Employment Plus - Tips & Tools

Tips for retaining jobs

The importance of first impressions

Many jobs now come with a probationary period which can usually extend from 30 days up to six months. To make sure that your employer wants to keep you on beyond your probationary period, it’s important to make a good first impression and to continue demonstrating your interest and commitment to your new job, workplace and colleagues during your initial weeks and months in the role.

Tips for your first day

  • Review any information you have been given about the company and role ahead of time so you can hit the ground running on your first day.
  • Plan your journey to work in advance and leave plenty of time just in case you get lost or held up. Always have a contact number on you so you can phone ahead if you do get delayed for any reason.
  • If you’re not sure about the company’s dress code, it’s a good idea to dress more smartly on your first day. From then on you can take your cue from how your colleagues dress.
  • Get to know your colleagues as much as possible, especially those you will be working with directly and your boss. Make sure you know who you should go to with any questions or queries
  • Find out about arrangements for taking breaks and lunch so you avoid any potential problems. If your colleagues take lunch together, consider joining them as a way of getting to know people.
  • At the end of the day, try not to be the first to leave and make sure you catch up with your boss, if they’re available, before you go.

How to make it through your probation period

Throughout your probation period, the boss and other colleagues will be keeping an eye on your progress in the workplace. While this can be stressful, there are a number of ways you can continue to make a good impression and, through your behaviour at work, communicate your positive attitude towards the role and the company.

  • Try to be on time every day and, when delays are unavoidable, call ahead to let your boss know what’s happening and when you’ll be arriving.
  • Continue to dress and present yourself in a tidy, professional way that is appropriate for your workplace.
  • While at work, try to keep your focus on the task at hand to demonstrate your continued enthusiasm for the job. It’s important not to appear distracted by what’s going on at home or elsewhere, so try to restrict personal communication to designated break times as far as possible.
  • Asking questions that will help you carry out a task correctly will demonstrate your interest and commitment to doing things well. Try not to ask the same questions repeatedly though – writing down key information can be useful if you find it difficult to remember things first time.
  • Go out of your way to introduce yourself to new colleagues and build bridges, demonstrating that you’re a team player and are keen to be part of the company environment in the longer term.
  • If you really need to take time off from work, make sure you know the appropriate procedures to follow and let your boss know as soon as possible.

Key points

  • Most jobs have a probationary period for new employees, during which you need to show your boss that you’re committed and fit in with the company culture.
  • Punctuality, reliability, hard-work and efforts to bond with your colleagues will all help to create a good impression in your boss’s eyes and help you to keep the job beyond the probationary period.
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