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The first 90 days on a job are critical for your success at a company. In fact, many companies even have a 90-day probationary period, where they can fire you for any reason during your first 90 days.
Essentially, this is a tryout for the role, where everyone watches to see if you can do the job and if you fit in with the company.
In this post, I’ll share the top 8 tips for starting a new job on the right foot. Let’s get into it.
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WHAT WE’RE TRYING TO ACCOMPLISH IN THE FIRST 90 DAYS
Your first 90 days on the job lay the foundation for how the entire tenure of your time at a company will go. You’re learning, building relationships, identifying your role, and proving to your boss and team that you were the right fit for the job.
Before we jump into the top 8 tips, let’s talk at a high level about what you are trying to accomplish during this time.
You want to show everyone that you are…
- Open to learning
Keep these traits in mind because each of the 8 tips will help you prove you are one or more of these things.
1. GET TO KNOW EVERYONE’S NAME AND ROLES
Awareness is critical for the beginning of any new job. The first thing you should be aware of is who everyone is.
Be diligent in introducing yourself and learning the names of everyone around you. Prioritize those who are on your team and who you will be interacting with the most.
Don’t just learn their names, but learn their roles as well. This will help you figure out the structure and corporate hierarchy of the company.
Some employees have more power and responsibility than others. You want to know who those people are so you can be sure to deliver your best work to them.
2. PUT CONSISTENT EFFORT INTO BUILDING RELATIONSHIPS
Once you know who everyone is, put consistent effort into building relationships. Relationships are key to fitting in and feeling at home, but they are also critical for making your life easier and paving a path for you to move up in the company.
People enjoy working with those that they like. If you get people to like you, you’ll make friends, which will make work much more enjoyable. Nothing is worse than having no one you like at work or having no one like you.
There will be times when you need a helping hand from a coworker. Maybe you have too much on your plate or maybe you have to miss a day for a personal reason. When you have solid relationships, you’ll be able to count them to help you when you need it.
To build relationships, strike up conversations whenever you can. Say yes to every opportunity to have lunch with your boss and team. And say yes to any company event or outing.
These actions will put you in a position to create and nurture relationships.
3. STUDY THE FOUNDATIONS OF YOUR ROLE, THE TEAM, AND THE COMPANY
Another tip related to awareness is to study the foundations of your role, the team, and the company. You want to get caught up to speed as quickly as possible so you can integrate with your new team.
Study your job description and ask your boss early on what they expect from you. Define what “success” in your role looks like and frequently ask for feedback.
Ask about the team and how your team fits within the entire company. When all this is defined, it’ll provide clarity on what you are there to do and how that impacts the company.
The quicker you can gain this foundational knowledge. the quicker you can start playing to your strengths and working on your weaknesses.
4. FOCUS ON ADDING VALUE AND MAKING EVERYONE’S LIFE EASIER
Now that your foundation is built, tip 4 is to focus on adding value and making everyone’s life easier.
This is the way to impress and get on everyone’s good side. When you first start at a new job, everyone on your team is watching you.
They are looking to see if you are competent, if you fit in, and if you are valuable to the team or not. At a minimum, you want to make sure you are effectively performing your duties; the ones that were in your job description and anything you talked about with your boss.
Beyond that, you can go the extra mile by identifying the biggest pain points in the company and trying to tackle them.
For example, maybe a pain point for your company is that running monthly budget numbers takes too long. You can add value by finding ways to make that process faster.
Maybe you can use your skills to automate part of the task. This immediately adds value and proves that you are useful.
Take initiative on these types of things. Also, be flexible and willing to take on any task. This will show you are versatile and dependable.
5. GET A FEEL FOR THE CULTURE AND ASSIMILATE
From the start, you want to be observant of what the culture of the office is.
Are people extroverted or introverted? Do people keep to themselves from 9 am to noon and then socialize more often after that time?
What do people talk about? Just work? Or do they talk about their interests?
How do they dress? How do they carry themselves? How do they interact?
These are all questions you should be asking yourself. Find what the culture is and assimilate.
Your first 90 days aren’t the time to stand out and be different. You want to work on fitting in and not rubbing people the wrong way.
6. BE CONSCIOUS OF ATTITUDE AND PRESENCE
Your attitude and presence will contribute to a few of the other tips we have mentioned already, but it deserves its own recognition.
For your attitude, you want to portray that you are engaged, you are a team player, you are willing to learn, and that you are a personable person that anyone can approach.
You never want to come off as someone who is disinterested, lazy, entitled, or that you think you are above anyone else.
As for presence, I’m talking about your physical presence in the office, in meetings, and at company events. I’m also referring to your digital presence in areas such as email threads.
You want to exhibit confidence with your contribution.
During meetings and email interactions, participate where you can. You don’t want to be silent because you won’t be adding value and others may second guess why you are there.
You also don’t want to excessively speak or contribute because you might come off as someone who thinks they run the show now. This can rub people the wrong way.
Find a healthy medium where you can show that you are comfortable in your position and putting an effort to contribute to the team.
7. ARRIVE EARLY AND LEAVE LATE (AT LEAST FOR THE START)
During your first 90 days, you want to show you are committed. Arriving early and leaving later than the average person on your team can help you show this.
If your hours are from 9 to 5, showing up at 9 and leaving right at 5 could give the impression that you’re someone who only wants to do the bare minimum to get by.
If the culture of your office is to work from 8:30 to 5:30, you should get to the office at 8:00 am and leave at 6:00 pm. Even if your workload can’t fill those hours, you should stick to this schedule at least until after your first 90 days.
8. BE CAREFUL WITH EARLY DEMANDS BEFORE PROVING YOURSELF
We’ve talked about how in your first 90 days, you want to fit in and not step on any toes. One way to do this is to be careful with early demands before proving yourself.
These demands can be things such as asking for extended time off, asking for special treatment or even requesting a new laptop or office chair because you don’t like your current one.
It’s fine to ask if something is a necessity, but you don’t want to come off as someone who is needy and thinks they deserve special treatment. If others see this, it could stir up resentment.
If your colleagues think you are someone who is difficult to work with, they’ll stay away from you and hope you get fired.
Once you have put in some time and have proved yourself with your output and the relationships you have built, then you can start making reasonable requests.
That wraps up my top 8 tips for starting a new job on the right foot. The start of a new job can be overwhelming. You’re learning a new role and adjusting to your new environment. But it’s critical to focus on nailing your first 90 days. These 8 tips will help you do that.
See you in the next post!