How to Pass Your Federal Employee Probationary Period
Congratulations on landing a job in the Federal government! While your new position is cause of celebration, it’s no time to rest easy, as the government typically imposes a mandatory probationary period for new employees between the time they are hired, and when the position is offered on a permanent basis.
The purpose of the probationary period is to determine how qualified new hires are for the job, and for examining their work ethic and ability to fit within a federal agency. So, how can you successfully pass the Federal probationary period?
Make a Lasting Impression
You were offered the position because of the impression you made during the interview process. Now it’s time to show the hiring committee that they made the right decision. Think of this period as an extended interview, where you maintain the same professional attitude, drive, and positivity.
Your employer expects you to exhibit competence and dedication in your new role. Putting in ample effort and volunteering to take on additional responsibilities will go a long way in demonstrating your enthusiasm. Uphold professionalism in how you dress and how you work with your team members.
Build Positive Working Relationships
Get to know your coworkers and focus on building positive relationships. Your boss will be the one to decide whether you remain after the probationary period, so you want to please him/her, but it’s also imperative that your colleagues feel you are a good fit for the workplace culture. Successful leaders understand that team cohesion has a significant impact on creativity, productivity, and job satisfaction. This tells you that they won’t tolerate employees who are disruptive to the team’s balance.
As a federal employee, it is your responsibility to perform to your agency’s expectations. Be clear when learning about procedures and timelines. If your questions are not fully answered, ask for more help. Mixed messages could put you on the wrong track, and with that in mind, it’s essential that you understand how the employer or supervisor communicates. Determine the directions set for your position, and don’t be afraid to speak up and ask questions.
Get Feedback on Progress
Regular conversations with your manager about your progress and how you are meeting various objectives are imperative when trying to get through the probationary period. You should have a set of goals or expectations set in your job description, which will help keep you on target. But if not, seek clarifications early on in your time there.
Although you may be focused on jumpstarting a new federal career, it’s important to evaluate the benefits available to you as a Civilian Federal Employee. When you’re ready to purchase life insurance, consider Group Term Life Insurance* coverage from WAEPA as an alternative or supplement to the Federally-offered program, FEGLI. With over 75 years of experience serving Civilian Federal Employees, WAEPA provides competitively priced life insurance programs and a variety of benefits with membership.
As a new Civilian Federal Employee in your first 365 days of employment, you are also eligible for up to $100,000 in Guaranteed Issue Group Term Life Insurance coverage, and you cannot be declined or turned down. There are no medical requirements, and most new Feds are eligible. To receive your coverage, you must:
- Be a United States citizen
- Be less than 70 years of age
- Apply within one year of a first-time, non-military, government hire.
*Underwritten by New York Life Insurance Company
This article is intended to provide general information and shouldn't be considered legal, tax or financial advice. It's always a good idea to consult a tax or financial advisor for specific information on how certain laws apply to your situation and about your individual financial situation.