We already know how critical the first 90 days of a new job is for all parties. Those first three months of a role can, in effect, be an extension of the interview process. Whether that’s set out in a formal manner like a probationary period or in less formal terms it’s important to remain focused on getting your career off to a flyer and proving value to your new employer quickly.
But what about your less strategic and more pragmatic, day to day approach to help you land well. A lot of this is about basic Emotional Intelligence – you’re in a new place, with new responsibilities, a new team and countless things to learn and absorb about the culture and all its subtleties.
We’ve put together 8 tips to make those first few weeks go like a dream…
- There are no stupid questions
Ask questions about everything. It’s how we learn and whilst you might feel uncomfortable at first, it’s essential you understand and learn how things are done particularly if you’re planning to make changes, you’ll need the full backing of those involved, which means taking the time to really understand and to gain trust and confidence.
- Don’t be a ‘know it all’
Yes, you’ve been brought in to impart knowledge and add value, but there’s a way of going about it. In the first few weeks of a new job, consistently referring to how you did it at your previous employer is unlikely to be well received. You’ll hear many points of view and approaches to work in these early days, you may not agree with it all, but you should take it onboard.
- Find the person who does ‘know it all’
Every business has this person. Perhaps they’ve been there a lifetime or perhaps they just have a really deep understanding of how the business works – this can be one of the most important relationships you build. You ‘need’ this person in the first few weeks of your role whether it’s a high-level problem, knowing who to speak to about what or how to order stationery, they’ll have the answer.
- What does good look like?
This is an important question and one which you will have explored at interview, but now that you’re on the ground this will start to develop. Whether you’re reporting into someone or you’re managing a team, what exactly does ‘good’ look like to each set of stakeholders, and how will you be judged by them. It’s an essential early conversation to have with those you work with and agree on what a good outcome will be for all of you.
- Do Lunch
There will be relationships you’ll need to develop beyond a quick hello in the corridor, plan some strategic lunch dates with these people. It doesn’t have to be all business, it’s an opportunity to get to know them at the same time as considering how you’ll be working together and exchanging value. And from a wellbeing point of view, it’s good to step away from your desk and get out of the office.
- Live up to your own hype
Of course, you’ll go into your new role fully intending to achieve everything you said you would at interview stage. It’s not that you intentionally won’t in practice, but often priorities change once you’re in the role, and the day to day tasks and responsibilities can easily take over. Your superiors and people in your team might not remember everything you promised, but you should. Take time to consider those things you intended to do, planning them into your workflow and setting yourself a target to achieve them by.
- Stick your nose in
Seriously be a bit nosy, there’ll be lots of meetings taking place in your business and some won’t involve you or your team but in the first three months perhaps they should. Breaking down silos and getting a wider view of the whole business is never a bad thing. It will stand you in good stead and provide invaluable insight about who and what is important across the business and why.
- Learn the brew etiquette
This is the most important of all these tips, of course. You could be great at your job, but if you don’t stand your brew round there may be trouble ahead. On a more serious note it is these everyday norms that can make or break fitting in with a team on a day to day basis regardless of skillset or overall fit with the business, so take the time to learn them and don’t be that person who leaves their dirty pots in the sink for someone else to wash.
What are your hints and tips for a successful start to a new role?