are approachable, friendly, and positive, you create that positivity in your work environment and that will be noticed by others.


Above all, having a positive attitude shows your employer that you are willing to learn and grow in your new role. This can make them more likely to invest in your development and support your success past the probation period.


Know the company culture

Learning about a company's culture is essential to ensure that you fit in and feel comfortable in your new job. Not only that, but not fitting in with company culture can be one of the biggest reasons for failing to make it past your probation period. Culture is different from organisation to organisation so take the time to understand the culture of yours; adapt what you do and how you do to fit in wherever possible. Here are some tips to assist:


Observe

Pay attention to the way people interact with each other in the office. Observe how people dress, communicate, and socialise. This can give you an idea of the company's culture and how people behave in the workplace.


Ask questions

Don't be afraid to ask questions about the company's culture. Ask your manager, colleagues, or HR about the company's values, work environment, and social activities. Asking questions shows that you are interested in the company's culture and that you want to fit in.


Participate in social activities

Participating in social activities such as team-building activities, events, or volunteering can help you get to know your colleagues and the company's culture better. Social occasions can also provide an opportunity to build relationships and demonstrate your commitment to the team and the company's culture.


Read company materials

Read organisational materials such as the employee handbook, company newsletters, and other relevant documents. This can give you an idea of the company's policies, values, and expectations.


Research the company

Research the company's history, mission statement, and values. This can give you an idea of the company's overall vision and how it fits into the industry. Understanding the company's vision and values can help you align your work with the company's goals and values.


Learn from your colleagues

Talk to your colleagues about their experiences with the company's culture. Ask them for tips on how to fit in and succeed in the company. This can help you build relationships and understand the company's culture from a different perspective.


Wrapping up

Successfully passing your probation period in a new job can be challenging, but it is also an opportunity to demonstrate your skills, build relationships with your colleagues, and position yourself for long-term success.


By following the tips outlined in this article, such as being organised, asking for help, having good communication skills, and having a good attitude, you can increase your chances of successfully passing your probation period.


Remember to stay focused, stay positive, and be open to learning and growing in your new job. With dedication, hard work, and a willingness to learn, you can achieve your goals and succeed in your new role.

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