Landing a new job is a great accomplishment. With it comes a sense of pride that your skills and abilities along with your educational background were sought after by your new employer. Once the initial excitement wears off though, you need to quickly figure out how to be successful as the new employee in your department. It is a daunting task and you have to walk a fine line between wanting to be seen as a person who can contribute and one who may not fit after-all.
There are specific things that you should and shouldn’t do during your critical first few months at your new company that will determine which side of that line you fall on. We’ll look at each and also let you know why each is so important.
The Keys to New Employee Success
- Ask questions – Contrary to popular belief, asking questions is not a sign of weakness. In fact it’s just the opposite. A new employee who asks questions when they don’t know how to do something demonstrates that they are self-aware and willing to admit their need to continue learning. It may be the clearest sign that your company hired the right person.
- Learn the system – This goes hand in hand with asking questions. If you worked in another company previously and had a certain way of doing things. Try as hard as you can to put that way in the past. Your new employer’s way of doing expense reports may be different from your past employer’s. Even if the previous way was more efficient, now is not the time to point that out to your new manager. There will come a time when your suggestions for improvement will be welcomed, but early on, it may damage your credibility.
- Meet people – Not just any people, but the right people. Ask your manager to help you identify the 5 or 6 people she feels are the most important for you to build relationships with as your are getting started. Once you have your list, start scheduling brief visits with each of those people. Sit down with them for a short meeting or phone call and ask questions about what they do and how you might be able to help them. They in turn will introduce you to others and soon your internal network will start to grow.
- Welcome supervision – Your manager will be one of the biggest factors in your early success. When he/she gives you an assignment listen carefully for what is expected of you. If it is unclear, ask for clarification. Once your start the task, check in and ask for feedback. If you do this early and often you will build the credibility you need to stop checking in and also the freedom to do work the way you best see fit.
- Deliver – Regardless of the size of tasks and assignments your receive when you are new, the only thing that matters is that you deliver on your promises and meet or exceed expectations. Don’t overcommit. Say what you can do and admit when you need help.
These five points are the roadmap to a jumpstart on being a successful new employee. I can’t tell you how long it will take for you to learn the ropes and be ready to fly on your own. You, along with your manager and co-workers will know when the time is right to ask less questions and be more independent. Until then, start impressing some people and enjoy your new job.