If you’re starting a new job and worried you’ll be all at sea, you’re not alone. More than one in three employees say that they didn’t have any kind of onboarding process to introduce them to their role and help them settle in quickly.
What employees want, according to a survey by HR tech firm Talmundo, are things like clear job duties and expectations, time for training, mixing with colleagues and an overview of the company structure.
As a new starter, if you don’t get these things from your company, all is not lost. With a bit of preparation and a proactive attitude, you can make a strong start even if you’re just dropped into the office and left to get on with it. Take a look at these tips for your first days.
- Do your homework
The more you know about the company before you start, the better position you are in to make a difference. Doing your research will also mean discovering what you don’t know and need to find out on day one.
Todd Dean, co-founder and CMO of mobile employment app Wirkn, says the more you know about a company, the more impact you can have. “You need to show up on your first day with an almost global scope in mind – what’s your role, how you can impact the company on a larger scale,” he says.
- Make connections
You won’t achieve much on your own: getting to know your colleagues all over the organisation will help you understand the business more quickly. And when it’s time to implement your ideas, having good relationships will be key to building support.
“Spending time early on to figure out who the key influencers are in relation to your role, and getting to know them face-to-face, can pay big dividends down the road,” says Susan Peppercorn, an executive career transition coach and speaker.
- Adapt to the culture
All the same, it’s best not to try to make any big changes too soon. If you can show that you understand the way things work right now, and that you’re able to fit in, then it’ll be easier to get your proposals for change taken seriously down the line.
“Think of entering your new company like you’d enter a new country,” says David Sturt, vice-president of O.C. Tanner, a company which helps employers build strong corporate cultures. “It has its own cultural preferences, and paying attention to them will significantly influence your success there.”
- Look for early wins to build trust
By starting with some small, easy improvements to the way your team works, you can create confidence in your ideas. Bringing seasoned team members on board to identify which ideas are most likely to be successful can help to avoid culture clashes and mistakes.
As Susan Peppercorn puts it, “The goal isn’t to become a hero by tackling the most ambitious problem imaginable. Instead, it’s to select an initial success that motivates the team, can be achieved quickly, and delivers operational or financial results.”