The first three months of any new job is a stressful process for both you and your new company, this is the time many people jump ship thinking they’ve made the wrong mistake, the job isn’t what was sold to them or the culture is far from what they expected.
For this reason, many companies continue the hiring process with a rigorous on-boarding process to ensure your transition is successful and that you’re happy because the sooner you’re settled the sooner you’ll be a more effective and engaged employee.
Here are my top tips for making those first few weeks a seamless transition so you can hit the ground running and make your mark.
Meet and Greet
Starting with your immediate colleagues, say hello and get to know your fellow workers, you will affect each other’s work so it is in everyone’s interest to be friendly and co-operative. Then take the time to meet your peers in other divisions, areas of the business and network around so that when you do need something from them or to ask for help, you have previously taken a few minutes to introduce yourself.
Your colleagues are already friends, maybe they don’t think about asking you out for lunch or coffee or after-work drinks. But that doesn’t mean you’re not welcome. It just means they haven’t thought about it, and if you don’t have a Manager who initiates team bonding, you might never get asked. Next time they are going somewhere, invite yourself along. They will not say no! Plus, how else will you find out where the best cafes are and get the inside goss on the team and company.
If you’re a working mum I know you might prefer to work than socialise, but even just once a week or once a month, make the effort to get to know your colleagues, after all, they will be the ones who help you out when you go home early to collect a sick child.
Be Polite to the Receptionist
It is amazing how much the receptionists know and can help you. Maybe they will be your gatekeeper and stop unwanted calls, maybe they will store your online shopping delivery, maybe they know the CEO really well after working there for 30 years and will be an informal advocate of yours.
It will never hurt your career to be polite to people, even those who don’t ‘seem’ to be able to help you advance your career.
This is especially important if you are managing a team that you start as you mean to go on. For example, if you said in your interview that you believe in flexible working practices then don’t make people feel guilty about working that way. You set the tone for your team, so make sure your energy is primed for day one as the vibe you want to create.
Have meetings with your team so your team knows what success looks like to you and what you expect them to achieve, as well as finding out what success looks like to your boss in your first week, month, quarter. You can’t deliver upwards if you have not set the expectations downstream to support the overall delivery.
You Sold Yourself
Now it’s time to deliver. Whatever it was at interview that you hung your hat on, that you said you could do, and would do, now is the time to start proving you were the right hire. Don’t sit back and think the new girl has a bit of time to “settle in”; you need to be on your game and be delivering from day one, so set up those meetings, find out your immediate deliverables and get to work. Don’t just go off doing what you ‘think’ they need, find out exactly what they want and deliver it to them.
You Got the Job
And it’s often over someone else internally. This can pave the way for awkward conversations, team meetings, conflict and sometimes, downright bitchiness. Do not lower yourself and get into any catfights, you ‘won’ the interview, don’t waste time talking about it, start doing.
Prove why you were chosen through your performance. Leverage their skills, collaborate and use their knowledge and experience to move forward and do great work as a team, instead of letting resentment build.
And kill them with kindness, the nicer you are, the harder it is for them or any friends and colleagues to cause conflict.
Keep a record of your accomplishments and contributions from day one, including emails thanking you for your work, performance reports, and all positive feedback. When it’s time for your performance review, if you’re seeking promotion or negotiating a pay rise, you’ll wish you had done it. So start now!
You might be the new girl but don’t sit in meetings in silence. Ask questions, learn as much as you can about the company and contribute to the conversation. You need to be visible, the more people see and hear you the sooner they will get used to seeing you around and know who to go to in the future.
This is particularly important if you are planning on making any changes, so engage your team, ask lots of questions about what works and doesn’t work, and work with them to implement changes that are wanted and are supported.
Update Linked In
With your new company, job title and connect to your new colleagues. Let your old network know where you are working so you can continue to leverage those relationships. Now is a perfect time to request recommendations and keep your online brag file current.
It is up to you if you friend colleagues on Facebook but my advice is to keep a personal distance (especially if you are the Manager) and keep connections professional.
However, depending on your industry and job, it might make sense to connect across all platforms, so use your discretion, just remember it might not be a good look for a new boss to see your personal photos or posts that others tag you in, unless you are always going to audit your social media profile.
You are fresher, more alert, less stressed, happier, and perform better when you are fit and healthy, so find out where your colleagues exercise and join in, or start up a lunchtime walking club or just get out into the fresh air yourself. Your mind and body will thank you for it, and so will your career.
(And if all else fails, you can always win people over with macaroons.)