We are back to share with you our very best onboarding tips as a new hire. Let’s begin by discussing how to approach that first week on a new job. If you missed part 1, you can find it here.
The first week is about observing and learning. It’s about meeting people, making real and authentic connections, and gathering information. One of the goals is understanding the culture, including lingo and the way things are done in that company. An important onboarding tip is to take notes. Also, make sure to join activities.
You want to observe and map out the org structure while also taking in the social structure. By this onboarding tip we mean, you should be learning the actual chain of command while also soaking in what you can about the individuals around you. Who contributes? Who is quiet? Which person moves quickly? Who comes up with ideas? And so on. Take notes.
This is the time to begin to understand your full job responsibilities. What are the expectations? Are there ongoing weekly, monthly, and quarterly tasks? Does your company use OKR’s and, if yes, what have they been for your team? (OKR’s stands for “Objectives and Key Results.” It’s a collaborative goal-setting method used by teams and individuals to set challenging, ambitious goals with measurable results. OKR’s are how you track progress, create alignment, and encourage engagement around measurable goals.)
Onboarding Tip as a New Hire: Engage and Listen
We’ve already begun to touch on this but worth repeating, set goals for yourself connected to having 1:1s with people in the new company. How many will you have each week? This is important to do when you get started, as it’s the best time to learn all you can from others in the org. It gives you a chance to discover who’s who and to begin to build the relationships that will support your success. These new people are soon to become part of your greater professional network. It’s very likely that you are about to meet people that will help you with your career (and you help them with their career) for years to come. What an exciting opportunity! Make the most of it.
Another onboarding tip as a new hire is to consider the impression you’re making. Be an observer asking questions and use active listening as a way to show respect for your coworkers and the organization they’ve been building. The time to make an impact will come but in most new jobs the first couple of weeks is about observing and learning.
Next, let’s figure out how you can:
Tailor Your Strategies With Your Company’s Stage of Development
This point is especially true if you’re in a leadership role, but this onboarding tip is worth reflecting on whatever your role.
First to consider: What is this company’s stage of development? There are five:
- Accelerated Growth
- Sustaining Success
Let’s note that at this point hopefully, you’ve considered which one of these, or which several, are really the best fit for you. Different personalities and strengths will tend to thrive in different environments and challenges. But if you’re reading this, there’s a chance you’re in the process of onboarding, so which stage is the company you’ve joined in?
In all five, the principal goal or north star of the company is to turn the business into, or continue to maintain, a successful and thriving business. However, each scenario comes with different challenges or a different north star. (We are using the term “north star” to denote the highest goal the company is working toward.)
In a start-up, this goal is to assemble the capacities to launch a new product or project. With turnarounds, the goal is to get teams and companies that are not functioning well back on track. In accelerated growth, the company will be experiencing rapid expansion. The goal is often putting the systems and processes in place to accommodate that growth. For realignment, the goal is to re-energize a once-successful business or project that is now in a precarious situation. And when you find yourself in a sustaining success situation, you’re in a company that is already performing well, so your goal is to maintain a high standard while working on ways to take the company to the next level.
“To take an organization forward, you have to know its origin, where it currently is, and where it’s going.” -Michael D. Watkins
You can’t figure out how to make an impact in your role if you don’t know what phase the company is in. Different situations require you to make necessary adjustments in the planning and executing of your transition. By having a clear understanding of the situation at hand, you will be able to create the right action plan to help you get the results you need.
Join us next in part three of the onboarding series where we will share our best tips on how to approach the first 90 days in your new role.