New company. New position. New challenges. A dream come true. Very few things come close to the excitement that comes with starting your new ideal job. The flip side of this coin are the nerves about meeting new people, impressing your new boss, finding your way, and not appearing clueless. When you’re starting a new job, or are a few days or weeks in, you want to have a successful introduction. We’re here to help. Keep reading for our top survival tips for your new job and putting your best foot forward.
Each day, week and month during your probation period has its own tasks, responsibilities, and things you need to do while settling in. Each one will require something different for you. So, we’ve broken it down with tips for each week to help ease you in confidently.
Week One: Surviving The ‘Newbie’ Stage
- Arrive early
Arriving late on your first day or week won’t look good to your team, manager, or HR. Plan your trip with 30-minutes to spare to cover any delays like traffic, finding parking and finding your way. If you’ll be working remotely, test and check your connection ahead of time.
- Introduce yourself
You’ll be meeting a lot of people in the first week, all with questions about who you are, what you do, which team you’ll fit in and where your background is. An elevator pitch will help respond and articulate yourself easier and quicker. Being able to share your passion, hopes, and what you’ll do will also help your team and company at large and get to know you.
- Learn the organisation chart
There is no expectation for you to know everyone, their roles and where they fit in during your first week, or month. However, trying to know your new team structure and their roles will provide you with some insight into whom you will be working closely with and how the whole team and company operates.
- Ask questions
When in doubt ask. There’s no such thing as a stupid question. If you don’t understand something, can’t remember where the cafeteria is or in doubt, ask. You don’t want to come across as a “know-it-all” and you certainly want to show you’re willing to learn. This will go down better than trying to figure it all out on your own.
Week Two: Making Inroads
- Complete all the necessary training
The onboarding process may continue into week two. This includes not just learning about the company structure and HR policies, but the different software, tools, and platform you’ll be using in your role. Even if you’re familiar with some of these from your previous roles, take notes where there are differences in how things are done. And if there are approvals, specifications and other processes utilised. This is also a good time to observe areas you may want to improve on as time goes on.
- Define and confirm your KPI’s and success
You will have most likely met one-on-one with your manager to go over your role and responsibilities you talked about in the interview. Now is your chance to clarify things, go over the key elements and performance metrics you’ll be evaluated on. You can also use this week to learn about your manager’s leadership style, expectations, and what the individual, team and manager’s success looks like.
- Build relationships with your team
No man is an island. This isn’t clearer than in the workplace. Your success is your team’s success. Conversely, your failure is your team’s failure. Building relationships will help you in creating smoother workflows, understanding team dynamics, and individual personalities and how to manage them. Long term, when you need a favour or are facing a deadline and need help, it will be the fostered relationships that will help you meet and win.
Week Three: Survival Tips To Set Yourself Up
- Celebrate early wins and contribute
You may be given new tasks and already roped into meetings and projects. These are great avenues to show what you’ve learned, how well you’ve picked up on systems and processes, and are adapting. Contribute, either by asking questions or making comments in meetings. Raise your hand and volunteer your skills to tasks that will help your colleagues succeed. They will see you, note your value, and you too will begin to feel more comfortable as you begin to cement your place in the team.
- Learn from difficult processes, procedures, and tasks
Be gentle with yourself. You will make mistakes as you learn. What you do need to do is own up to them, learn from them, and show your team and manager that you can bounce back from any challenge. Build on from the previous weeks’ tips and continue asking questions and taking notes until you’re more comfortable in your role. Everything is a new learning curve and unless you’re Albert Einstein’s prodigy and know everything under the sun – every day and week is an opportunity to learn.
“If you are going to achieve excellence in big things, you develop the habit in little matters.” Small everyday acts will help you win! Make a conscious effort that you will not only commit but do things every day that will take you closer to your role. These include arriving at work on time, completing difficult tasks first, clearing your inbox daily and developing a system that will help you cope with the coming stresses and pressures of the job. Know who you are and what works for you and then cultivate habits that will exploit your strengths and improve your weak areas.
Week Four: Surviving and Thriving
- Take ownership of your role
You’re approaching the one-month mark in your new role and have spent weeks finding your feet and learning the ropes. Now is the time to buckle down and apply your skills to the challenges and pain points you’ve identified. Set three, six, nine and year long goals for yourself and what you’ll need to do to achieve each of them.
- One month check-in
For some this may seem to be too soon in the game to sit with your manager and find out how you’re doing. You can request an informal chat with your manager to discuss your first month, identify priority tasks, lay your observations, suggestions and ask those questions that will help you go the rest of the way without them and your team holding your hand. This is also a great way to show great initiative and how much you’ve picked up on in your first month.
- Remember that your learning shouldn’t stop, irrespective of how comfortable you are with how things work.
- Remain open-minded
- Listen more than you speak
- Last, and not least, is to just be yourself. It’s a cliché but should not be overlooked. Only you have the skills, personality, experience, and character they need. Which is why and how you got the job.
A new job is a big change in your life and a big step towards you achieving your career goals. Like all changes, there will be growing pains, unique challenges and adjusting and adapting to the new environment. All these can become overwhelming and if not well-managed, can impact your mental health.