Stepping into a new role, in a new environment, can be both exciting and nerve- racking. How do you approach your first few weeks at work? How do you handle the transition? What can you do to ramp up faster? Here's a simple 30 day checklist to help you transition into your new job smoothly!
Keep an open mind and maintain an open attitude. You’re entering a fresh environment so be prepared to take in new ideas, new customs, and new challenges. Observe, listen, and learn. Even an experienced hire will discover that every company beats to a different rhythm.
Memorize the names of all your colleagues. You’re not officially done easing into your new job until you know the names of those you will be spending 9 hours a day, 5 days per week working alongside.
Familiarize yourself with everything that your company does, from top to bottom. This will help you understand how your work contributes to the functionality, development, and growth of the company, allowing you to make better judgements and decisions.
Ask questions, ask for help. Everyone knows you are new on the job. It won't come as a surprise to anyone that you have questions. Use this small window of opportunity to ask as many questions as possible! Your colleagues and managers won't be as obliging several months in when their expectations will be that you're all ramped up.
Establish your reputation. First impressions matter and studies show they are difficult to change once established. Establishing your reputation early as someone who is driven, hardworking, prompt, reliable, and respectful will set you up for an easier transition and more upward momentum for growth in the company.
Take some time to learn the communication habits and structure people are using. Communication plays a big part in ensuring smooth operations in a workplace. Naturally, one of the first steps to easing into your new role is to adopt the communication code used by your colleagues. How do you report to your manager? Do you communicate with your colleagues through email or do you sidle up to their desk ad-hoc? Do you need to check in after the completion of each task or update the team during regularly scheduled meetings?
Keep track of your daily work log. Make notes on what you’ve been working on. Even when and how much time you’ve spent working on them. This log will come in handy when you want to review your progress with your manager, and when you want to update your résumé and LinkedIn profile in the future.
Find a mentor if possible. Some companies offer internal mentorship programs in which you are paired up with a mentor. Again, a great strategy to help accelerate your transition process. If your company doesn't offer a mentorship program, a good alternative is to consult or even shadow a colleague that has been working in your role in the company for a longer period of time. While this person may not be able to provide as much support as an actual mentor, they should be able to share with you their experience working in the company and offer insights on how to achieve success in the role.
Start building relationships with your manager and your colleagues. Since you’ll be spending a huge chunk of your daily life working in the company, relationship management is extremely very important. Empathy. Empathy. Empathy. Get to know your colleagues, understand who they are, what they are passionate about, and what takes priority in their work.
Set up meetings with your team members to get a better understanding of the work environment. What’s the atmosphere like? What’s the company culture like? What are some of the unwritten rules or code of conduct that you should know about? Who are some people in the company that you should connect with for advice or mentorship? Inviting peers out for coffee or lunch helps you acquire the practical knowledge of your new workplace and it helps you start building rapport as mentioned in the previous point.
Talk to your managers and establish expectations. Understand how your performance will be evaluated and what your managers like/dislike. You want to be sure that your expectations are aligned with your manager's expectations. The clearer these expectations are, the clearer your plan on what to focus your efforts on and how you can achieve those expectations will be.
Last but not least:
Know your capacity. While you will want to showcase your ability and prove yourself to your colleagues and managers, you should also be mindful of how much you can realistically deliver. You should absolutely be in turbo learning mode and volunteering for additional tasks is the best way to learn, ramp-up, and get recognition fast. But make sure you can deliver. Focus first on accomplishing your main tasks then take on more responsibilities with confidence.