You have submitted applications. You have completed interviews. You have received job offers. When you finally make the decision and accept the job position you want, you are on top of the world. Personally when I received my first full-time job offer and accepted the position, I channeled my inner Will Smith portraying William Gardner in the Pursuit Happyness at the end of the movie. When you receive and accept the job offer, the emotions take over and you are feeling great about life.
You land the job, so what is next? Of course, you move find a place to live and take care of your personal essentials (i.e. travel arrangements, packing, moving expenses, surveying the living area, turning on utilities).
These are important items when transitioning to a full-time professional position, but we want to focus our attention on job onboarding. Job onboarding is important for you stepping into a new office, learning a new role, and meeting new people. Being the new professional to the department can be both challenging and exciting. I will share a quick 5 tips on how to successfully navigate job onboarding.
You want to make the right impression. You want fit into the workplace. You want to do your job well and have something to prove at the organization. All these pressures and all these come to mind when you are the new kid on the block.
Map Out the Environment
You want to fit in and blend into the workplace. You do this by observing the work culture (how people carry themselves, how people interact to each other, and etc.). This task does not happen overnight but you can chip at it and learn each day something about your office, your floor, the entire organization. This process requires patience and active listening. I suggest understanding the demeanor of your office in your staff meetings, in your supervisor meetings, and even over lunch to see how individuals function on a daily basis. You are not a spy but more so like a coach watching the film in real time so you can document, learn, and adjust, so you will be about succeed in finding your place while onboarding into the new workplace.
We are have goals in life. We all want to win at this game called life (personally and professionally). Life is a long-term game and your life continues to evolve over time as you mature. In starting a new job, we all have lofty goals, but hardly take the time to breathe and live in the moment. It is important when you are onboarding to set realistic expectations with yourself, with your supervisor, and with your job. Personally, I recommend focusing on three things you believe you can and will achieve in your role. In writing out your personal expectations and professional expectations, you need to understand this is a work in progress and expectations hold you accountable but also create room for growth. I encourage that you create your expectations (some personal and professional may overlap) and pick the three to five that are important to you then talk with your direct supervisor or other colleagues to see what the standards of the office are and see their perspectives. Putting this exercise into practice helps sets the foundation for you but also helps with mapping out the environment.
Being professional is one that involves not only the individual but the work environment form responding to emails a certain way to the way your present yourself. In the workplace, it is great to be prepared to scope out the scene to recognize patterns and tendencies. In the new TV series Blindspot, Taylor Shaw (Jane Doe) is one that carries herself in a professional manner and fits in with the FBI team even though she is not a full-time FBI agent or completely dresses the part. Taylor is an example of being professional by accepting who you are and what you aspire to become in the workplace setting. This fictional character blends in with the organization but still remains a true individual who has goals, concerns, and values. It is important to look the part and place more emphasis is placed on doing the part in a professional manner on a consistent basis with your employees and the clients you are serving.
Supervision & Mentoring
With job onboarding, you immediately focus on learning and doing the job well. It is equally important to establish great professional relationships with individuals in the workforce especially with your supervisor or potential employees that familiar with the structure and workforce dynamics. These individuals can be within your organization or outside of your place of work, but it is important to invest in your supervisor relationships and mentor relationships. Having that support when you make a mistake or looking for feedback on handling situations are essential for a professional when onboarding. In this time of adjustment, you are looking for that sense of belonging and looking for that support that provides you that boost of confidence. Finding Forrester and Good Will Hunting are both great movies that display this personal and professional development. In these movies, the movie characters played by Sean Connery and Robin Williams focus on the individual’s potential, provide useful advice, and finding their place. The supervision/mentorship is a two-way relationship and requires both parties to open communicate as well as provide the opportunity to learn as you go along with the job.
The organization selected you because of your skills and abilities but also who you are as an individual. When organizations are interviewing you, the hiring committee is looking for “fit”, personality, and value-added to a team. Once you have arrived to the company, never forget who you are, what you can bring to the team, and mostly important your values as well as beliefs in a professional setting. You can still be weird, unorthodox, silly, personable, or straightforward if this is how you are wired. Looking at the TV show The Office, each individual has a personality and have different ways of completing tasks. It is important to take pride in yourself and who you are because you have to find your balance as well your happiness in the process of job onboarding.
Written by Eric Hall