How to Navigate the Workplace as a New Hire

Congratulations! You’ve landed your dream job and given a huge sign of relief. All the anxiety, the hours of preparation and the interviewing process are now over: the job is yours. Now come the questions occupying your mind for your new role, and there will be plenty: workplace culture, new teammates, a brand new boss, and a whole new set of expectations are about to come your way. The plethora of unknowns can become consuming.

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There seem to be a good many articles out there about the onboarding process and how to make sure you get the paperwork right, but let’s focus on some of the things you’ll need to be successful while you’re new on the job:

Get details in advance: Even with self-service technology improvements, there is still a LOT of paperwork to complete, so be pro-active and see what you can tick off before you start. Also, ask for basic housekeeping details before your first day: dress code, work location, start time, end time, what you need to bring, and a general agenda for day one. This will ensure your essentials for your first day through your first week are taken care of.

Learn the landscape: One of the most daunting tasks of being a newcomer is figuring out how things work. Take those crucial first few weeks to dive in and learn as much as you can. While you bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to the table, learning expectations around your role as well as how it contributes to the overall team is crucial for your comfort and future success. Don’t be afraid to ask a lot of questions and to admit you don’t know something. The quicker you ask, the faster you’ll know.

Meet your team: As you immerse yourself in your work culture, meet the people with whom you’ll be working. Take the initiative to learn with whom you’ll be connected and make the initiative to get to know them well. Learn about their experiences in the company, and get a sense from them what kind of environment you’ll be making your mark. Also, try to ascertain what kind of behavior is rewarded at your new workplace: are they a come-early-stay-late kind of crowd or are they regimented 9-to-5-ers? This knowledge can work to your advantage.

Set expectations: Building rapport with your new manager is invaluable, as they’re responsible for your inevitable rise within the organization. Understanding their expectations of your performance are crucial, even while you’re still getting your feet on solid ground. Don’t be afraid to ask a lot of questions and reinforce your understanding of your goals and performance metrics. You’ll also want to gather information on what keeps your boss up at night; solving their problems makes for an amazing impression that lasts well into review time.

Be patient: This is particularly important when it comes to demonstrating what you can do. Of course, you want to show your new employer they were right to hire you by showing results quickly. Keep in mind, however, there is a fine balance between demonstrating your array of skills and coming across as overly confident in the beginning. In your first few weeks, aim to more listening than talking and don’t be in a rush to show off all your skills at once. You're in it for the long term, so pace yourself. You’ll have plenty of time to prove you’re a great hire so use the first few weeks to soak up the culture and get a read on how things are done.

A brand-new job is an incredible opportunity, a clean slate where you can start again and build a foundation for career success. Use these tips in your first few weeks, and you’ll not only make a great impression, but you’ll relax enough to enjoy this new life experience.

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