How To “Fit In” with Your New Job Group
You got the job! Good for you. Now, your thoughts need to turn to how to start out strong and reinforce you were a great person to hire.
Just as you thought about how to create a good first impression in the job interview, your first impression in your new job is even more important. The first impression in your new job will stick with you from this point forward and can mean the difference between enjoying each day or dread going to work.
Your ability to fit with your new group and the company culture will be the biggest determinate of how well your career trajectory will go. Culture within a group is subtle and unspoken but is a uniting factor that meshes each person to the next, even if the group is dysfunctional or unproductive.
There are things to do and things to avoid during your integration period, which is roughly about 90-120 days. These things will assure your ability to fit with your group and position you to succeed.
- Be friendly.
One of the things that draw us to another person is when they smile and offer a word or two to others. It demonstrates openness and warmth, which is an endearing quality.
- Be there to learn.
Even if you were on the cover of Inc. magazine as an expert, you have things to learn about the new business & group. If you come across as a person who doesn’t need to learn or understand how this business does things, you will be treated as an outsider. Being an outsider will put you at a disadvantage, as you will be outside the stream of valuable information and process of work. It can be seriously uncomfortable and also negatively impact your work performance.
- Ask questions.
One way to show your eagerness to learn and interact is to ask questions about people, process, and priorities. Don’t be reluctant to ask, it’s a sign of strength and confidence, not weakness.
- No comparisons.
No one cares how things were done where you came from and they especially don’t want to be compared. Doing that implies you are putting down how things are done here. Keep in mind, there are people attached to the work and it can offend them. Even if the mission you were given is to make changes toward improvement, don’t make comparisons. Give suggestions as their own solution to problems to solve here based on learning how things are done. (Even if the idea came from your previous job)
- Solve problems but not too quickly.
If you start pointing out problems with how things are done without the chance to learn, it may be taken as critical of them or lacking insight. That sort of thing will stick with you (and not in a good way).
- Pay attention.
Group culture is a funny thing. People who are already immersed in it will find it close to impossible to identify. As a new person, you have the opportunity to figure out the cultural “icons” but only if you observe what and how things are done. It can be anything from who the alpha dog is in the group that must be deferred to for certain things all the way to idiosyncrasies of the boss. Running amok in a culture will cause you to be treated as an outsider and someone everyone is leery of.
- Focus on relationships.
You don’t have to try to turn everyone into your new BFF but you will do well to develop solid working relationships with everyone in your group. Learn their background, skills, and priorities and figure out how to support each one within the scope of your job. This type of reciprocity solidifies all relationships and you will be well supported at all levels if this is the only thing you focus on.
Creating a powerful first impression on a job is one of the most important things you can do. It sets the tone for how people will perceive you going forward and is the thing to define your job satisfaction and success.
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Brought to you by Dorothy Tannahill-Moran – dedicated to unleashing your professional potential. Introvert Whisperer