Starting a new job can be both exciting and intimidating. You want to make a good impression, learn as much as possible, and hit the ground running. However, relying solely on your company's onboarding process may not be enough to ensure your success. To truly excel in your new role, it's important to take control of your integration and proactively cultivate connections, ask the right questions, and build trust.
Today we will explore how to take control of our onboarding process and provide detailed examples to help you get off to a strong start.
One of the most important things you can do when starting a new job is to cultivate connections up, down, and across. This means building relationships with your supervisor, colleagues, and other stakeholders who can help you succeed in your role. To do this, start by identifying the influencers in your department and organization. These are the people who have a significant impact on the work that you do and can provide valuable insight and guidance.
For example, if you're starting a new job as a marketing manager, you might identify the head of sales, the product development team, and the customer service department as key influencers. Spend time getting to know them face-to-face, ask questions about their goals and challenges, and look for ways to collaborate and support each other. By building these relationships early on, you'll be better positioned to navigate the organization and get the support you need to succeed.
Another important aspect of taking control of your onboarding is asking the right questions. Your boss can be a valuable resource in helping you understand how you'll be evaluated and identifying early wins. Don't be afraid to ask questions like:
What are the key performance indicators (KPIs) for my role?
What are the biggest challenges facing the team right now?
What are some early wins that I can achieve to demonstrate my value to the organization?
By asking these questions, you'll have a better understanding of what's expected of you and how you can make a positive impact. Additionally, your boss will appreciate your proactive approach and willingness to learn.
Looking for Projects
In addition to building relationships and asking questions, look for projects that will motivate the team, can be achieved quickly, and deliver operational or financial results. These projects can help you build credibility and demonstrate your value to the organization.
For example, if you're starting a new job as a project manager, you might look for projects that can be completed within the first 90 days. These projects could include streamlining a process, implementing a new tool, or completing a small-scale pilot project. By focusing on these types of projects, you'll be able to achieve quick wins and build momentum for larger initiatives down the line.
Finally, it's important to build trust with your colleagues and supervisor. This can be done by being honest about the challenges you see and being transparent in your communication. Don't try to sugarcoat issues or pretend like everything is fine when it's not. Instead, address challenges head-on and work collaboratively with your team to find solutions.
For example, if you notice that there's a lack of clear communication between departments, bring it up in a respectful and constructive way. Propose solutions like regular meetings or a shared project management tool to help improve communication and collaboration. By building trust and demonstrating your commitment to the team's success, you'll be able to work more effectively and achieve better results.
Starting a new job can be a daunting experience, but by taking control of your onboarding, you can set yourself up for success. By cultivating connections up, down, and across, asking the right questions, looking for projects that deliver results, and building trust, you'll be able to hit the ground running and make a positive impact on your organization. Remember, it's up to you to take control of your integration and proactively drive your success.
Jonathan H. Westover, PhD is Chief Academic & Learning Officer (HCI Academy); Chair/Professor, Organizational Leadership (UVU); OD Consultant (Human Capital Innovations). Read Jonathan Westover's executive profile here.