The excitement of a new job – the allure of a better title, responsibilities, compensation and other monetary and lifestyle benefits are things that excite most people. At the same time there is a feeling of apprehension and tension about the unknown. Will I succeed in the new workplace? Will I like my co-workers and make good friends? Will this job be fun and challenging at the same time? Will I fit in with the company culture? and so on and so forth…
Irrespective of the thoughts swirling in your head, there are a few things you can do ahead of time to set yourself for success at your new job.
- If possible, when you receive the job offer from the hiring manager or the HR, make sure you understand all the details including telecommuting options and flexible work arrangements. Most people think they can start at a new job and then slowly coax their manager to allow telecommuting. While this may be true for the majority of workplaces, there are some workplaces and work teams that have a stricter view about remote work. If flexibility and remote work options are important to you, bring it up during the interview process and/or during the negotiation process.
- During the first week at work, outside of orientation and other job learning sessions that are set up for you, ensure you get some one on one time directly with your manager. Ask if you can go out to lunch if possible.
- Use this time to infer the team culture especially around areas of responsibilities and communication. The most common problems and conflicts that arise at work are when responsibilities are not clear and people assume someone else is responsible for a piece of work. Second common problem is when open communication is not encouraged and people have to resort to water-cooler conversations to talk about issues that should be openly spoken about and addressed.
- Also, use this time to gently tell your manager how you work best – give her examples of how you excel when the lines of communication are open among the team. How you prefer immediate feedback and rectification, rather than wait for months to be told in a performance review about something that you do not remember. This does not imply that you are not open to last minute tasks and emergency situations. It just indicates that you preference is as indicated above.
- Set up lunches with team members and other colleagues you will be working closely with. In addition to sharing about yourself and trying to build rapport, try to understand what they love about their job and what are aspects they would love to see improved. This is a great way to add value to others outside of your standard job responsibilities, if you have the capability to solve the problems they are facing.
- Refrain from forming impressions based on other people’s opinions of people, team or the organization itself. You will hear a lot of stories and possibly gossip during your lunch sessions. Be polite and hear the other person out without forming an opinion.
- Last but not least, make sure you begin forming relationships with the administrative professionals. In most big organizations, the administrative assistants, the receptionist, the office managers etc all are key players who know a lot about the culture and office dynamics.
Following these steps will help you navigate the new environment better and help you set yourself up for success.
What tips and strategies have you used to succeed at a new workplace?