You might assume that the first few days and weeks at a new job are pretty much a loss, in terms of productivity. Other than filling out paperwork, attending whatever training your organization provides, and meeting your co-workers, there’s not much you can do to hit the ground running, right? Not necessarily. If you make the most out of those first few weeks on the job, you can set yourself up for success later on. Here’s how.
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- Learn about the company: Gain a more in-depth understanding of what it does and more importantly, how it does. In addition to attending the new hire onboarding (NHO) program that most companies have, make sure you talk to your teammates, the NHO facilitators, read up the company’s online resources, etc. If you didn’t do so before the interview that landed you a job, now’s a good time to brush up on background information about the company. PayScale’s Career Research Center is a good place to start.
- Create a plan: As Lisa Quest writes for Forbes, “Create a 30/60/90 day game plan that you can break into 30-day time increments to capture what you plan to accomplish, which include the key tasks, projects, and initiatives you need to complete, prioritized over your first 90 days on the job.”
- Set up time with your manager: Get to know him/her, understand the expectations from your role, and timelines for goals and how he/she would like to stay updated on your progress. Share your plan and understand his/her performance expectations.
- Understand the team communication style: How does the team interact? Do they walk up to each other or is everything done on chat or email? How do they interact with the manager? What is his/her style of communication? Pay close attention to verbal and non-verbal cues to understand more about the dynamics of your team.
- Set up time to meet and greet your team, clients, partners: Ask your manager or a peer to provide you with list of names of people you will need to work with (if it isn’t already shared) and connect with them, just to get to know them and share a bit about yourself. As Jennifer King writes for Software Advice (a site that helps buyers find the right software for their business), “Prepare succinct responses for anticipated questions about what you were hired to do, what company or school you’re coming from, and what your professional qualifications are. Give the people you meet a reason to continue building a relationship with you.”
- Understand policies and processes: In addition to learning about the benefits, filling out employment forms, spend some time understanding basic HR policies and employee practices, performance management process, code of conduct etc. Each organization has its own code of conduct and it is important that you adhere to it.
- Observe, absorb, and act: At the beginning, understand key roles. Who does what, who are the key contacts for the team, and how do they operate? If your manager is supportive, ask to shadow a few critical roles that impact your role. For example, if you are the manager of customer service representatives, offer to shadow a few reps and take a few calls yourself to understand the role better and the challenges that come with it.
- Be patient: Even if you’ve done the role you’ve been hired for all your life, chances are it’s done differently in your new organization. Stay patient and receptive to different ideas. If you see things broken, give it time before you start fixing it. Since you haven’t been with the organization for long, you cannot be absolutely sure if you are fixing the root of the problem or just a symptom.
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