Congratulations! You’ve signed your new contract and you can finally stop refreshing your emails for job interviews. Landing a new job is an exciting chapter but can also be daunting and overwhelming. It can even be likened to the awkward first day of school. But, before you completely stress yourself out about it, allow us to calm your thoughts. We’ve compiled some points that will help you adjust to your new job in no time.
Familiarise yourself with the company culture
Company culture is the personality of the company and includes various elements such as ethics, values, work environment and the goals of the company. The best way to familiarise yourself with the company culture is to be observant. Pay attention to the different tools/communication channels that are used to complete various tasks, because using an inappropriate channel for a task or interaction can lead to negative consequences such as messages being misinterpreted. Complex messages require richer channels of communication such as face-to-face communication instead of electronic communication like emails or text messages.
Do your research on whether the company culture is formal or informal. A formal company culture is hierarchical and traditional, employees have to report through a formal chain of communication and likely enforces a dress code. An informal company culture fosters informal communication channels and independent thinking. Employees don’t have to pass along messages to specific superiors via email or setting a formal meeting but can do it through a group of friends or associates they feel comfortable with. It could be through talking about it over lunch and a game of ping pong or stopping by someone’s desk.
Always take note of your surroundings such as the workplace etiquette. Do people have pictures and other personal effects on their desks or are people eating at their desks or leaving the office for lunch?
Familiarising yourself with the company culture helps you understand the company better and to transition smoothly.
Establish your routine
Routines are important as they increase your efficiency and effectiveness, as well as giving you that ‘I’ve got this feeling’. For complete balance and true control, It’s important to find a routine that works best for both your personal and work life.
To manage your workload, perhaps you could more efficiently tackle your emails by setting aside time to read and respond to them twice a day, organise your inbox with folders, labels and categories. Your routine should definitely factor in your lunch hour! Develop healthy eating habits that become routine such as avoiding greasy foods during lunch and opting for lighter healthier meals to avoid that post-meal slump. Establishing a routine means, breaking and remaking a variety of existing habits – The secret to success is hidden in your daily routine!
Network and building relationships
In-house networking with your colleagues can help you transition smoothly, is a way to get to know your more people in the office and can easily make or break your experience. It can also be beneficial to your professional life beyond the office and can even enrich your social life. Step out of your comfort zone and attempt to interact with everyone you work with. Do this by actively listening (listening to understand not respond) AND asking questions.
Set aside time in your calendar to meet colleagues over lunch or for a morning/evening coffee. These are the individuals that you’ll be spending most of your time with and collaborating closely with, so gain a deeper understanding of their roles and responsibilities to find where you fit into that. Building a relationship with your colleagues can even result in having a naturally deeper connection with some and who knows, you may even gain a work wife. Oh and don’t forget to always accept that happy hour invitation.
Do your research on how to add value
Adding value to your organisation will be achieved by doing your research on how you can best contribute to the success of the organisation. Practically, you can do this by setting goals for yourself, investigating the company’s weaknesses/problems and identifying how you can apply your unique experiences and expertise to these areas. By doing this you will create results that far exceed your targets. Take things a step further and increase your participation by volunteering to help colleagues with their projects, this will show your willingness and ability to support the wider team. Always remember to be proactive and produce high-quality work!
Accept constructive criticism
Constructive criticism is a valuable process in the workplace that, when given and received, stimulates growth. Accept that your manager or colleagues are not attacking you but instead are helping you improve through a valid and well-reasoned opinion. When receiving constructive criticism, remember that its benefit is to improve your skills and help you meet the expectations your manager and colleagues have of you. Acknowledge the feedback and ask questions to deconstruct it. Always remember that constructive criticism is often the only way you learn about your weaknesses.
Seek a mentor
Before you can establish a relationship with a mentor, you need to know what you want to get out of it. Identify one or two people at your company who could be your potential mentor and establish a connection. Send them an email or invite them out for coffee or lunch. If your company has a mentorship program, approach the mentors in the program. Seeking a mentor is one of the best ways to familiarise yourself with your new position and a great way to advance your career while learning new skills. A mentor adds value by providing guidance on areas you are unfamiliar with and helps you recognise your abilities and limitations. Remember one thing: Don’t let your self-doubt prevent you from succeeding.
TOP TIP: Check out our article on seeking a mentor with tips approved by Sheryl Sandberg.
Be positive, form true connections and enjoy your new chapter. You’ve got this!
Words by Wandi Jama