The first day, the first week, perhaps even the first month! These are generally key milestones for you as a new employee. Hopefully, by the first month you’ve mastered the tea/coffee round, you’ve found your place within the team and you’ve fallen into the pattern of the day-to-day routine; you may even have even forgotten that you’re still a newbie… until you’re reminded of the, often, dreaded probation review.
‘Is it a test?’, ‘Have I been doing my job as well as they’d like?’, ‘This is a waste of time!’, ‘What is the point of this?’ the questions are endless and I presume the feelings are mixed.
An employers approach to the probation review varies from company to company. Some have a very structured approach and almost treat it as a ‘test’, whereas others have a 5 minute chat over coffee to ‘check in’. However, either approach can bring about negative feelings for the employee if not managed properly, so employers beware!
The probation review is often viewed as a tool only for the employer.
- To check the employees true skills and understanding of the role and job.
- A check to ensure the company have hired correctly and effectively an employer’s safety net, as you will.
However it can also be a powerful tool for you the employee, here’s how:
The review provides you with a chance to check the work you have done so far against what you were employed to do. You can do this by looking at your job description. This will highlight areas that you may not have covered yet, which is something you can discuss with your employer to ensure you are covering the full responsibilities of your role.
Use the review as an opportunity to assess whether the job has met YOUR expectations. Think about what you have liked so far and what you have disliked. Reflect on your initial perception of the job before starting and how the reality matches up. Do you have any concerns?
This is very useful for your well being, if you feel any negativity towards the role this is a great time to put this to bed. It could be resolved with a change in your working environment, a change or clarification of a complicated process or simply some reassurance that ‘’you are doing a great job, keep it up!’’
Employers use reviews as a way to assess your performance. You can use this as a way to show off and reaffirm what you have learnt to date. Don’t be scared to ask questions about things you aren’t sure of or may need extra training on. To experience the full benefits of a review it is important to be completely open with areas you are struggling with. This allows your employer to support you and ultimately strengthens your relationship.
Also use this as an opportunity to show your employer your aspirations! A helpful tip: go in there with a project, perhaps there is something you have noticed that could be developed or implemented or something you would like to learn, big or small, that will not only aid in your development but add value to the business.
Ask for feedback for your own progression and improvement. This will give you a good understanding of how you’re doing. It also gives you an idea on what you need to work on in the coming months leading up to your first quarterly or annual appraisal and the willingness to improve will always be noted by an employer.
Take ownership of your probation review, don’t treat it as an examination or a quick conversation by the photocopier. Treat it as an adult discussion where both parties can benefit and support each other; a discussion that will pave the way to a healthy and strong employment relationship.
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