Whether you’re joining a new company, or moving to a new position within your current organization, the change can be stressful and filled with unknowns. There are some simple actions you can take, however, to make the transition a smooth one and help put you on the path toward success.
1. Ask Questions
As a new hire, no one expects you to know everything your first day (or first month). At the same time, being the new kid means it is acceptable for you to ask lots of questions. Take advantage of your newbie status and ask as much as possible.
2. Listen and observe
Asking questions is only part of the equation for learning the ins and outs of your new place of work. Listen to what your coworkers say to each other and observe what they do and how they interact.
3. Get to know everyone
You’re going to be working with these people for a (potentially) long time. Take the time early on to learn about each of them, what their expectations and goals are, and how they work best with each other.
4. Don’t believe everything you’re told; find out for yourself
Every workplace has gossip, but gossip is notoriously unreliable. Instead of believing what one coworker may tell you about another, listen, observe and find out for yourself.
5. Remain flexible
Often the position description that was presented to you during the interview process may not align with the reality of the position. Determine what really are the day-to-day responsibilities of your position and how success will be measured. Then tailor your work to that reality.
6. Look for the hot button issues
Every workplace has hot button issues, often rooted in events that occurred long before you arrived on the scene. Whether it was a bad experience with a process or a clash with a former vendor, it helps to identify those issues and employ care when navigating them. Just because something is a hot button issue, however, doesn’t necessarily mean it’s off limits — it just means you need to understand what’s behind it and use that knowledge to broach the subject.
7. Be open to the new culture
Avoid the classic thought of “that’s not how we did this at my last job” and remain open to different approaches. Only after understanding both approaches will you be qualified to evaluate if one approach is better.
8. Manage expectations of yourself
As the new employee, your boss and coworkers will be watching carefully to determine what can be expected of you. Help them out (and nip unrealistic expectations in the bud) by being honest about what you do and don’t know; about the skills you process and those skills you might still be developing.
9. Set goals for what you expect from your first 30, 90 and 180 days
In addition to how the organization will judge your success in the new position, you should set additional goals against which you will measure your personal success. If you know where you are headed, that makes it easier for those around you to assess you progress.
10. Be yourself
Even though you’re remaining open and flexible with your new role, remember to be yourself. You were hired because of what you bring to the organization — the value you deliver.