In this series, professionals share how they rocked — or didn’t! — the all-important first 90 days on the job. Follow the stories here and write your own (please include the hashtag #First90 in the body of your post).
First impressions are vital. However, the actions during the first 90 days of anybody’s new job are more important to forming a good and hopefully lasting relationship with your new employer.
Here are some DOs and DON’Ts for the first 90 days at your new job I learned as both employee and employer, shared to help you solidify the great first impression you made:
- Understand “how things get done around here.” What are the unwritten Do’s and Don’ts? What are the taboo subjects? How do people get on in the company? This is effectively the culture of the organization.
- Understand thoroughly what your boss expects of you. Expectations are important to meet (and ideally exceed), particularly when this is the person who decides if whether you stay or go at an organization.
- Familiarize yourself with how your boss works. Does she like you to set appointments or drop by the office? Is paperwork how he communicates or email? Does your boss want you to call in at the beginning of the day? Figuring out these details will solidify your relationship more quickly.
- Strive to be positive and open to new ideas. You bring a fresh perspective to the situation. Keep it positive and open to help energize the team. Be positive, but not deluded.
- Deliver on your deadlines. For me, this is key. Talk is cheap; it’s action they are paying you for. You are being assessed for many things during this first 90 days, including your reliability. DO NOT fail on this. If you promise to do something. Do it. You will be surprised how many people don’t.
- Clarify questions you have. You know the old saying about what happens when you ASSume? If not, Google it. Make sure you clarify any questions you have before you end up in that transformational situation.
- Learn the office politics but resist involvement. Your status as the new hire affords you the opportunity to learn the inner workings of the organization without having to choose a side. You will also be forgiven a few mistakes, but learn quickly! Exploit this opportunity for as long as you can.
- Become a team player. Being a part of the team is critical to your success. Get in the game and show you are willing to pull your weight. Do things to help your colleagues; don’t try and score points off them.
- Remember no one likes a smart arse! Save the wisecracks for your blog.
- Request feedback. Be sure to ask your manager how you are doing and what you can improve at each month’s end. It’s an opportunity to correct any issues before they create problems down the road.
- Be the last in/first out member of the team. I would argue you should never be this person whether it’s your first 90 days or not!
- Miss your first deadline or, in fact, any deadline. You might not get a second chance to show you can deliver the goods.
- Complain. My Mum taught me if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all. She’s right… particularly in the first 90 days!
- Isolate your influence to the negative members of the team. They are usually easy to spot. Be pleasant and non-committal. And find other work friends as quickly as possible.
- Indiscriminately default to “Yes!” There is a difference between being positive and being a sycophant. Find the balance. Personally, I value people who challenge me in a positive way… this means not just saying “Yes!” I had to fire a person whose default was “Yes!” Why? Because she just said yes to everyone and then didn’t deliver on these. I tried to coach her on saying no in a positive way, but she couldn’t adjust her ways.
- Indiscriminately default to “No!” In improvisational acting, no is a bad word. One must always say yes to the partner, or the scene can’t progress. The same applies at work. There are ways to suggest a better course of action without being as blunt as saying no.
7. Feel reluctance to share a good idea. While complaining isn’t a great idea, coming up with solutions for a problem is always a great way to make a good first 90 days impression.
8. Shy from challenging your boss — in a positive way. Re-read this sentence a few times; the “in a positive way” is critical. I always tell my team they are paid for an opinion.
9. Rely on the phrase, “In my last job we used to do it this way…” No doubt you have some good stuff from your old job. Bring it with you but embrace your new opportunity. No one wants to be constantly compared with your ex.
10. Ask your manager how long your lunch break is. If this detail is important, it will come up naturally.
What advice do you have for new employees? We’d all love to hear your insight in the comments below.
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If you enjoyed this post, you might be interested in the following blogs:
- Are You Working for the Right Company?
- Hiring Customer Ready Employees
- Are You Making These Mistakes with Your Employees Today
Colin Shaw is the founder and CEO of Beyond Philosophy, one of the world’s first organizations devoted to customer experience. Colin is an international author offour best-selling books and an engaging keynote speaker.
Follow Colin Shaw on Twitter @ColinShaw_CX