Anyone starting a new job will experience a range of emotions, including joy; panic; fear; elation; contentment and satisfaction. The first three of those are likely to occur during the part of the induction known as the so-called ‘Honeymoon period’, as they tentatively feel their way as they benefit from the goodwill of colleagues and bosses alike. After that, getting through the next few weeks will be a time when the learning curve flattens out from its initial, and maniacal, vertical axis and a feeling of elation can arise from the gradual understanding of the role and its importance in the scheme of things. However, shallower now, the learning curve still rises and, through time, should lead inevitably to satisfaction and contentment. For the whole team.
Starting a new job can be a daunting prospect for anyone. Your new employer may have in place a well-tried Induction Plan that will cover everything from “Your Health & Safety in the Workplace”, through computer systems and software processes to where the loos are, but this is not always the case. However, there’s usually only one person who’s really interested in how you progress: You. So, you must be able to control your own induction.
You have the job description and employment contract, so you’ll be aware of the basics of what your new job requires of you. But there is so much more to learn about how to become a “valued member of the team”, or possibly a manager. You should ask as many questions as you can – without being a nuisance – and start to establish what the key aspects of the role are, and what might be expected of you. Who are the important people in the organisation (and why)? What are the key functions of the team, and how is success measured, achieved – and rewarded? Who are the key external stakeholders (or clients) and how do we ensure that their needs are met?
Who’s the office joker and where do we (or do we?) socialise after work?
It’s a good idea to set benchmarks as you settle into this new role, e.g. one week; one month; three months, and have personal goals attached to each. You may want, after one week, to have introduced yourself to everyone in your team and be totally familiar with the office layout, for example. A three-month goal may be a mix of your own personal ambitions with those agreed with your manager. Many employers will have a 90-day review anyway and you’ll want to be able to monitor closely your own performance and how it appears to them. So initiate a dialogue between you both as soon as possible and establish what, precisely, is expected of you, and how – possibly through a training regime - they can help you to achieve it. Starting with a good mutual understanding and performing as required – or even exceeding expectations – should lead to a positive relationship between you. (Without that dialogue, initiated by you, you’re more likely to become simply another ‘cog’ in the wheel.)
There are phases attached to a new job experience. After one week, when asked by friends, people will probably say something like “Yeah great! Lovely people, fun job..”. After three months: “Yup, OK. People are great; I could be busier..” – or perhaps not even as positive... ! The honeymoon is over and you’re now simply another member of the team. You can guard against this ‘middling’ outcome by continually setting goals for yourself, both personal and job-related. Achieving them will not only bring satisfaction but will set you up for the months that follow. After all, your job should be enjoyed, not endured.
We’ve established that starting a new job can be exhilarating, but daunting. So the best plan of action is: to take stock, establish exactly what your new role means and what is expected of it, get to know as much as possible in as short a time, and always seek the advice of colleagues and your boss.
Through familiarity, and possibly training, you will grow into the role, but it’s up to you to make the most of your surroundings, fellow team members, and any opportunities that present themselves. Don’t expect them to come to you – you must go to them.
- Don’t panic!
- Introduce yourself to all team members and stakeholders
- Ask as many questions as you can, and take on advice
- Set personal and job-related goals
- Initiate a good relationship with your boss by communicating with them
- Establish an understanding of your mutual goals and targets
- Review these regularly