Have you ever joined an organisation and spent the first few months doubting your abilities? Sometimes, it might be the unique intricacy of the new job or a principality you didn’t think would affect your performance.
Change happens to everyone across different spheres, and adaptation is a word that has found its way into our daily parlance. Changing jobs is a permanent feature of our career paths and sometimes, adapting to a new clime, culture and other unfactored elements could douse the zeal and functionality if not properly managed.
While some organisations have exciting onboarding and inboarding programs to enable a seamless settling in for the employee, you are largely responsible for your integration and performance. Below are a few practical principles to aid your settling in.
Understand your job description and expectations
Almost every job comes with a job description and with this, comes certain expectations. Clarifying this from the start puts you on the right track. It is important that you are in alignment with your team lead/hiring manager, and you are on the same page as far as your deliverables are concerned. This helps gauge your performance using the right metrics.
Care about the culture
Nothing makes a recruit settle in fast enough like understanding the company culture. Beyond the employees’ handbook, there are a thousand unwritten rules you must observe yourself. For instance, do people address themselves by their first names or add titles? Do people eat in the kitchen or go out to eat? Do juniors speak in meetings or take notes and express their thoughts later? Do they dress down on Friday? Do you listen to music with your headsets? Do you solely report to your team-lead or are there other stakeholders you report to?
Finding answers to these intriguing questions might guide your steps.
Know your stakeholders
A lot of times, when we hear the word “stakeholder,” we think about our supervisor, our direct team lead, our manager, or the head of business. However, there are other cadres of people pivotal to our performance and productivity. For example, as a finance manager, the entry-level accountant who handles the purchases and other source documents for the organisation might be your stakeholder. As a product manager, the backend engineers and product designers are crucial to the speed of your deliverables, thus you have to learn how to factor them into your thought processes.
Have deliberate catch-up
Some organisations have a buddy system and attach you to someone who acts as your buddy, guides and helps you for the first few weeks. Whether you were assigned a buddy or not, having catchups with colleagues above and around your cadre is one of the exciting things to do during your first 90 days. It helps you connect with people naturally and opens you up to a lot of timely information.
Ask introspective questions like, “What can I do for my team or unit today? What do my colleagues/managers/clients need from me today?” From offering new insights, volunteering to lead a project, or simply being supportive of your co-worker who has more than her desk, small gestures like these make people “open-up” to you and speak well about you behind closed doors.
Show your work, track your impact
In my eBook, Lustre-shining through the teeming crowd, I talked about how having a brag-sheet is good for your progress. At every point in time, keep track of your contributions to the team — the deals you closed, the funding you raised, the cases you won, the research you wrote — and always maximise the opportunity to show your work to relevant stakeholders, especially if your contract has a probational clause.
Gifts open great doors, even in the corporate space. Find out the birthdays of people and give them gifts. Give an equipment or utensil to your team, pay for someone’s access to a platform, the list is endless and gifts do not have to cost a fortune.
I will never forget an acquaintance who paid for his partner’s access to the Athletic posts because he had heard the partner talk about it during a bonding event. It was an open door to the partner’s workflow and this enhanced his visibility as he worked with him on some exciting projects, even as a junior associate. This also put him in the good books of other senior associates and partners, and it led to an increase in his performance bonus.
90 days might seem small, but a lot of times, it has proven paramount to employees’ performance; use them judiciously. And guess what, even if you are reading this and you are in the middle of a job, applying these principles might skyrocket your performance and take it to the next level.