Starting a new job can be intimidating. Leaving a familiar role and co-workers is not an easy thing to do. You have to adapt to new responsibilities, develop new relationships, and assimilate into a culture that is foreign to you. Despite all of these things, joining an organization and assuming a new role is exciting, with challenges and opportunities awaiting you that will expand your knowledge and strengthen your skills.
While your new employer may have a formal onboarding program that will support your transition, there are important things that you can and should do on your own. These things aren't "rocket science" but they will certainly help you get acclimated to your new role and company much sooner than if you didn't do them.
You don't necessarily have to wait until your first day to begin your role. You can be proactive and contact the organization prior to your first day to get any paperwork that could be completed in advance. You can also ask your direct report if they'd like for you to come in and discuss projects that you will immediately be working on, or for any information (or even meetings that you can attend) to support you in hitting the ground running on your first day. This can also ease any anxiety you may be experiencing.
The most important thing you can do during your first week, month, and quarter is to assimilate into the organizational culture and environment. Accomplish this by observing other employees, their behaviors, and communication patterns.
Exude confidence and a positive attitude. Showing enthusiasm will make a great impression on your co-workers and may even bring a new energy to the organization.
It's best to be an observer until you learn the ropes. Doing so will show respect, patience, and in an indirect way, your emotional intelligence. We encourage selected candidates to learn as much about their new employer as they can and as quickly as they can. We recommend that they keep their minds open to suggestions from colleagues who have long tenure with the organization because those people can provide invaluable insight and knowledge, which can get you up and running more quickly. By combining that understanding with your own skills and experiences, you can add value in a shorter time span.
If you're in a management role, consider having and publicizing that you have an open door policy. It is the one of the best management styles there is.
Remember that you are new. It's okay to show your willingness to learn about the organization beyond your job and responsibilities. But, it's more important to apply the skills and knowledge that got you the job. While you may have the capabilities and talent to do more, it’s best to wait until you thoroughly understand the company’s procedures and operations before bringing up different and improved ways of doing things.
On another note, although it's great to volunteer for extra responsibilities, in most organizations, it's better to stick to your job description during your first few months because you don't want to step on anyone’s toes. However, if you are asked to do something outside of your realm of responsibilities, take it as an opportunity to show that you are a team player and happily perform the task.
Accept the potential for you to make mistakes or to not do things as well as your incumbent did. Being open to constructive criticism is vital for integrating into the organizational culture, showing your emotional intelligence, and demonstrating your team player mindset. You want to perform admirably, and by remaining open to constructive criticism, you will only improve and enhance your own value. You also want others to feel comfortable in expressing their thoughts as that will help you connect with them.
Tying in with our last point, connecting with your new team is imperative. Even if you don't have an outgoing personality, do your best to get to know your colleagues, join them during lunches and team outings, and if you're in an office, keep your door open.
If your new employer hasn't planned or pointed out your mentor, ask your direct report about who that should be. Don't just choose someone on your own because that could be risky.
If you've joined a larger organization, it's likely they have established 30/60/90 days goals for your role. If so, discuss them with your direct report to make sure there is clarity and you understand them. With those goals in mind, establish your own objectives for achieving success early on and for thriving within the company and with your team.
While you will eventually make friends within your new company, it's best to keep your personal life and opinions private until you get to know others better. And, even when you do feel comfortable, it's better to keep most personal things personal.
These recommendations, though relatively simple, can make a big impact on your transition into a new role and organization. So, the next time you feel overwhelmed by merely contemplating a career move, consider these suggestions and know that you have a hand in making a change a whole lot easier on yourself.