Probation: A Critical Juncture

Congratulations! You’ve been promoted to a supervisor or manager and are now on probation for a year. Most probationers are awarded permanent status in their new jobs — but not all. Sometimes, even for good employees, circumstances can go wrong.

ACSS has compiled these 10 tips to help keep you on the right track:

  1. Join ACSS.  - Of course, our first tip is to join ACSS as soon as you promote. We represent the interests of excluded state employees — workers who, like you, are no longer in a bargaining unit. Our labor relations professionals counsel and stand up for you if you have job-related issues, even while you’re on probation. Don’t wait until you have a problem to join ACSS! Then it may be too late.
  2. Ask for a “road map.” - The “road map” for your new job is your duty statement. This document explains your new duties, responsibilities and expectations. Discuss your duty statement with your supervisor so you know the standards you’re expected to meet.
  3. Get training. - As a new supervisor or manager, you are entitled to a minimum of 80 hours of training. Forty hours must be taught by a qualified instructor. The rest is on the job by a higher-level supervisor or manager. Request this training in writing as soon as you can.
  4. Expect to ‘need improvement. - During probation, you are entitled to a written evaluation every three months. If your supervisor misses an evaluation, request one. Use each evaluation to map your journey for the next three months and work hard to correct any deficiencies.
  5. Meet often with your supervisor. - In your new job, when you have an issue to discuss, need feedback on your performance or want clarity about job expectations, ask your supervisor to meet with you. It is important to resolve problems and questions as soon as they arise.
  6. Maintain good records. - Keep copies of all communications that address your duties and activities. Document performance-related discussions and events as they occur — and be sure to include the positive feedback. Immediately respond, in writing, to any comments you feel are incorrect.
  7. Observe the culture. - Your office is a new environment and you want to fit in with the established customs. Introduce yourself and get to know your fellow workers. It’s important to show you’re part of the team.
  8. Drive defensively. - Here are some obstacles to watch for. Your ACSS labor rep can help in these situations:
      - You and your supervisor have a personality clash. Ask your ACSS labor rep to accompany you to a meeting to discuss the issues that are causing the conflict.
      - You and your supervisor don’t communicate. Don’t just rely on emails to communicate. Ask your supervisor for advice and feedback.
      - You observe bias or discrimination in the office. If you experience this, call your labor relations rep for guidance.
  9. What if the worst happens? - If you’re rejected during probation, and you held another state position before this one, you may have return rights. If you’re interested in going back to your old job, contact your ACSS labor relations rep for guidance.
    If you feel the rejection was unfair, you are entitled to appeal to the State Personnel Board. If you choose this route, your labor relations rep is crucial for counseling and representation.
  10. Sign up now! - So, what are you waiting for? Join ACSS today! Have peace of mind that ACSS will protect you along the road ahead through probation and towards success in your career.
  11. or call (800) 624-2137