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Navigating your end-of-probation review meeting

Your end-of-probation review can be a pivotal moment in your career trajectory. It presents an opportunity to solidify your position in the company or address any concerns that may arise. Thorough preparation is essential to maximise the time you have with your manager for discussing your progress Here’s a comprehensive guide to help you navigate through your end-of-probation period.

1. Understand the purpose

Before diving into preparations, it's essential to understand the purpose of the meeting. Typically, this meeting serves as an assessment of your performance during the probationary period, evaluating whether you meet the standards and expectations outlined for your role. It’s a chance for your employer to provide feedback, discuss your progress, and determine whether you will continue in your position beyond probation.

2. Review your performance

Take time to reflect on your performance since the start of your probationary period. Gather feedback from your peers, supervisors, and clients, if applicable. Assess both your accomplishments and areas where you may have fallen short. Be honest with yourself about your strengths and weaknesses.

3. Know the criteria

Familiarise yourself with the criteria used to evaluate your performance. This may be as simple as checking against the list of objectives or KPIs you have been working towards since you joined the company. Or, it could be a more complex scoring system including factors such as productivity, quality of work, adherence to company policies, teamwork, and communication skills.

Understanding what metrics your employer considers important will help you tailor your preparation accordingly. Most managers will let you know what they expect you to prepare ahead of the meeting, but it’s a good idea to reach out and ask if you’re unsure.

4. Document your achievements

Compile a list of your achievements and contributions during the probationary period, and ensure this list is contains specific examples wherever possible so you can highlight instances where you exceeded expectations, solved problems, or demonstrated initiative. Many people find it challenging to discuss their achievements. If that resonates with you, try framing it as things you’re proud of instead, as this might feel more natural.

5. Address areas of improvement

Identify any areas where you may have struggled or received constructive criticism. Develop a plan for improvement and be prepared to discuss how you have addressed these challenges since they were identified. Showing initiative and a willingness to learn and grow can leave a positive impression on your employer. Try to think about both soft and hard skills here, and have at least one example of each type of skill you would like to improve on

6. Prepare for feedback

Anticipate feedback from your employer, both positive and constructive. Approach feedback with an open mind and a willingness to listen. Be prepared to ask clarifying questions and seek guidance on how you can continue to develop professionally.

7. Practise effective communication

Before the meeting think about if there’s anything you need to get off your chest, or messages you’d like your manager to hear. Practise articulating your thoughts clearly and professionally, be prepared to provide examples to support your points, and actively listen to what your employer has to say. Maintain a positive attitude and avoid becoming defensive, even if the conversation is not entirely positive.

8. Set goals for the future

Outlining your goals for the future is not only a great personal motivator, but it also demonstrates your commitment to your role and the company. Discuss how you plan to build on your strengths and address any areas for improvement. Setting clear and achievable goals shows initiative and a proactive approach to your professional development.

9. Be professional and punctual

Arrive punctually for the meeting and dress appropriately. Whilst these meetings can be often be quite informal you should still approach the meeting with a professional demeanour, maintaining eye contact and showing an appreciation for the opportunity to receive feedback and discuss your performance.

10. Follow up

After the meeting, follow up with a thank you email expressing gratitude for the feedback and reiterating your commitment to your role and the company. If there are any action items or goals set during the meeting, outline your plan for addressing them and ask for any additional guidance or support you may need.

In summary, the end of probation review meeting is a critical milestone in your career journey. By adequately preparing, understanding the purpose, and approaching the meeting with professionalism and a positive attitude, you can maximise this opportunity to showcase your value to the company and set yourself up for success in the future.

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