As a new hire, you hold more power than you think. Don't wait for the HR department to tell you all that you should do.
Some companies are particularly good at training their new employees. They have protocols setup for engaging you in what you need to know--which softwares to master, a best practices workflow, your specific roles & responsibilities, and their general expectations of you.
Unfortunately, not all companies have come up with an effective onboarding process. Onboarding refers to the method of getting a new hire trained, competent, and happy at their job. This process typically spans over a new employee's first 90 days. It takes new hire orientation to a whole new level.
Some companies have it down to a science: how to make you feel welcome and teach you how to be outstanding at your job. While others...are wanting in this area. Sadly, a lot of employees leave companies like this within the first six months--although longer-term the company would have been a great fit for them--because of their organization's lack of onboarding process.
I've worked for a company like this. The training period was nothing short of BORING! And much of that training process was meant to be self-motivated on my part. Yet, when I looked around at the different teams and people functioning at their jobs at that company, the individuals seemed happy, contented, and glad that they got to work where they worked and with whom they worked. They liked what they were doing on a day-to-day basis!
What do these employees know that other new hires don't?
Perhaps it is that you as a new hire have got a lot more power than you think in the process. Your first 90 days don't need to be all about people telling you what to do--believe it or not, if you are willing to get in the driver's seat, you will get through training much more quickly, as well as open up other potential doors for yourself to an engaging new job or career path.
Below are 10 tips for how to make this happen:
1. Get a clear vision of what your new roles and responsibilities are
Hopefully there is some form of orientation at the company you have just onboarded with, but if there is not, you are likely feeling overwhelmed about what it is exactly you will be doing. In as much as you can, ask the clarifying questions you need to best understand your new job description.
2. Your first responsibility is to kick butt at your job
Learn all you can about the software you are using. Ask those who are part of your training process questions about how to be more efficient in your workflow. Find out the hacks that others doing similar functions are using. There are so many resources available--from digital sticky notes to automated emails. Ask your leaders for feedback on how to be even more effective and efficient.
3. Don't be afraid to ask questions
If you never ask a question, the answer is always "No." You are new; that is no mystery to your employer and co-workers. Inorder to learn what it is you don't know, you need to become comfortable with asking questions: "Do you have a project that I can help with?" "What do I need to do with this information?" "How do I work this part of the software?"
4. Learn all that you can about the organization's mission, goals, culture, and vision
Your first 90 days at a new company or job can be very overwhelming. The easiest way to keep all of the new information in context is by understanding how it relates back to the bigger picture. Getting to know how & why the company came into existence and what they are trying to achieve & how, will help you really apply the things you are learning on the job.
5. Have your own goals clear in your mind
The more you can define what it is that you personally want to gain from working for this new company and position, the clearer your focus will be. As you know what it is you want, this will help you obtain the individual goals, skills, and connections you need to progress on your individual career journey. And who knows, you may even see new doors open up to you as a result of being explicit with yourself about what it is you are trying to obtain from this new job experience.
6. Get to know your co-workers
Creating relationships at work is of vital importance in the first 90 days of your new job. Although you may be in one department, it is important to get to know people in neighboring departments of the company as well. Introduce yourself to people in the office. If your new job is a remote position, ask about opportunities to meet the other staff (whether that be zoom meetings, a regularly scheduled department lunch, etc.).
7. As you get to know your co-workers, seek to understand what their job functions and roles are
Your responsibility to yourself when you begin a new position is to become the greatest asset you can be to a company. Part of the way you do this is by being an asset to the teams that already exist around you.
Seek understanding about what it is that your co-workers do and in what way you can contribute to the vision of the company as a whole.
8. Take initiative to make yourself a part of the team
Who said you need to wait to feel welcomed? They wanted you as part of their team for a reason. Do what you can to integrate yourself into the organization.
Are there natural ways to connect with co-workers? Does the company engage in community outreach or volunteering? Ask questions and get involved.
Do people take turns making the pot of coffee in the morning? Well maybe you can bring in a high-class roast. Does everyone congregate around the water machine around 3 p.m.? Stop by and share a joke. Building relationships can hold just as much value as your efforts at your job function.
9. Find a mentor at work
Ideally, you were paired up with individuals to help you in your training and transition process. However, you shouldn't feel limited by this. There are a variety of people who are more than ready to help you be a success at your new job.
Within your first few weeks at a company, these people typically have presented themselves to you by using phrases like, "Don't hesitate if you need help," "Let me know if you need anything," and "I look forward to getting to work with and know you better."
10. Look for opportunities to shine
Believe it or not, there will be opportunities for you to utilize skills you didn't know you had, as well as develop new ones! Perhaps the boss mentions a new marketing campaign he had been trying to work through the details on and wants to know if anyone has ever had experience video editing before. If you do, or worked on the publicity committee back in college for your sorority--speak up! Employers love employees who are engaged and show initiative. Who knows, this may lead to your next promotion!
Be brave. Take initiative. If anything, you will gain much more quickly what it is you are wanting from a new job experience. Ultimately, you are in the driver's seat of your own career and life--isn't that fun?! Now go and make the most of this new career opportunity!