Starting a new job is very exciting but it can also be daunting. You'll need to not only perform well in your new role but also understand and fit into the company's culture.
Below are some tips to help you get off on the right foot.
Know the company and the industry
Make sure you are up-to-date with what's going on in the company so you can add value in meetings.
We suggest that you go onto the company's website and look up the financial updates, read recent press articles, and the company’s own social media output to add some depth to your knowledge.
Collect back issues of the company's newsletters and annual reports. Review your competitors' literature too, to get a better handle on the bigger picture.
It is important to understand your boss’s communication style from the beginning. Work out how they like to get things done on a daily basis.
Understand the company culture
Spend the first few weeks in your new role learning about the company culture. What hours do most people work? Is there a lot of socializing during the day, or do people stay focused on their work? Are you expected to eat lunch at your desk? Does everyone go for a drink on a Friday night? Once you find out about the culture at your new company will you be able to feel more like part of the team.
Understand your new boss
It is important to understand your boss’s communication style from the beginning. Work out how they like to get things done on a daily basis. For example, does your new boss like one-on-one meetings or team meetings? Are they interested in the detail or do they prefer a summary? Be proactive and initiate a meeting with your new boss to discuss how they like to work, and adapt accordingly.
Dress for the role
Take care in your own presentation and dress tastefully and slightly above dress code.
Working under a new boss can be unnerving and challenging. Learn everything you can from the experience and try to empathise with the boss’s situation — it can be just as challenging for them. This will ease the transition for you both. Remember, it’s up to the both of you to make the relationship work.
You'll be expected to take in a great deal of information in the first few weeks. Write down processes, names of key people and contact numbers, so that you'll be able to refer to your notes when you need them.
Get to know your colleagues
To help you adjust into your new work environment, make an effort to get to know your colleagues. These are the people who will be able to help you find your way and even give you a heads up on what things matter most to your boss. Establish the foundation for a relationship, and trust and information will follow.
You're going to be taking in a huge amount of new information during your first few weeks so expect and embrace the inevitable challenges of your position and don't be too hard on yourself as everyone has been a new starter at least once. Go into a new job with an open mind and the flexibility to change.
Take initiative and be positive
Make sure you have a positive attitude. As you finish assignments and are ready to handle more projects, ask for more - particularly projects that have management support and buy-in from your division.
Proceed carefully with changes
You might think you have a better way of doing things but get to know your new job and workplace before you suggest doing things differently. You might learn they have already tried those ideas or that they didn't work for a reason. And you may risk annoying your new colleagues. Ask why things are done the way they are and seek feedback from people whose support you need.
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For more career advice please contact:
Nic Sephton-Poultney, Country Manager (South Africa)
+27 (0) 11 881 2414