How to Excel During Your Probationary Period

How to Excel During Your Probationary Period
JobStreet content teamupdated on 17 March, 2023

Congratulations, you have been accepted to work at a new company!

As a new employee, the first level you have to pass is your probation period. It’s like a test drive period that every company runs to check your adequacy to work there.

No pressure, but this is a crucial phase, because all eyes are on you! The new kid, whose CV and interview went brilliantly, is expected to prove yourself with the best performance. If you show your greater potential, then you will be appointed as a permanent employee.

Tips for Passing Probation

Your probationary period is really your “make or break”, but don’t sweat it – we’ve got some tips on how you can pass it, better yet, ace it! So start taking down notes:

1. Go the extra mile

Basically this is something that all employers want, but few employees do. In principle, the professional world is a world full of responsibilities. You are fully responsible for the work assigned to you. But does going the extra mile means to ask for more than what’s already on your plate?

Sure, you can start helping others with their work once you’ve finished everything that’s  on your plate. And by doing so, you are able to learn things outside of your job scope, to grow your skill and knowledge. By doing so, you’ll give the impression that you are the new kid who’s not just performing, but also has good work ethics and a great learning mindset!

2. Get to know your colleagues

Always remember: There’s no “I” in “Team”. That’s right, you have a team with whom you work with on a day-to-day basis. And as a new employee, you should get to know them!

But maybe, socialising with co-workers has its difficulties. Especially with your superiors. Differences in status or position can act as social barriers. As a result, even casually chatting can be tense, because you’re worried about saying the wrong thing!

But here’s the thing … You don’t have to talk just about work, all the time! You can also bring up more personal conversational topics that occur in your daily lives outside of work. For example, talk about a football game or a movie you’ve just watched, or recommend that new restaurant you went to over the weekend. Your colleagues are people – they like to have fun, too!

If you feel that you’re not in a position to converse casually with your superior, that’s all good too. Just tell them about your college experience first. You might be surprised – Seniors are actually happy to hear and share their experiences when they were in college as well!

Assess your Progress Professionally

This is the ultimate question that is often a concern for new employees, especially those at a junior level: During probation, what exactly is being judged? Do they see the results of your work? Or do they judge by how fast your progress is in learning the ropes?

Let us answer this for you, once and for all: You are being judged on your progress in learning to work.

Learning to work can be understood as the process of a fresh graduate who is working at the junior level to enter and understand the world of professionals. Of course, you must understand that there are gaps that need to be filled when making the jump from full-time student into the world of full-time professionals.

For example, if you did an assignment or exam poorly in school, there is something called a remedial test. In college, you can just repeat the course.

But not in the working world. You can't simply do something carelessly, because every portion of your work is measured and judged! Every work revision you make is considered, especially in this probation period. Once again, all eyes are on you!

In essence, there are many things that you need to adjust during this trial period. Doing school or college assignments is certainly different from doing office tasks. And making friends in school or college is definitely different from making friends at work.

So, always be proactive, learn to work as best as you can, and get to know your co-workers better!

Understanding Key Performance Indicators (KPI)

There is one key thing that underlines the working world: Targets. In your work, including this probation period, you have a set of targets for you to achieve on a daily and monthly basis. This is where you can speak to your boss about the targets set for you, which is commonly known as KPIs – Key Performance Indicators.

KPIs are used to assess your performance goals. In the case of a new employee on probation, the company usually has indicators that they will use to assess the employee. This is to decide whether they will be converted to a permanent employee or not.

KPIs can be set against a SMART guide. What’s that? Well, they should be:

1. Specific

Your KPIs are of course specific to you and your role in your company. Always focus on your tasks at hand, because that's what you’re judged on.

2. Measurable

KPIs are always measurable, so it's good if you ask your manager about your set targets on the quantity/quality of work that is expected of you.

3. Attainable

Furthermore, KPIs are also attainable, in the sense that you must be placed according to your experience and abilities. So, don't feel inferior! Your company should be fair on what’s expected of you!

4. Relevant

KPIs are also relevant to the company's bigger picture. So, it's also good if you want to further explore and understand the company's bigger vision and mission, to help guide you.

5. Time-bound

And lastly, KPIs must be time-bound. Therefore, whether your probation period is 3 or 6 months, you should consider that as per the time period agreed upon in the contract, to show your best performance.

All these points and tips for acing your probation may overwhelm you now. But that's natural, because you're just starting out and are still growing and adapting. Give yourself time to digest all these tips, and keep a positive spirit in your heart and mind.

One thing you have to keep in mind is this: Your company has invested energy, time and money in hiring you because they believe in you. So, you too have to be confident in your abilities and always show that you are invariably striving to learn on the job. Rest assured, your results will not betray your best efforts!

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