If you enjoyed parts 1 and 2 of the very best onboarding tips, we have more to share! Let’s begin by discussing how to consider, strategize, and plan through part 3: Onboarding tips for the first 90 days.
Onboarding Tips for the First 90 Days
Securing Early, Meaningful Wins
Your goal, in the beginning, should be about observing and learning. And while you don’t want to rush to make changes that can seem disrespectful or that disregard the current structure in place, we all want to be showing impact as soon as possible. The right early wins can give you credibility and momentum. People will know that you are indeed putting in the work. There are lots of good things to show for it.
To kick things off effectively, an important onboarding tip for the first 90 days is to try to start simple. Look for the problems for which you have the right set of skills to solve quickly and take them on. Simultaneously, make sure these potential wins are meaningful and contribute to your long-term goals. This way you avoid what Michael Watkins calls the “low hanging fruit trap” which occurs when you expend energy on securing early wins that have very little to do with your ultimate goal at the organization.
Never lose sight of the milestones and goals you, your boss, and your company agreed to when they first brought you on. The wins you achieve during your transition should be meaningful to contribute to your long-term goals. They should also be simple enough to help you build momentum in the short term. Pinpoint the most promising opportunities and put all your efforts into translating them into wins, one at a time.
Onboarding Tip for the First 90 Days: Be On the Lookout
Another thing that can help you achieve short-term impact if you are in a management position is to look at problematic behavioral patterns the people working with you may exhibit. First, identify the behaviors… These might include a lack of: focus, innovation, discipline, use of proper processes, sense of urgency, and teamwork. Once you’ve discovered any pattern within the group that can hold the team back, you can then create a vision for how you would like the team members to conduct themselves by the end of your tenure.
Another onboarding tip for the first 90 days is to work out a weekly and monthly plan that helps coach each team member. You want to support their professional development while getting them on a better track to reach the team goals.
If you aren’t in a management position, a way you might achieve short-term impact is by mastering the art of Managing Up. The Harvard Business Review defines managing up as, “Being the most effective employee you can be, creating value for your boss and your company”. Another way to think of it is doing the things that help your boss succeed. Customizing your work style to better suit your manager, and taking steps to make your manager’s job easier, all with the goal of optimizing success.
The next onboarding tip for the first 90 days is to start thinking… As you onboard to a job and with managing up in mind, consider these questions:
- What’s the best way to communicate with this boss? What are the best channels for communication?
- Is there anything on my boss’s plate that I can help her with?
- How do I best build rapport with this particular boss?
- What are my boss’s goals?
- What’s my boss’s management style?
- What are my boss’s strengths and weaknesses and is there a way your own style can support them?
- Are there problems you can anticipate and actively work to prevent?
Managing up is a way to develop a positive and compatible relationship with your boss. Managing up is one of many onboarding tips for the first 90 days to secure early wins at the new job.
Finally, if you enjoyed our onboarding tips for the first 90 days, read our finale of the onboarding series. We will share our best tips to consider the alliances you build as you onboard to a new role.