Starting a new job as a permanent employee is an exciting venture that brings along a period of adjustment and learning. During this time, many employers implement a probation period, which serves as a mutual trial phase to determine if both the employee and the company are well-suited for each other. However, while the probationary period offers opportunities for assessment, it's crucial to be aware of your rights and responsibilities during this period.
Understanding the Probation Period
The probation period is a defined timeframe during which certain contractual aspects, such as the notice period required for termination, might be altered. Its primary purpose is to provide a window for both the employer and the employee to evaluate the employee's performance, fit within the organisation's culture, and alignment with the role's requirements. This period also streamlines the termination process should either party decide the fit isn't optimal.
When commencing the probation period, a candid conversation between you and your manager is essential. Here are key points that should be addressed:
Setting Clear Objectives
During the probation period, it's critical to establish specific objectives that the employee is expected to achieve in their role. These objectives serve as benchmarks for evaluating performance and progress.
Embracing Core Values and Behaviours
Understanding the organization's core values and expected behaviours is fundamental for successful integration. Being aligned with these values enhances teamwork, collaboration, and overall job satisfaction.
Addressing Development Needs
Identifying areas where additional training or support is necessary can help ensure that you're set up for success. This proactive approach demonstrates your commitment to growth and improvement.
Managing Performance Issues
Clear communication about how performance issues will be handled provides a roadmap for addressing any challenges that may arise. Having an open dialogue about performance expectations can lead to improved outcomes.
Regular attendance is a fundamental requirement for most jobs. Discussing attendance expectations clarifies what's anticipated and helps avoid misunderstandings.
Setting a date for the probation period's review is vital. This review should encompass feedback, progress against objectives, and whether the probationary phase should continue, be extended, or culminate.
Essential Questions to Ask
As you navigate your probation period, there are several crucial questions to pose to your employer:
1. Duration of Probation
Understanding how long your probation period will last enables you to plan for milestones and measure progress effectively.
Clarify what benefits and entitlements you have access to during the probationary phase, including salary adjustments, health benefits, and other perks.
3. Failing the Probation Period
Inquire about the consequences of not passing your probation period. This insight prepares you for potential outcomes and gives you an opportunity to seek guidance on areas that require improvement.
4. Dismissal Rights
Understanding your dismissal rights helps you comprehend the process and safeguards in place should the company decide to end your employment.
5. Extension of Probation
Ask if your probation period can be extended and under what circumstances. This provides transparency about potential avenues for improvement and growth.
6. Departure During Probation
Inquire about the protocols and implications if you decide to leave the company during your probation period. This information empowers you to make informed decisions about your career path.
7. Probation Conclusion
Seek clarification on what happens at the end of your probation period. Will there be a formal review, and how will the decision about your continued employment be communicated?
Embracing Your Probation Period
Approach your probation period as an opportunity for growth and mutual exploration. While it can be a period of adjustment and evaluation, it's also a chance to demonstrate your capabilities, adaptability, and commitment to the organisation's success. Remember, communication is key—maintain open lines of dialogue with your manager to ensure alignment and address any concerns that arise. By proactively engaging with your probationary phase, you set the stage for a successful, fulfilling career journey.