Blunders to avoid during your probation period

Blunders to avoid during your probation period

Blunders to avoid during your probation period, The literal English meaning indicates ‘trial’, ‘test’, ‘experimentation’ and so on. From this meaning, we can understand the intent why organisations place any new employee on ‘probation’.

What is probation? The literal English meaning indicates ‘trial’, ‘test’, ‘experimentation’ and so on. From this meaning, we can understand the intent why organisations place any new employee on ‘probation’. During the selection process, an employee is only a ‘promise’ for future performance. That is, he/she will say that ‘you can trust me to deliver’. To validate this promise, organisations say that ‘we will take you, but place you on probation’.

Seen from this perspective, the onus is on the employee to demonstrate early signs of performance during the probation period so that the organisation will gain greater confidence and ‘confirm’ employment. That is the importance of probation!

Given its significance, it is an irony to see new employees making mistakes during probation period and creating stress for themselves to protect their employment.

What are the blunders that one should avoid during probation?

Living in the past company

Most absurd thing to do and I see many people doing it is to refer to their past company and repeating what they did in their earlier company. When you make comments like “In my earlier organisation, we had an excellent system; we had great culture”, you are indicating to your new employer that you are still having hangover. Not a great sign for your manager!

Another miss that we often witness is managers operating with the same style that they used to in their past organisation. I recently came across a manager who continued his pushy style in a new organisation, which boomeranged. When he received feedback about the same, his reaction was “oh…but it worked in my previous company!” Faster you detach from your past, faster you connect with the present!

This place is full of problems

Fresh after joining, you get to observe many missing pieces and problems in the new company. If you have a keen eye, you will notice them. But the blunder will be to magnify them and keep behaving as if you discovered another problem. Statements such as “I have spotted an error in your reporting system; I have seen that your approval process is too long” do not augur well – especially during probation period.

One must remember that an organisation has hired you to improve things around and not simply pass judgments. Be the inventor of solutions - not problems!

Taking too long to learn

We always hear new employees saying, “I am new to this organisation; so need time to settle down”. It is perfectly an acceptable statement; but for how long? You cannot hide behind this statement that you are new and plead ignorance. Organisations these days expect new employees to be quick in their takeoff.

Remember, your ability to learn determines your ability to perform; and you need agility in both!

Expecting Spoon Feeding

Another innocent blunder is to say things like, “No one told me this”; “no one asked me to do”; “no one is helping me” . Organisations these days do not spoon feed; you need to be smart enough to look around, interact with people and sense what needs to be done and how you are expected to perform.

Last thing your manager likes to listen during your probation review discussion is your cribbing and complaining tone. You cannot place the blame on others for your poor performance. Own up and scale up your performance!

Not making an impact

Another unintended blunder is to pick a task that is essentially a backend issue and that takes a long time to complete. For example, an HR guy who takes over a role in an organisation started cleaning up thousands of employees’ files. The onlookers from other departments keep watching and wondering what this guy has been doing. They do not get to see any outward visible contribution from the new HR guy.

Smart thing to do is to check with your internal or external customers what their needs are and address at least one of them at the earliest.

Because you joined the organisation someone’s needs should be met. If that happens during the probation period itself, you made an impact and you will cement your place in the organisation. Prove your mettle during the probation itself!

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