Beginning a new job
Have you recently accepted a new job? Congratulations! Now you can think about how to best transition into the organization. Whether you are early in your career or have worked for several years, these recommendations are intended to help you plan your entry and guide you in your first 100 hours and 100 days.
Your first 100 hours
- Dress for success. As a new employee, you will be noticed by others, so it is best to dress in-line with the company dress code (if there is one).
- Takes notes. Carry a notepad with you and capture important information. It will also show that you are attentive and you’ll have notes to refer back to when needed.
- Learn names. No one will expect you to remember everyone’s name, but try to learn as many as you can. It’s okay in the beginning to say, “Can you remind me of your name?”
- Introduce yourself. Try to meet as many people as possible, even if you have to walk up to them and introduce yourself. If possible, ask to be involved in your announcement in order to maximize how you are seen, presented, and positioned.
- Ask questions. You will not be expected to know everything in the beginning, but you will be expected to ask questions and become comfortable and more knowledgeable in your new setting within the first couple of weeks. Develop a strategy for how you will get more of the critical information you need about the organization, the people, the work and the culture so you can build solid relationships with your new manager and colleagues.
- Take initiative. You want to make a good impression and show your strong work ethic. This includes arriving to work on time.
- Develop relationships. Participate in group lunches, community events and various activities during and after work when you have the opportunity.
- Avoid office gossip. People may talk and try to warn you about a person or situation. Don’t let office gossip influence you — come to your own conclusions based on your own observations.
Your first 100 days
- Understand the culture. A successful transition requires you to identify the cultural norms and styles of the organization, your manager and peers. You probably gained an impression of the culture during your research and interview. Now you need to refine what you know. Observe how things are done and how people interact. Consider the following:
- Do people collaborate or work autonomously?
- Do people communicate face-to-face or electronically?
- Does management empower employees?
- Are people open and friendly or quiet and business-like?
- Does the company respect diversity?
- Plus, any other company norms that you observe.
- Determine and align expectations. Understand what business results are expected, in what priority, and how those results will be measured. Even though some of these questions were asked during the interview process, you will need to fine-tune the answers to the following:
- What are you responsible for?
- What are the immediate expectations and longer term goals?
- What are your manager’s priorities? What is most important?
- What kind of working relationship does your manager prefer?
- Is there anything happening in the organization that you should know about?
- What key people should you meet?
- Focus on early impact projects. The short-term and long-term focus needs to be balanced because you need to demonstrate your effectiveness early on in order to become an established force within the organization. Do not try to spend time on every possible project or initiative; your efforts will be diluted. Ask yourself:
- Considering what you have learned about the organization, what projects are most important to undertake in the first 100 days, six months, first year?
- Which projects are long-term and which are short-term?
- Of the short-term projects, which are most likely to create an early positive impact on the organization?
- Build relationships. You will need to establish meaningful and genuine connections with your manager, peers, senior management, customers and employees to build trust and credibility. These connections will be the beginning of relationship building, and provide the foundation for you to contribute effectively in the organization. Moving too quickly on what you need to deliver without having built positive alliances can sometimes alienate others and undermine essential cooperation and support. Stay low until you understand the culture and environment. As early as possible, you will need to understand the following:
- What are others responsible for? What is important to them? What do they need? What is their professional background?
- What works for them? What doesn’t? What are their ideas of what should be done to improve things?
- How does your job fit with what they do? How can you make their job easier? Briefly describe yourself. Ask what they would like to know about you.
- Who are the people in control of the resources that make your work happen?
Not all of these factors will apply when transitioning into a new position. The industry, type of organization, your specific role, size of company, start-up, and/or if your role allows working remotely will factor into what you need to do to adjust effectively.
Finally, it is important to establish your credibility and value to the organization as early as possible, but in a positive manner. Don’t push your opinions and ideas on others until you understand the issues and the impact of your thoughts. Sometimes silence can communicate a message as well. Never be afraid to say “I would like to gather more information, or gain a better understanding before I make a decision on this matter.” Be open, professional, and ready to learn to successfully transition into your new job.