Platt Perspective on Business and Technology

Offering a unique value proposition as an employee 8: best practices for after the new hire probationary period, starting with the performance review that ends it 2

Posted in career development, job search, job search and career development by Timothy Platt on June 30, 2013

This is my eighth posting to a series on offering defining value as an employee, and on presenting yourself as the answer to problems faced while doing so (see my Guide to Effective Job Search and Career Development – 2, postings 311-317 for Parts 1-7.) This is also my second posting within that, where I more specifically address work after the initial new hire probationary period, and moving on from there as a now vetted and fully accepted in-house employee.

I began this part of the overall discussion with Part 7, where I focused on the second, more forward-looking and anticipatory half of the end of probationary period performance review meeting, when next steps are discussed for moving forward from there. And I begin this posting and its discussion by noting two crucially important points that are often overlooked in the glow of having successfully completed the new hire probationary period per se:

• Best employees who offer exemplary value and who set themselves up for positive recognition and advancement do not just do the same routine tasks in the same way and at the same pace as everyone else. They actively seek out opportunity to work on high priority, skills and experience stretching tasks. And I add here that from their perspective these should be viewed as high priority skills and experience stretching career development opportunities too.
• And this means collaboratively working with your supervisor to find out what their real ongoing needs are, and asking for opportunity to work on fulfilling them, including their own stretch goal responsibilities that their team would carry out. You goal here would be to gain opportunity to work on these tasks along with fulfilling the basic ongoing tasks and responsibilities that you were more immediately and specifically hired for.

If your basic goals and responsibilities are your performance goals, these additional tasks and responsibilities would constitute your stretch goals. This is important. You develop a list of goals and stretch goals in collaboration with your supervisor and manager, that you would be performance reviewed on, and probably at your own next annual performance review. Your manager also faces their own performance goals and stretch goals and as a manager they would be expected to organize a team effort from among the people who report to them to carry out much of that.

• So this can be viewed as a process of aligning goals and priorities, where your extra effort specifically benefits your team, and your manager as they fulfill their work responsibilities.
• Work with your supervisor to reach mutual agreement as to how much time you can devote to these stretch goals, and set that time aside as a formal part of your schedule and work on them accordingly.
• Strive to develop a collaborative working relationship with your manager so if new and unexpected significant stretch goal opportunities arise between performance reviews that you would be well positioned to fulfill, they get formally added to your stretch goals list so you can get real recognition for working on and completing them.
• If you simply do them and even with your manager’s knowledge and approval and they are not on your goals and stretch goals list, you run a very real risk in a busy work environment of finding that this effort has just been taken for granted in the course of the ongoing rush to get everything done and on time.

I wrote at the end of Part 7 that I would “discuss the issues of settling into work patterns and ruts, and of the need to keep thinking and planning at a career level.” I am, in fact, doing that here.

• Falling into a rut is partly about what you do and what you limit yourself to doing, day by day, week by week, and month and year by month and year.
• Falling into that rut is also just as much about the established, and with time potentially immutable way that others see you in the workplace, as only being able to do some fixed routine set of tasks that you have focused on – or that you have been acknowledged for doing as they are listed in your performance review goals and stretch goals lists.
• Staying out of that rut means always presenting yourself as an employee and colleague who can do more and who can take on and rapidly, effectively master new responsibilities.
• Staying out of that rut and actively developing and promoting your career and fulfilling your potential means staying visible as a person to turn to in addressing new and emerging challenges and opportunities,
• As well as being an employee who can be counted on to be a team player who does the more routine tasks when that effort is called for too.

This means working on and exercising your networking and communications skills, as you connect with and work with your same-team peers, your supervisors and any outside stakeholders and/or clients you come into working contact with. This also means constantly developing, updating and expanding your skills and experience base. And it means sharing of what you can do with others, and with a positive and supportive, collegial attitude and approach while doing so. Make yourself the person who others would turn to for help and guidance and particularly when faced with the new to them, and unexpected.

I am going to continue this discussion in a next installment where I will at least begin to examine the issues of finding and pursuing your right career path next steps, as you settle into this new job. In anticipation of that, I note that this type of analysis should be solidly and systematically grounded in your reasons and reasoning for applying for this position in the first place, but be at least as strongly grounded in what you have been learning while there. Did you initially approach this position, for example, as a dream job or as more of an umbrella position to help pay the bills while you look for something more desirable and in keeping with your longer range career goals? Once there, have you reconsidered your initial reasoning or goals and if so how and why? You have this new job now and have successfully transited its new hire probationary period. What comes next and what should you be doing next, and for reaching both short term and longer term objectives?

Meanwhile, you can find this and related postings at my Guide to Effective Job Search and Career Development – 2 and at my first Guide directory page on Job Search and Career Development.

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