Starting a new role will almost always involve a probation or trial period, usually of between three and six months. This a valuable time for an employer to make sure that any new member of the team is the right fit for the role and for the individual to determine if the position and the company will offer them the challenge they are seeking.
If you are starting a new role, we have some top tips on how to make sure that you pass your probation period with flying colours. And for employers, we also have suggestions on how you can help ensure that those first few months go smoothly and get the relationships off to the best possible start.
As a new employee you should look to:
Remember the basics
No matter how senior you are, when starting a new job there will undoubtedly be a period of time when even simple tasks can seem daunting as you get to grips with new systems, procedures and
colleagues. Make sure you create a good first impression by getting the basics rights – turn up on time, dress the part, be friendly and enthusiastic and don’t be afraid to ask questions.
Take your time
Understandably you are keen to make a good impression but your new employer will not expect you to know everything about your role within the first few days. Show an eagerness to learn by asking questions, taking time to talk to other members of the team and sit down with people from other departments. et up to speed by reading background materials, looking at previous projects and familiarising yourself with the way your new company operates – use your time wisely and it will pay dividends!
Lend a hand
It is unlikely that you will have a full workload from the get-go so demonstrate that you are team player and give yourself the opportunity to see how others approach tasks by offering to help your new colleagues wherever possible. Not only will this help you get up to speed but it’s a good opportunity to show your communication skills and your ability to make a valuable contribution early on.
Don’t get involved in office politics
As tempting as it may be, don’t let yourself be drawn into office gossip. Be polite and friendly to everyone you meet and avoid taking the opportunity to bad mouth your predecessor – you don’t know who they could still be on friendly terms with! And don’t look to introduce new systems until you’ve fully familiarised yourself with all the current procedures that are in place within your department and the company as a whole.
And don’t burn any bridges
It is also important not to bad mouth your former employers – even if you had very valid reasons for being unhappy in your previous role. Not only could word get back to your old boss if you have mutual connections but you don’t want to get a reputation with your new employer of being someone that would potentially speak badly about them in the future.
As an employer, you can help ensure a successful probation period by:
Setting clear objectives
Make sure all new employees have a detailed job description and are clear in what is expected from them in their role. If there are particular objectives that they need to achieve ensure that these are fair and achievable and make sure the right support is put in place from the outset.
Whilst there may be a real need for that extra pair of hands, make sure you give new employees a realistic period of time to get up to speed and familiarise themselves with the company and
their role. Provide them with any relevant background material that could be beneficial and arrange introductory meetings with key individuals so they get to know who is who early on and start to build those all important relationships.
Making yourself available
Any new employee will no doubt have questions they need to ask; set some time aside during the first week to catch up with them one-to-one and address any immediate queries they may have. Make sure that you are approachable and they understand that they can come to you for clarification and support. Try to avoid cancelling catch up meetings whenever possible – new employees want to feel valued.
Not criticizing their predecessor
It’s just as important for an employer not to speak ill of a former employee to a new member of the team even if you are keen for them to bring a fresh approach and a different perspective to the role.
Get them involved
New members of the team will be keen to impress and demonstrate their suitability for the role early on. Consider assigning them a specific task or project which will allow them to play to their strengths and demonstrate to the rest of the team – and you – why they have been brought in to the role.
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