The first few weeks at a new job are the most important. You need to learn not only what to do, but how to do it well. You want to make a good first impression on both your manager and you coworkers. Get yourself started off on the right foot by doing these five things.
Building relationships with your coworkers will help you feel comfortable faster, as you’ll start to have a sense of community. Having a solid relationship with your coworkers helps you feel like a part of the team, rather than the new outsider. It can be tempting to just keep your head down until you feel comfortable and not go out of your way to engage with a lot of people in the first few weeks, but that only slows down your integration into the team.
For the people you work closely with every day, get to know them on a more personal level. Ask them questions and share details about yourself when you’re both on a break. Make a point to have lunch with someone each day. When building a relationship with your manager, show them respect by completing your work on time and showing commitment to the job. This builds trust, the foundation of all solid relationships.
The point of the first few weeks of a new job is for you to learn and understand the way things work. The best way to do that is to ask questions. Find someone who can be your go-to answer person. Ideally this is someone who’s in the same role as you, but it can be anyone you feel comfortable with. The first few weeks of a new job are mostly made up of training and practice, so this is the time to ask as many questions as possible.
Don’t feel like your questions are too simple or too obvious to ask. It’s better to ask and get a definite answer than to guess and be wrong about something. Write things down so that you don’t forget, especially in the first couple of weeks when you’re being bombarded with information. Remember that the more questions you ask, the more you’ll learn, and that’s exactly the point of your training.
Get to know your manager.
You know the job requirements and the basics that you’re expected to do, and you know that your manager is the one who’s responsible for your work, but you need to know a lot more that than. Every manager has a different style, so it’s important that you learn and understand their way of doing things. You’ll want to get to know them on a professional level, so start building that relationship from day one. Don’t be afraid to make small talk with them, but also don’t expect them to become your best friend. The manager-employee relationship will be dictated by the company culture.
Never be afraid to ask your manager a question. In the beginning you might feel like you’re being a nuisance coming to them with too many questions, but they will be appreciative of the fact that you’re putting in the effort to learn. If you find yourself coming up with a lot of questions, write them down and ask for ten minutes of your manager’s time. That way they can answer all of your the questions at once.
Learn the company culture.
Read the employee handbook so you know the basic rules such as dress code and time policies, then put it away. The way to learn the true company culture is not in a book or training videos – it’s by seeing it in action and learning the ins and outs from your coworkers. Your coworkers will teach you the way things really work in the company. They can teach you tricks to save time, tell you about the policies no one ever enforces, and let you know the quirks of your boss. They’re basically your life line in the beginning of a job.
Identify key players in the company.
You know that you need to impress your manager, but it’s also important to identify the other key players in the company who have power and influence. When you know who the decision makers are, you can start to get a sense for how they’ll influence your job. These are the people who will also be influential in your career – they could make or break your chances of getting a promotion or a raise, or they could even become mentors or sponsors to you. By getting to know when from the very beginning of your job, you can make sure you’re on their radar and make a lasting impression.
Once you have a feel for all of these things, you’ll be well on your way to becoming a true part of the team and fully integrated into your company.
Ashira Prossack is a Millennial & Gen Z engagement expert and speaker working to bridge the gap between generations and prepare businesses for the future of work..