Guest Blog: Dennis Casey, VP of Operations
People start new jobs every day. In fact, having more than one first day of work has become the norm thanks to our millennial generation who continues to challenge old-world work culture. And while first impressions aren’t always accurate predictors of who you are, the tale is as old as time – first impressions really do matter. Earning the trust and respect of your peers and superiors is a surefire way to increase successful performance and safeguard future opportunities with your new company. Now, making a good impression is easier said than done. From completing administrative paperwork to learning the nuances of your company’s business model, it can get overwhelming and challenging to make a conscious effort to put your best foot forward with every new colleague encounter. Here’s some advice on how to overcome that challenge and make a great first impression.
Here are the nine tips all new hires should know before their first day of work:
Your days of worrying whether or not you got the job are over. You’ve aced the interviews and were hired for two intentional reasons: 1) you are you, and 2) your professional experience and skill-set pair well with your new organization’s needs. The sooner your coworkers know who you are and how you operate the more successful your assimilation and transition will be to becoming an effective, contributing member of your new workforce. If in your previous life, you might have taken a Myers-Briggs test – share the results. Every bit of professional workstyle information counts when it comes to getting to know the people you spend 40+ hours a week with. Don’t be afraid to disclose how you operate and what allows you to operate best.
A smile can go a long way. Alleviate the odds of new hire introduction nightmare by remaining cognizant of your demeanor and body language. Be proactive in the way you present yourself to people and be mindful of their social cues. If you’re meeting fellow team members for the first time without embodying the “Hey, I’m excited to be here, and I’d love to introduce myself to you!” vibe, you’ll more than likely be avoided, and no new hire wants that.
Introverts and shy extroverts, it can be difficult to get out of your comfort zone when you’re in the spotlight and are asked to make acquaintance with a lot of people in a short amount of time. Yes, these scenarios can feel forced at times, but it’s important to stray away from falling into the safe, stay-in-my-shell behavior, and instead to take a leap of faith by frequently getting out of your seat, and leaving your desk (while also being sensitive to your neighbors’ work time of course 😎) in order to push yourself to strike up a conversation with your new work mates. Repeat after me, small talk leads to relationship building. You can never create too many friendly faces and friends at work. Know who you are and let others know too.
Navigating new hire paperwork while learning the lay of the land at your new work home can propel you into sensory overload. With new information being thrown at you a mile a minute and from all angles, it’s important to debrief and record all that you absorb within your first week or two at the gig. Whether that be details around knowing who your department heads are, memorizing business process workflows, etc., taking notes is a great way to ensure that follow-up items don’t fall to the wayside or action items aren’t left incomplete. Demonstrating high levels of engagement and participation from the get-go is a great way to showcase your professionalism right off the bat.
There’s no doubt that learning the ropes to a new position often times involves uncovering a deeper understanding of how to be skillful in your day-to-day performance, but being able to identify the moments in your new career that matter most as part of your professional journey is critical to driving long-term passion in any role you choose to pursue. By electing to infuse amusement into interactions with your coworkers, you strengthen the chances of tight-knit collaboration and teamwork. Focus your energies on finding the perfect blend of your unabashed self and your professional identity, and you’re golden.
The best employees have an innate curiosity to learn and curiosity means asking questions about everything almost all of the time. This directive goes handinhand with doing your due diligence in taking the right kind of notes. Especially within the first couple of weeks of beginning a new position, if something isn’t clear, seek clarification until it is. Whether the question is directed at your clients or your boss, asking for answers to be repeated or explained in a different way is always the right approach. Similar to this, make sure you treat silence as a professional communicative style with caution. Silence can often be misconstrued for mutual understanding or agreement, so if you haven’t arrived at common ground with your collaborating party, speak up.
Who said you need to take a staycation at your desk during the workday? Do yourself a favor and explore your new work digs. Opt in to making a voyage around your new building in a way where you can casually bump into new faces and start to take mental note on where office supplies, most-consumed snacks or most-used conference rooms are. You more than likely won’t have a personal tour guide for the entirety of month numero uno, so take the liberty of showing yourself around and remain open to making new experiences along the way.
Don’t be afraid to show your new team mates how well you can manage a deadline. Avoid waiting for others to follow up with you, and take ownership (and pride) in following up with them yourself. Odds are that your plate isn’t as full of to-dos as your coworkers’ are, so reminding them that an open action item warrants their attention will never be viewed as a negative move. If anything, they’ll be grateful for your professionalism and ability to keep a project on track, which will elevate your first impression score as a result. That’s two points for Gryffindor!
Asking new hires to provide critical feedback on their onboarding experience is key to your organization’s growth. It’s crucial for recruiting teams to take full advantage of the raw, unbiased evaluation of their new candidate’s experience so that they can establish the proper avenues for actionable, scalable improvement measures. Even if it’s the case that you haven’t been asked to provide feedback, don’t hesitate to shed light on your experience with your honest opinion. Your company will thank you later for your transparency.
Are you in the market for a new first day of work with a digital transformation organization or simply want to pick a work culture guru’s brain on how to sustain an effective new employee onboarding experience? Connect with our talent team experts at firstname.lastname@example.org today.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Dennis is an experienced business and consulting executive having spent the last 20+ years in the technology sector, most of which was with emerging companies. Utilizing his diverse experience Dennis is often the “go to” guy when it comes to navigating change, establishing operational imperatives, or just plain getting something done. He gets no greater satisfaction than helping staff progress in their careers and mentoring new managers as they emerge as leaders.
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