Whether you're a recent graduate entering the workforce or a veteran making a career move, joining a new company can be stressful. Onboarding — a process to acclimate new hires with the business — can help ensure they get up to speed so they can start adding value to the business right away.
Try these eight tips to get the most out of your first few days – and weeks – on the job:
1. Do as much research as possible before your first day. If you haven't already done so as part of your interview prep, be sure to research the company (management, values, culture, etc.) so you'll know what to expect and won't feel lost or out of place when you join.
2. Complete the necessary paperwork before you start. From direct deposit information to benefits-related paperwork, attempt to wrap up as much paperwork as you can prior to or on your first day. You'll earn a reputation for being on top of things. Once that's out of the way, you can focus on more important matters.
3. Make sure you have the right technology. While most companies will provide the technology you'll need to use on the job, don't be afraid to ask if you can bring any device from home so can hit the ground running on the first day. Don't forget to set up your voicemail so you don't miss any important messages. Also, feel free to inquire about your email account and ask for any login information you may need to access various tools or software.
4. Set up regular one-on-ones with your manager. It's imperative to frequently touch base with your manager to make sure you're moving in the right direction and showcase the progress you're making. It's perfectly acceptable to ask your new manager for a written set of objectives and responsibilities for you to reference as needed; this will also provide more clarity into what's expected of you and mitigates confusion. Ask intelligent questions to understand how your team fits into the big picture and furthers corporate goals and objectives.
5. Make the most of your new-hire orientation. Whether you're joining a large corporation with a longer and more formal orientation or a small business that offers a more informal new hire training, lean into the process and extract important pieces of information about the company you may not hear anywhere else. Most likely you'll get to meet members of the senior leadership team during orientation, so prepare questions to ask them. Additionally, take the opportunity to meet new people and keep in touch — you'll be able to bounce ideas off them or navigate similar issues as new hires.
6. Learn about the industry. Do a deeper dive into the industry you'll be working in and familiarize yourself with the resources that can help get you up to speed. Set up news alerts and subscribe to industry newsletters — make it part of your daily routine to absorb as much information as you can to challenge yourself to do your job better.
7. Be cognizant of the unspoken rules of the workplace. What time do people arrive or leave? Do your co-workers take lunch breaks or typically eat at their desks? Does informal chatter take place around the water cooler? What do people wear — and is there a different dress code for different teams? Seemingly minor details like these can be stressful if you don't know what to expect, so be mindful of these unspoken rules of the workplace during your first few weeks.
8. Schedule meetings with representatives from different teams. Don't get stuck in corporate siloes — get to know people from different teams. The more you sit at your desk with blinders on, the less "big picture" thinking and contributing you can do. Ask how you can add value to the work they're doing and to the broader company goals. Inquire what cross-departmental partnership opportunities exist so you can start contributing and gain visibility from the get go. Set up meetings, attend lunch-and-learns, join in on coffee runs…let people start to see you as a go-to person who can contribute value to whatever they're working on.Check out these 9 gifs that capture the struggle of being new at work — and see if you can relate.