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Carrer Development

Carrer Development

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Published by asaredarkwa

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Published by: asaredarkwa on Mar 23, 2010
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Your Probation Period: The I-resign.com Guide
Your Probation Period: The I-resign.com GuideYou’re about to start a new job and decide to read through your employment contract for the first time. Is there a surer way totarnish your early enthusiasm and optimism than realising thatyou will have to work through a probationary period before becoming a full employee? Learning that early failure to perform may mean you’re given less than one week’s noticeleaves you feeling like anything but a valuable new member of the team. Why wasn’t this mentioned at the interview stage?In fact, you should never be surprised to learn that you will beon probation for the first few weeks or months with a newemployer. Firstly, most firms require that you serve a probationary period. Secondly, you should always read your employment contract before accepting any offer so there should be no room for shocking realisations at any later stage. So,armed with the knowledge that you should expect to find a probation paragraph in your contract, you should be ready torecognise and deal with any deviations from the norm.Probationary periods usually last for three months. Someemployers will be happy to take you on as a full employee after only a few days; others will require you to work for a wholeyear before you satisfy their requirement. Next, you need toknow how much notice of termination of employment isrequired on each side. In the majority of cases this will be oneweek. If the normal terms of your contract would require threemonths notice on both sides, then probationary notice may beone month or more. In some cases, there may be an asymmetry
in the notice required by either side. For example, you may haveto give your employer a week’s notice, while they are onlyobliged to tell you the day before, or vice-versa.Pay attention to what will happen to your remuneration while on probation - will you be obliged to accept a lower starting salaryfor a few weeks? Will your commission from sales be lower than that of someone who has successfully completed their  probation period? What about absence due to sickness? In eachcase, you must scrutinise your contract before putting your nameto this legally binding document. There may be occasions whereyour particular requirements are not covered in the contract, for example, the question of whether or not maternity leave is dealtwith in the same way while on probation. Make sure that youask for such to be clarified in your terms of employment beforecommitting yourself. This section of your contract is, in manyways, a self-contained employment contract in itself and sodeserves close attention.We’ll assume that you are now over the shock of having to work a probationary period and all the implications that has for your  job security, salary, benefits and so on. How do you ensure thatyou get through the next weeks and months without any problems? At this point, it’s useful to remember that this clausein your contract works both ways - your employer is on probation too. Do not fall into the trap that you must endureeverything that is thrown at you because your primary aim is toget through the next three months. No, if your employer doesnot come up to scratch, it’s time to think about making the mostof the shortened notice period part of your contract - your boss is bound by its terms too.
What if you actually like your new job, you get on with your colleagues, the canteen serves a variety of excellent dishes andthe commute home is bearable? How do you ensure that they’llwant to keep you on once your probationary period has expired?Or, to turn that around, what sort of behaviour is likely to getyou ejected? Poor timekeeping is a sure way to make your bossfeel that he or she has made a poor decision in hiring you. Evenif everybody else in your department staggers in at 10:30, youshould make a special effort to arrive in good time becausesomebody will be watching and noting your behaviour.Failure to get to grips with the basic skills and routines of your  post are a certain way to get the sack. The details of theserequirements may not have been obvious when you applied for the job. For example, your employer may assume that you are anexperienced user of Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint.Many people have found themselves being shown the door after displaying spectacular ignorance of office technology - be surethat you can compose and send email, resize windows and turnthe monitor on/off if your new place of work depends on IT. Themouse should not be used as a foot pedal.However, there is a flipside to all of this. It is your employer’sresponsibility to take all reasonable steps to help you throughyour probation period, to provide any and all training, mentoringand encouragement that you need. Once again, remember thatthey too are on probation. I have seen a particularly goodemployment contract that requires that the content of one’s final probationary assessment should not contain any surprises. If criticism of your performance is contained in the final reportthen it must only be included as a summary and re-assertion of 

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