Tips for Early Success in Your New Job
Undoubtedly, the experience of the first month in a new job is often nerve-wracking. There is so much happening around a new hire, and there are abbreviations to learn, new people, and new customs. Also, they cannot help but wonder whether their boss likes them, if they are making a good impression, and if they are doing things the right way.
The bottom line, in this case, is that starting a new job is quite scary whether one has a 20-year working experience or as a fresh recruit straight out of college. That explains why the experience of entering into a new work environment feels like stepping into a different planet. Note that people may be expecting a lot from a new employee in such situations, which can be pretty overwhelming.
Understand that comprehensive onboarding is critical because it allows recruits to feel comfortable in a new job. The only problem is that some organizations do not appreciate the necessity of helping new hires assimilate to their new office setting. In such situations, orientation programs for new employees are often brief, yet they should go beyond the usual one-off meeting.
It is a firm’s responsibility to help new hires learn the office culture, but much of what entails succeeding in a new job depends on the new employee.
The Impact of First Impressions on Long-Term Success
Indeed, first impressions mean a lot when starting a new job. The reason is that although they happen once, they can last a lifetime. Below are some details on how first impressions affect the long-term success of an employee.
• Note that first impressions tend to stick. That means that one may not turn out to be the person their workmates imagine they are. As much as that is the case, the initial judgment of one’s colleagues tends to linger around the context of their first interactions with the new hire.
• Some executives give new employees a few months to prove themselves before taking the next action. That affects the long-term success of new hires because an employer will probably judge them according to first impressions.
• Some workers quit within the first month of employment. That results from several factors, including a poor onboarding experience, poor management, and difficulties fitting in with the corporate culture. Eventually, that bears a negative impact on the success of new hires.
The focus here should be continuously challenging colleagues’ initial experience with a new hire in different settings. That way, workers will change their minds about a new employee. On the other hand, an employer has more impact on whether a new hire succeeds or fails. The reason is that the boss establishes benchmarks for success, controls resources, and interprets actions for other key players.
So, building a meaningful relationship with an employer as one tries to negotiate for resources and establish their mandate is paramount. Here are details on how new employees can achieve early success in a new job.
1. Decide to Live By The Golden Rule
Treating others the way you want them to treat you should be part of your priorities. That is because you will probably hire other people as your subordinates. So, the same way you focus on building a productive relationship with your new boss, you also need to work effectively with your juniors.
That implies that if you have previously helped subordinates transition successfully, you should consider what you can do differently this time to realize better results.
2. Define Your Goals
Outlining your goals from the onset as a new employee is a wise idea. Below are a few things you should bear in mind as you consider working with your new boss.
• Aiming to Score High from The Opinions of Those Your Superior Respects – That is where building supportive internal coalitions comes in handy. Remember that some of your subordinates may have pre-existing relationships with your boss. That suggests that the opinion of such individuals after assessing you matters.
• Clarifying Mutual Expectations By Managing Them As Early As Possible – When an entity has structural issues, and your boss expects you to fix things fast, problems will set in. The wise thing to do, in this case, is lowering expectations and putting everything on the table early. So, before making commitments to your new boss, review your firm’s capacity for change.
• Prioritizing Early Wins in Areas That Matter to Your Boss – Identifying what your boss cares about most and pursuing results in that area should precede your priorities. Doing so allows your boss to own your success, and that is why you should avoid whatever is trivial or misguided. Also, note that you should be shaping your boss’s perception regarding what should and can be achieved.
• Securing Commitments for Resources – Consider negotiating for the resources you need to succeed, including knowledge, people, and funding, even as you establish your goals. Prioritizing goals over corresponding commitments on resources denies you the bargaining power you need.
3. Establish How You Will Work with Your Boss
Taking time to figure out how you and your boss will work together is necessary. Of course, when it comes to how involved the boss wants to be in what you are doing and how much information your superior requires, your preferences may differ. So, instead of allowing misunderstandings to set in, discuss with your boss how you will work together once you take on the new job.
Developing a personal bond with your boss may not be possible, but discussing such a matter early enough allows you to develop a productive working relationship.
4. Prioritize Critical Conversations
Having a series of important conversations with your new boss builds a relationship with them. Such discussions start before accepting your new position, continue before entry, and over into your transition. The conversations you need to plan for with your new boss should touch on;
a) Personal Development
Discuss how your time in the position you are assuming will contribute to your personal development. Some of the things that may come up during such a conversation include the programs or courses that can strengthen your capabilities and special assignments or projects you may venture into in the future.
b) Situational Diagnosis
Seek to establish how your new boss sees the business situation by assessing whether it is a sustaining success, turnaround, realignment, or startup situation. Your opinion may be different from that of your boss, but you need to consider their perspective as well.
Negotiate the resources you need to be successful, and that includes personnel and funding. For instance, in a realignment situation, your new boss can help you confront the need for change.
Spare time to understand and negotiate expectations. The focus here will be the things your new boss wants you to accomplish in the short term and medium term, the measurement procedure, what will constitute success, among other things. On the other hand, under-promising and over-delivering should be part of your broader effort to secure early wins.
Work towards understanding how you and your new boss can interact on an ongoing basis. Some of the things worth considering here include the implications for how both of you should interact, the preferable mode of communication, the decisions your new boss wants to be involved in, among other things.
5. Ensure Your Requests for Support Match with Your Situation
The business situation you are facing will dictate the type of support you need from your new boss. Note that the role of a boss in a startup differs from a sustaining success, turnaround, or realignment situation. As such, gaining consensus on the type of situation is not an option. After that, you need to define your new boss’s role and the support you will request.
Below is a breakdown of the various situations with the respective role of a new boss.
• Offering assistance in finding ways to take a business to new heights.
• Avoiding mistakes that damage the business and offering support for playing good defense.
• Maintaining the right focus.
• Facilitating quick access to important resources.
• Offering guidance at key strategic breakpoints.
• Ensuring that set goals are clear and measurable.
• Prioritizing up-front attention and giving way for employees to work without undue pressure.
• Conducting reality testing frequently to establish whether the situation is truly a realignment or sustaining success scenario.
• Assisting the new leader to make a case for change to the entity. That is especially important if one has joined a firm recently.
• Assisting the new leader to cut deep enough as early as possible.
• Offering support for making and implementing tough personnel calls.
Over time, you will discover that the five conversations above are intertwined, although there is a sequential logic. Style, situational diagnosis, and expectations should be the priority in early conversations. Once you feel that your relationship with your new boss is well established, you can embark on the personal development conversation.
The excitement that comes with a new job is evident, but such an opportunity can also attract stress. Of course, you should not expect to nail a triple axel on the first day after signing up for a figure staking class. So, appreciate that you are only human, adjust your expectations, identify suitable systems, and be kind to yourself in your newfound opportunity.
Here at Infinium, we are more than just money managers. We exist to help you achieve success in many more ways, like your career. Please consider us a trusted resource and sounding board when it comes to optimizing your outcomes, wherever that may take us.
Mark is a +24 year financial advisor veteran and Certified Financial Planner™. He founded Infinium in 2009 to bring a more personal, and truly client-centric offering to investors.