Your First Week in a New Role
June 7, 2022
According to a Forbes article first impressions are made within seven seconds!
Even more significantly, first impressions can be hard to change. Don't let that scare you though. With these tried-and-true methods, you can make a great impression during your first week.
‘S’ Survey your surroundings. Learn your way around the office including where the coffee and restrooms are located, where your boss resides, who sits nearby, who works the front desk and what keys open the supply closet etc. During your lunch break, if not eating with colleagues, take a walk around the neighbourhood to learn where you can grab a quick sandwich or a coffee on days when you need a pick-me-up.
‘T’ Take the time to analyse and learn the most important things. Find out all you can about your new company, department and role. Study the website, read everything you can lay your hands on and ask lots of questions. Be sure you are knowledgeable about the company’s strategic goals, the expectations for your department and most importantly, for you!
‘U’ Understand the people situation. Figure out who’s who. Learn the hierarchy and know where you fit in. But don’t limit yourself by reaching out only to those at your level. Be friendly and respectful to everyone you meet. Having good relationships with people at every rung of the corporate ladders will be a great asset to your career.
‘D’ Do not make hasty decisions and think before you speak. Sure, you’re anxious to contribute to your department and company, but tread lightly. Being critical of company policies and protocols before you know how and why they work, may turn off colleagues. Avoid overuse of the phrase “At my old job…” Instead, sit back and listen at meetings and when in doubt, ask lots of questions. Once you understand the situation, you can then apply your experience to drive improvement.
‘Y’ Yes you can! No matter how overwhelmed you feel in your new position… just take a deep breath, remain calm, stay focused, and prioritise, prioritise, prioritise.
Act like you’re still on an interview
Once you get the job, it’s only natural that you feel more relaxed. Yet, it’s still too early to let it all hang out. Case in point, in many jobs, employees must pass a probationary period of thirty days or more, before they can breathe a sigh of relief. During your first week on the job, make sure to put your best foot forward by behaving appropriately. Be friendly, professional and do your best to fit in to the company culture, as you understand it so far. This is not the time to dress down, show up late or leave early answer emails during meetings or make personal phone calls. Focus on getting to know your new role, company and colleagues.
Don’t wait to meet with your manager
Be proactive when it comes to meeting with your manager. The sooner you have a sit-down, the sooner you’ll be on the right track with your new job. This initial meeting is vital in establishing what your success in the first week, month and quarter looks like. If you have direct reports in your new role, be sure to meet with each of them to understand their current responsibilities and frustrations and then set your expectations for the future.
Get on board with onboarding
Be proactive when it comes to your induction. This includes attending any new employee meetings, tours or activities, reading all materials that will prepare you for your job responsibilities, and going out of your way to meet your new colleagues. Attending the company induction or training programmes will provide you with introductions to other new recruits and help you create a new network of company contacts. It is likely that other attendees will be from different business units or locations and will be valuable connections to help you achieve success in the future if you take the time to build strong relationships with them.
It’s often the case that the first week of a new job is fairly quiet. Take advantage of this time and create organisational systems that will help you do your job well once the pace picks up. Understand the technology platforms you will be using, set up your email folders or labels, and create a filing system that will keep your organised as your workload increases.
During your first week, work with your manager to create 30-, 60- and 90-day plans to keep your professional goals in mind in the early months of your new job. Be sure to align these to the success factors your manager has discussed with you and include measurable goals that you can work towards. This plan will help keep your organised and focussed so you can take advantage of your full potential as a new hire.