The First 90 Days
You’ve probably already heard it, but congratulations on your new job.
Now, it’s time to get to work. It’s going to be a new environment, with new people, and new responsibilities. You’ve got this though. You’ve been working for this for a long time.
Your first 90 days however are going to test you like nothing else. Not only do you have to become familiar with the people and company, but you likely need to learn new skills. The training is going to be intense and you have to push away the jitters that will inevitably plague any newcomer.
It’s important to note that during the first 90 days, you are considered on probation. This means three important concepts that are irrefutable:
- Employers are not required to give written notice to let you go if within 90 days.
- No explanation is required within 90 days.
- You are not entitled to termination pay.
Hiring and training is expensive. That’s why the probation period exists. That way, employers can assess an employee in a non-discriminating way. They can then provide a fair assessment of an employee’s abilities and suitability for on-going employment. It is absolutely a test, but being yourself is the best way to pass.
Here are a few tips you should explore to guide you through the first quarter of your new job.
In many cases, you spend more time with your work colleagues than your family. Take some time to get to know them and build a rapport so you can work together. It won’t be a perfect relationship with everyone you work with, but you do have to be cordial and learning about them will help you do that.
Even if your boss takes you for a tour and introduces you to people, it’s still a good thing to take notes. Just remember that if you are making notes to associate and remind yourself of names that you use positive affirmations. The last thing you need is your notes to be released into the public if they aren’t flattering.
First impressions are always important so you always want to offer your assistance and not your opinion. Your goal is to add value to the team. You can do this by physically working or by being positive and enthusiastic. You will undoubtedly meet people who may not share your sunny views, but don’t let them get you down. This is an exciting time for you. Enjoy and make the best of it.
Pro Tip: Ask your boss for a list of names of people you should meet.
Find a mentor
Once you have met everyone, you will see how the culture and managerial structure works. It can help you personally and professionally to find a mentor within the company. The person could be someone at your level who could teach you the functional work or someone in management who can add value to your corporate advancement.
There is nothing wrong with having a mentor as long as you aren’t wasting their time. When you succeed so does the company. You just need to find someone who recognizes how the company benefits from the relationship.
When it comes to being organized, you need to think about what gets you to work and what keeps you there.
First of all, make sure you have the correct attire. You want to dress for success, whether it’s in a suit or uniform. By showing up on time and being prepared to work properly, you are showing your desire to work for the company. Dressing properly includes taking care of yourself as well. Get a haircut, keep the colour within reason, brush your teeth and have good footwear. You need to be comfortable at work, just not too comfortable.
Make sure you show up on time. There may be a desire to show up early, but that can be viewed negatively too. Five or ten minutes is acceptable as traffic could be the cause, but any more than that and you may experience anxiety waiting in your vehicle. It can also be disruptive to your manager if they have other duties they need to attend to before you start your training. Be considerate to others.
If you have your own space like a desk or work station, make sure it’s tidy. A tidy desk implies you are trustworthy and organized when it comes to the challenges in life. You may have personal effects that will stay there, but that doesn’t mean you can let your workspace become untidy.
Mistakes happen. If your employer didn’t expect any mistakes, they wouldn’t give you any training. Your goal is to absorb the training and put it into action. Take it slow and listen. No one expects you to be able to do everything on your second day.
Pro Tip: Get a small notebook and write it down so you don’t have to remember everything immediately.
Now, if a mistake does happen, you need to own up to it. Accepting responsibility early will show your integrity while on the other hand, hiding the problem could compound it. Remember that you are there to add value to the company. However so, if you have made a mistake, document it and move on. If you can easily fix it, do so. If it is something beyond your ability, make sure you understand the problem when you approach your manager. Offer solutions so it can be easily fixed by those with the right skills. Your manager will appreciate when you are proactive and communicative.
Pro Tip: Humility is a great teacher. Know your limits so you don’t step beyond them and cause a costly mistake.
Pro Tip: Having a solution is a good way to show people you care. And you may be remembered for it rather than the mistake.
Whether you like it or not
If you like your new job and want to keep it then you should start inventorying your skills. You can’t just do the part of the job that you like or find easy. Instead, complete what your employer feels is a priority before moving on to what’s more difficult so you can increase your skills. Balancing these is hard, but it makes sure the right work is accomplished.
In the case where you don’t like the work, your honesty and candor are important. It costs a lot of money to hire and train people. You will likely realize your dissatisfaction fairly early. Don’t waste your employer’s time by just collecting a paycheque until another job comes along.
Rights and Responsibilities
As a new employee, you are entitled to several rights and responsibilities. Established in the Employment Standards Act (2000), these rights and responsibilities apply to both employers and employees in Ontario workplaces. It’s important that they are periodically updated and the onus falls on you to read them directly from the Ontario Government’s website when that happens.
Here are a few highlights that you should familiarize yourself with:
- Probation period last 90 days.
- It is the employer’s responsibility to provide a safe and fair work environment.
- Standard work days are 8 hours unless otherwise agreed upon by the employer and employee.
- Weekly max is 44 hours before overtime must be paid at 1.5 times the regular rate.
- Employees are entitled to 11 hours off per day and 8 hours between standard shifts.
- Employees are entitled to 24 hours away from work per week or 48 hours away from work in a 2 week time period.
- Shifts over 5 hours require 30 minutes of unpaid break-time which can be split into two periods.
As a new employee you will also want to determine whether your employer has a special policy for sick leave. It should be noted that unless superseded with a better policy, the basic policy is as follows:
- All employees, full and part time, are eligible.
- To be eligible, you need to have worked for two weeks.
- Employees are entitled to 3 days of sick leave per year.
- Sick days cannot carry over from one year to the next.
- Doctor’s notes may be required.
Benefits are not a right and they may not begin until after a certain probationary period. It’s important for you to discuss the possibility of benefits with your employer before you start. Though an employer may have a policy already, that doesn’t mean you can’t negotiate with them prior to starting. At that point, anything is possible. It is for this reason you should never compare your benefits or your vacation allotment with anyone other than your manager or HR. It is possible that it doesn’t match what other employees have.
Though not every industry is covered by WSIB (Workplace Safety and Insurance Board) insurance (www.wsib.ca), most are. It provides for earnings and health care coverage if you are injured at work. Should the injury be prolonged, it will transition to disability and other provincial benefit programs.
Pro Tip: If you are injured on the job immediately report to your supervisor. Your employer wants you healthy and WSIB will help achieve that.
Success in the first quarter
Fitting into the culture of your new employer isn’t going to be easy, but someone obviously has faith in you. Take it one day at a time and you’ll find everything come together. You will find yourself surrounded by people who want you to succeed and your job will be fulfilling. Remember to keep your notebook handy so you can always add names and things you need to remember.