Dear employer: Probation is for you too
Have you ever been on an interview and examined an employer the same way you were being scrutinized? Did you take a job and wonder if it was the same company they told you about when they hired you? This is the power of the probationary period. You can use this time to decide if you made the right choice or not. Here are some things you can look for to determine if your dream job is at a company where you really want to work.
1. The recruitment process
Perhaps your first impression began when you were trying to research the organization and you reviewed their online presence. Was the website informative and reflective of the type of organization it is trying to represent? Was there a clear focus on employees or just the business? Was there a portal for prospective employees to apply and receive updates on application status? Did you receive communication about your application and interview status? Maybe you called or stopped by the organization for information. What did the facilities look like? How were you treated by the staff?
2. Vision and strategy
It happens more than one would like, but sometimes companies have no substance to support the sales pitch they give to convince you to work with them. Is there a compelling vision of where the company is headed? Is the strategy to get there clear and is the work your role and department are required to do relevant and appropriate?
3. Work culture
In addition to a vision and strategy, the strength of an organization lies in the work culture. What does that actually entail? How people communicate and by what method can say a lot about a company. Sadly some companies rely heavily on the grapevine or just sending emails. The face to face communication is terrible and employees feel left out, uninformed, and even fearful to speak their minds or share ideas. Work culture also reflects the values that a company holds dear – whether written or unspoken. This is apparent in levels of accountability, integrity, productivity, and if practice aligns with policy.
4. Structure and processes
Work can be pretty stressful when it lacks structure such as clear job roles and tasks, tools, equipment, and supplies, policies and expectations for work performance and overall acceptable conduct. Even customers want processes that are user friendly, easy to understand and follow, fast and efficient. The same must hold true for employees as well. If processes stop them from executing their work effectively, it will frustrate them and impact their impression of the company and its leaders.
5. Growth and development
Contrary to popular belief, people are not just into making money alone. Many of today’s workers want to learn and grow in their careers. They want to be mentored and know that their work is making a difference in the organization and for their own legacy. They want variety, stimulation, and challenges with like-minded coworkers and supportive, authentic leaders.
I remember when I started my dream job several years ago. The salary and benefits were great, I got to relocate and live in a completely new environment. The role was challenging and stretched my capabilities. It was nothing short of wonderful. When a consultant and mentor told me within my first ninety days that I should plan my exit strategy. I couldn’t believe my ears! Plan my exit strategy from my dream job? The consultant felt the organization’s culture and values were not aligned with mine and eventually it would become uncomfortable. Suffice it to say that that became very true and we parted ways, thankfully on good terms.
Does this sound like a tall order? It is possible to find good companies to work for but you have to shop around, do your research, keep your eyes open, and not be afraid to plan your exit strategy if you find that it isn’t what it is cracked up to be.
• Simmone L. Bowe, MSc, SPHRi, is a seasoned human resource and organization development consultant & trainer, speaker, author, personal development coach, mentor, and activist whose boutique training, coaching, speaking, and consulting firm Limitless Life, focuses on helping business owners, leaders and professionals ‘live limitless’ by identifying purpose & vision, aligning to purpose through authenticity, and breaking free of limiting mindsets and practices. For comments, queries, strategic solutions, and bookings, email firstname.lastname@example.org.