Your First Day is Not the Time for Hide & Seek
Published: Jul 30, 2015
Whether it be at a new school or at a new company, first days are bound to be awkward. You are in a foreign environment, surrounded by unfamiliar faces. So what do you do? Start by resisting the urge to stay confined to your desk or office. We asked the experts why it is beneficial to be visible on your first day at a new job. Here is what they said:
The chance to connect with key players: This is the best time to introduce yourself to the individuals that will make your career a lot easier. Whether it be the mailman, the receptionist, or the Senior Vice President, you must make a connection right from the get-go. Sean O'Neil, Principal and CEO of One to One Leadership and Author of Bare Knuckle People Management, recommends that you take the opportunity to interact with as many key players as possible.
"Walk around and familiarize yourself with the place. Introduce yourself to some of the key players who can make life easy for you once your actual work begins." In fact, most people either haven't had the chance to meet you yet or need to be re-introduced. O'Neil says your first day is the perfect time to create relationships by re-introducing yourself or by volunteering to assist with a project. "Most likely they won't have anything for you right away, but they'll appreciate the initiative and remember to identify assignments for you in the future." This way, they will be inclined to reach out to you and more willing to return the favor in the future.
Get a better understanding for how things work: Adapting to a new company culture is tough and takes time. Your workload will likely be very light during the first few days, so take the opportunity to observe your colleagues, raise questions, and get to know your environment. Stacey Hawley, Founder of career consulting firm Credo with over 14 years of HR consulting experience, agrees that the only way to be successful is to understand your company's culture, and the only way to observe how your organization operates is by getting out from behind your desk. If you get to know your peers, their specific roles, backgrounds, and career ladders, you will get a feel for how your firm functions. What's more, you will get a feel for how you need to function to be successful and to complete tasks as efficiently as possible. "Listen. Observe. Learn everything you can about the culture - how people communicate and interact, how decisions are made and communicated, how work is delegated, etc." Hawley advises.
Create an internal support system: Your new career is bound to have peaks and valleys. While it is important to create communication boundaries with colleagues, it is equally important to reach out to them for support and guidance. Val Wright, a recognized leadership expert and career coach, advises new hires to build solid relationships in your new workplace. "It can be a lonely existence as a new hire if you don't proactively act," she says. Wright explains that you should tap into this trusted network to share your highs and lows, as well as to receive support and guidance. As the Regional Vice President of AT&T, Aaron McDaniel knows the importance of establishing an internal support system, or as he calls it "mini mentors". He recommends that new hires identify these "mini mentors" early on so that they can be used to support certain aspects of your job. "The aggregate of these mini mentors will be extremely helpful at setting you on a trajectory toward success," he notes.