5 things you can do on your first few days at a new job

The first week or first few weeks of joining a new company is mostly spent on an onboarding process. During this period, most companies set up their new hires to settle into the new work environment and often do not expect you, a new hire, to do much work.

These first few days are actually very important to both parties. For the employee, this is the period you get to learn as much of the company as possible to help you settle in and prepare to do your best work. For the company, this is the best time to give the new employee an idea of what their work at the company will look like.

Most people struggle when they join a new company, especially fresh off a different company, because they have internalized a working system that may be very different from the one they are now being integrated into. An onboarding process helps make it easier for you to settle into a new company.

Here, we outline and explain some actions or processes that you can initiate that will potentially make your settling into a new company much easier.

Find someone on the team that you can ask questions.

In every team, there is usually the one person that new hires can go to if they have any questions, no matter how embarrassing. This could be the manager/supervisor or a colleague who understands that you are still finding your foothold in this new role.

Find that person when you join a new team or start a new job and ask them all your questions as you navigate the first few weeks. The importance of this person is to help you learn company culture fast and settle into the role easily. They may not be able to help with the more technical aspects of your role.

Find someone you can ask any question relating to how the team or the company works. I cannot stress this enough. You will find it much easier to survive the first few days when you have someone to ask those questions.

Prioritize learning.

In every organization, there are usually new things to learn and new information to internalize or a new process to get used to. New things are never in short supply for new hires. If you try to take in every new thing, you will simply exhaust yourself quicker than you can even imagine.

This is why having someone you can ask questions is important. This person can help you sort through the information overload and find the ones that are crucial to your success or failure in that role.

Prioritize your learning based on what is important for your role and for navigating the general workplace and commit your first few days to learning those things. This helps you prepare for the job ahead, and equips you with the information you need to accomplish it.

Show value quickly.

I know this sounds like a big challenge, but it really isn’t. In fact, in most organizations, it is the easiest thing to do within your first few days.

Find an opportunity for a quick win, something that the team or company has been stuck at but that obviously will not take much effort and get it done within your first two weeks. It may take you a few minutes or hours to solve this problem, but it will count for you in the long run.

Think of solutions. There are usually many problems in the workplace that if you come in with solutions, you will immediately stamp your value in that organization.

Understand your deliverables.

Spend your first week understanding your role from the inside. In many cases, what you know about the role from the outside may not be enough information to go by. Speak with your supervisor and colleagues to get a sense of what the role entails for you and what their expectations of you are.

This gives you the headstart you need to start defining and achieving success within your first few days. Don’t wait to be called out for not meeting expectations. Find out what the expectations are and determine the ones that you can meet faster and with less stress.

Internalize company culture.

Company Culture encompasses everything that represents how each company does things. From their preferred meeting times to their preferred meeting medium, different companies tend to do things differently.

Whether they communicate via Slack or email, whether they use Google Meet for virtual meetings or Zoom, whether they have a strict work-from-home policy or work from the office, the culture of a company is what keeps the different moving parts together.

When you get the hang of your company’s culture, you can very easily become a part of it and succeed faster at the job.

Finally…

In all of this, remind yourself constantly that everyone was once new at their job and everyone is simply just figuring it out as they go along. Many people will get the hang of things the first time they try while others will only get it after the third trial. Don’t pressure yourself into stress. Enjoy the process and grow in your new role.