Starting a new job is daunting no matter how experienced you are. Even top chief executives have doubts on their first day: Will I be liked? Will I be able to do the job? Will they think I’m up to it? A good onboarding process will help you overcome those doubts and become a productive part of the team.
It’s a two-way process designed to welcome and integrate you into a company. And there’s plenty you can do to help make it a successful one, beyond arriving on time and leaving the tuna and egg sandwiches at home – there’s really no corner of an office the smell won’t reach.
The perfect induction process is different for every business
Every company onboards its employees differently. Some simply show you where to sit and where the toilets are and expect you to get cracking straightaway, others provide a structured one year induction program. We’d definitely advise the latter.
A structured and personalised program increases retention rates, productivity and employee engagement. It helps a new hire adjust to their new environment, making them feel welcome and giving them the opportunity to get their head around the knowledge, skills and behaviours needed to be successful in a new role. If you arrive at a company that onboards like this, embrace it.
How to get the most out of your induction as a new employee
Even though you’re new to an organisation, you can still influence the onboarding process if it’s not as comprehensive as it should ideally be. Here are a few tips:
- Don’t put too much pressure on yourself. The team you are joining may be stretched and eager for you to hit the ground running but you can’t be expected to be up to speed straight away. A good manager will know it takes around eight months to reach full productivity.
- Don’t be afraid to discuss performance expectations. A well thought out induction program will set aside time for you and your manager to talk through a detailed job description, outlining your key responsibilities and deliverables. If it doesn’t, ask to do this – if you don’t know what is expected of you, how are you supposed to know what success looks like?
- Find out how your job fits in with the wider organisation, how it contributes to organisational and departmental strategies and what you will be accountable for. Again, if your manager misses this crucial step in the onboarding process, you should mention it.
- Set goals which you’ll achieve after the first 30, 60 and 90 days with your manager. Agree on how you’ll both track your progress and how you’ll flag any problems.
- Arrange weekly, or at least fortnightly, catch-ups to regularly track progress against your goals and overcome any barriers to success.
To be effective, the performance management process should be ongoing with plenty of opportunities for both parties to provide feedback and support. You don’t want to arrive at your annual review in 12 months’ time only to find you and your manager are on completely different wavelengths.
Don’t be afraid to push a little if you’re not getting the support and feedback you need. Although it’s important not to appear overconfident, you want to give yourself the best chance of doing well and part of that is having clarity early on about what is expected of you and how you’re performing as you settle into the role.
And if you do find those first few months tough, don’t be too hard on yourself. It’s all part of the learning process.
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