Starting a new job can be a daunting experience, whether it’s your first foray into the working world or another step on the corporate ladder. No matter what your experience level, starting afresh in a new environment can be as intimidating as it is exciting.

You only get one shot at a first impression, so its imperative that you make yours count for the right reasons. Luckily, here at Sales Placement, our wealth of experience matching qualified candidates to appropriate organisations has taught us a few key things with regard to starting out in a new role. Our 5 key tips for success in a new position are outlined below.

Build respect

During your first few weeks in a new role, take advantage of all those well-wishers making an effort to welcome you to the fold – this won’t last! Break the ice by asking people about their role & then inquire about their personal interests. Take care to exercise tact – your intention is not to pry into their private lives, but rather just to show them them that you’re interested in their personality as well as their function in the corporate machine.

It can prove difficult to remember all your new colleagues’ names so use mnemonics to help you. Don’t rely on others to make introductions for you – take the initiative yourself. You’ll probably find your new team welcoming & supportive, however if you’re replacing a beloved coworker, you may find yourself entering a somewhat hostile environment, so tread carefully.

The onus is on you to assess the situation & gauge how to proceed. Likewise if your role is completely new, coworkers may initially be suspicious & unforthcoming. In such instances, it’s vital to stay positive, remain professional & pay attention to the dynamics between people & teams & office culture in general. This is the best way to demonstrate to your new workmates that you are to be trusted.

Similarly, you can demonstrate that you’re a team player by displaying a strong work ethic. Build respect & trust by looking for ways to help out & by taking an interest in what other people are doing. However, resist the temptation to misrepresent your interests or abilities as such behaviour is bound to backfire & create the impression that you’re disingenuous.

Try to pick up on your new colleague’s working styles & adapt your approach to meet their needs. You may be used to doing things a certain way but it’s necessary to adapt in order to succeed in your new role. If you are a manager, take time to get to know your team as well as other senior colleagues. This is especially important nowadays where open plan offices & hot-desking are ubiquitous. Building relationships will enable you to nurture a strong team spirit & establish yourself as a supportive leader from the outset.

Understand the new culture

Getting to grips with your new company’s culture will help you to adapt to your new working environment more quickly. Use your first few weeks to absorb what goes on around you in order to understand the organisation’s values & how it engages with its customers, employees & the local community.

In many instances organisational culture stems from a company’s origins. Inform yourself by researching the firm’s history as well as any current mission statements & business plans. Also, look at how new ideas are developed & implemented & understand who the key decision makers are.

As someone with a fresh perspective you may also be encouraged to develop your own ideas on how to improve the company’s established culture & processes. Tread carefully though, it  would serve you better to make sure you’ve taken the time to fully absorb everything about the working environment before you put forward any recommendations. Moreover, avoid being too critical right off the bat, focusing instead on the positives if asked.

Get to grips with your job description

A written job description does not encapsulate all the responsibilities which come along with a new role. Knowing the limitations of your role so you can perform well & not waste time on tasks which don’t fall under your remit or which you can delegate, is essential to meeting deadlines. Be aware of people’s expectations of you from the start.

Understand the structure generally & within your department, so you’re aware of the skills within your team & can identify who you need to establish relationships with, both internally & externally, in order to succeed.

Although you will be expected to deliver results eventually, be patient & don’t rush with ambitious goals upon which you can’t deliver in an attempt to impress. Instead, spend time developing your knowledge of the organisation’s industry, its customers, competitors, products, services & people.

Don’t rely on the research you conducted ahead of your interview – be attentive & ask questions from the outset. Being more knowledgeable about the company will place you in a stronger position for optimum performance.

Build rapport with your boss

This does not equate to what is colloquially referred to as brown-nosing – which will engender ill will with your new colleagues. You’re not trying to curry favour but rather getting to know someone with whom you hope to establish a long working relationship.

Request meetings with your boss on a consistent basis to review your performance & also to build rapport.

If your superiors haven’t provided you with a list of expectations for your probationary period, be proactive & find out what objectives they’re expecting you to meet. Either ask your manager to write some goals & objectives for you, or list them yourself & seek clarification so you know you’re on the right track.

Make sure you schedule an informal performance review halfway through your probationary period, so you can put yourself back on course if things have gone awry.

Bear in mind that your supervisor has their own deadlines to meet, so keep them informed of how you are feeling & voice any questions you may have. They are not psychic & cannot provide you with the support you require if you don’t make them aware that you need assistance.

Seek their feedback & establish if there are any additional tasks you are required to complete or areas which you are expected to be working on. Obviously, use your discretion & don’t bother your boss with minor problems which a co-worker could advise you on.

Find a mentor

As you get introduced to senior staff, start to look for those who could act as a mentor for you. Look for the stars of the organisation & those who convey reliability, confidence and initiative.

It never hurts to have an experienced, knowledgeable, successful professional to bounce ideas off. Mentoring has numerous benefits, from a simple sounding board to someone who helps direct & advance your career within the organisation.

Other new hires within the organisation may also be able to provide you with useful insights & tips which helped them to navigate their first few weeks with the firm.

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