A UN Volunteer serving with UNHCR supporting refugees in Kenya (UNV, 2014).
A UN Volunteer serving with UNHCR supporting refugees in Kenya (UNV, 2014).
Step 1 of 1
Timeframe
3-6 Months
post arrival
Step 1 of 1

Your first six months

After 3 months on assignment, you will – and you’ll be fully engaged as part of the team.  Although you and your supervisor will have regular performance discussions, it’s good to periodically solicit input, provide feedback, and reflect on your experience. How do you feel you are performing? Are you challenging yourself to learn, grown and get results?

1. Now’s the time for you and your supervisor to:

Talk about how volunteering is living up to your expectations:
  • Is volunteering how you imagined it’d be?
  • Are your skills well used, and do you have what you need?
  • Was the onboarding experience helpful, and what could’ve been better?

Invite your Buddy to an after action review, so you can discuss how coaching went and what would be helpful from now on.

Book a mid-term performance appraisal if necessary.
2. Here’s what you should be doing regularly:

Asking ‘How am I doing?’ and getting casual feedback from staff and your supervisor, so your skills and confidence grow, and you can plug any knowledge gaps.

Having 1-2-1s with your supervisor to discuss (and celebrate) your deliverables and progress.

Signing in to your Volunteer Reporting Application to record your contributions and results, so there’s a record of the value you’re adding and who’s benefitted.

Adapting to your Host Entity’s changing needs – notice what their most important focus is right now and how you can help:
  • Should you reprioritise your key deliverables?
  • What training, tools or resources may you need?
  • How will you overcome any challenges you foresee?
  • Who are the stakeholders or key people to know?
3. Safeguard your mental health and well-being
  • Adopt tips and wellbeing ideas available on UNV eCampus.
  • Also check with your host entity for information on psychological counselling and wellbeing programmes in place.
4. Look for and seize opportunities for professional development
  • Projects and committees – try joining a cross-functional team so you and your peers can discuss new developments, ideas and your experience. 
  • Blogging, filming, photography – email ‘Jennifer.Stapper@unv.org’ (Communications team) your writing, videos or photos that capture your volunteering experience and the impact you’re having, or ask to find out more about contributing. 
  • Local activities – what’s going on in the community, outside your Host Entity, that you can join in or help with?
  • Online learning – follow your learning plan and UNV learning programmes to find relevant courses and Host Entity-specific training. 
  • In person training – identify coaches or mentors, peers you can learn from or staff you could job-shadow. 
5. When you’ve completed your volunteering tasks or training activities

Review how much they’ve helped you grow – have you used the skills you learnt or noticed any tangible outcomes? (Improvements to your performance or being in the workplace…)

Update your Volunteer Reflection Toolkit – writing about who you’ve met, as well as what you’ve achieved and practised, will help you:
  • Further develop and apply your skills. 
  • Explain your professional development to your current and future workplace. 
  • Get recognition for your effort and hard work.