There is a great deal of research that makes it clear that the first 90 days on a new job set the tone for what is to come. If an employee is going to fail in their role, it is apparent within this time period. For both the employee and for the group s/he is joining – first impressions matter and shape what follows.
Despite this, only 12% of employees give their company high marks for having
well-organized on-boarding programs (Gallup, 2017 State of American Workplace).
What creates even more of a challenge is employees entering a new job rarely have a clear plan on how they are going to quickly come up to speed, meet critical interfaces and understand expectations/goals. This gap is especially important and hard to overcome for young people entering the workforce for the first time. New graduates in their first professional job can also be more reluctant to ask for guidance. They are more hesitant than their experienced co-workers to take the initiative to meet peers and people senior to them.
At LaunchingU, some of our clients have asked us to coach them through the first 30 days on the job, and here is what we encourage them to do:
- During the hiring process – ask about the on-boarding process at your new company, and then develop a plan to fill in around it as necessary. Most companies will at least give you paperwork you need to fill out regarding benefits, an employee handbook (read it!) and any legal documents it is important for you to understand.
- You will be meeting a lot of new people – get clear on what you want your new colleagues to know about you. Also, ask new colleagues if you can set-up time to meet with them over coffee and understand what they do at Company X, and how they interface with your new role. Then follow up and schedule some time!
- Meet with and interview your new boss within the first couple of days. If they don’t schedule a meeting, ask for an hour meeting. Learn about his/her background, ask about department or team goals, understand how often, and how they want you to communicate with them, and identify critical interfaces and goals for the first 30 days.
- Ask your boss to meet at least once a week for the first month.
- Come to your meetings with your boss with a notepad and writing tool. (Not your computer or phone!)
- Ask your boss for suggestions on internal documents that would help you learn more about the company.
- Before the meeting with your boss, send them thoughts regarding what you would like to talk about, and ask for topics that they want you to be ready to discuss.
- Get out and meet people, be curious, ask about their perspectives on what is working, and what their challenges are. Take notes.
- Go to any and all meetings you are invited to. Take notes
- Focus on how to improve your job before you share your perspective on how things could be done better outside of your job. Ask a lot of questions. Make sure you understand why things are done the way they are before you recommend changes.
If you or your college student need support transitioning from college into their first career or getting started in their first job contact us for a complimentary planning session. We can help!