July 11, 2017

Starting a New Job on the Right Foot

By Shayne Merrick, Manager, Sales

Making a good impression is key to starting a new job on the right foot — but succeeding in your role is about so much more than that.

More important than impressing your new colleagues is developing habits that will make your job a good long-term fit for you. As you begin this new position, sticking to these strategies early and returning to them constantly will go a long way toward building lasting, positive relationships with your new co-workers, superiors, and clients, as well as creating an environment where you can continue to grow and thrive.

Your first three months should be all about establishing good habits. This means being punctual and courteous, of course, but it also means creating systems of organization and communication that are practical and built to last. This way, you’ll not only stay on top of your workload — you’ll also manage to weather periods of deluge and drought in your workflow.

Dive in immediately, and don’t be shy. Outwork everyone else, but don’t showboat.Demonstrate your efficiency and productivity, but don’t burn yourself out by starting off at a pace that you won’t be able to keep up. Create a structure for yourself that allows you to remain consistent and reliable — two of the most valuable traits of any good employee. Remember, your new job is a marathon, not a sprint.

In those crucial first few weeks, concentrate on activity rather than results. Establish best practices and cultivate a system that works for you and will allow you to perform to your highest standard. The more you can do to bring your schedule under your self-command, the better.

Results will come if you focus on the things you can control. Set goals on a weekly, daily, and even hourly basis — whatever helps you achieve more.

Focus on listening more and talking less; in other words, don’t try to impress people by going out of your way to demonstrate how smart you are. At the heart of any hire is the implicit understanding that you’re going to do what you can to make people’s lives easier. So ask questions and listen attentively to your new colleagues’ concerns, advice, and observations; this includes asking for feedback at appropriate intervals. Think critically about where there’s room for improvement, both for you and for your team. Figure out the area where you can best apply yourself in order to enhance the workplace and succeed in making yourself indispensable.

You should only begin making recommendations about how best to change things after you’ve had time to prove your worth and had a chance to study the way things work on your new team. Make suggestions gradually and carefully, so as not to step on anyone’s toes. You want to be considerate and not threatening, and you should always frame your ideas as coming from a desire to do what’s best for the company — not what’s best for you.

Of course, being a good listener is not the same thing as being passive. The best employees are active, attentive learners. This means asking the right questions and remembering what your coworkers have said. Be curious, flexible, and open to new ideas; allow yourself to be coached, challenged, and persuaded. Learn from your own mistakes and the mistakes of others, and inquire strategically and humbly about the ways you can improve.

Above all, it’s important to never forget why your company hired you — and to never let them forget it, either.

The first few weeks of a new job provide you with a small opportunity to back up what you said in your interview and prove your worth to the business. Put aside any setbacks or disappointments from your past; focus on accomplishing the most you can in the present, with an eye toward achieving your goals in the future. Remain positive and never count yourself as having “made it through” or “resting easy.” Stay hungry, and learn to love the grind.