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10 ways to fit in your new workplace

Simone Mills

Congratulations! You’ve won that new job!

Whether it’s a new experience, transfer or promotion, the next challenge is about to begin. How you start the job will affect how successfully you will build relationships, set expectations and work within the team culture.

Starting a new job can be a stressful and exciting event. Most people are extremely apprehensive about moving to a new office with new expectations, new colleagues and the steep learning curve of the actual job. It doesn’t matter if you are moving to a new team in a leadership role or working as the office junior, how you start off will make the difference to how you grow professionally and the length of time you will stay in the job.

We all have tales and experiences of starting new jobs and I suspect we have all made at least one of these mistakes at some point in our careers. Here is some brutal honesty to help you fit into your next new workplace.

Be Friendly but not Familiar

Everyone in your new workplace will be curious to meet you and see who is joining them. Start by introducing yourself and learning all of their names. Being approachable and friendly will ensure that you come across in a positive way but don’t accidently become too familiar as a way to ‘fit in’ and run the risk of being seen as annoying and unprofessional.

Dress for the workplace

Your first impressions will be made from the clothes you wear and your appearance. Choose the right clothes to fit the workplace environment. Make sure you and your clothes are clean and tidy, as its probably likely you will have photos taken on your first day for your work pass. If in doubt it’s always better to be dressed too smartly on your first day.

Learn the Rules

Take time to look around and observe to discover the unspoken rules – who to speak to if you need to find out information or how people interact with each other. Also use your first few weeks to read through any policies and procedures – don’t assume that they will be the same as your old workplace.

Find a Buddy

What do you do if you have some questions? Who do you call to get help with IT, book rooms or other work related questions? Find a colleague who can be your buddy to answer your questions and help show you how things really work.

Show Enthusiasm and Curiosity

As soon as you start, everyone is observing you. Be professional and enthusiastic no matter what task is being given to you or training on something you think you already know about from a previous job. It is likely you will be given new tasks or opportunities – don’t be afraid to say yes to try something new or doing it another way. Ask questions. You are finding your way and most people will happily help the newbie, use these opportunities to help make new workplace connections.

Take Time to Settle

Sometimes you settle into a new job really quickly and sometimes it can take a few months. Try not to compare your knowledge with those of colleagues who have been working in the team for longer than you. Take the time to get to know the work and your colleagues as this the only time you will get to use the excuse that you are new!

Get to Know Your Colleagues

Use the first few weeks to learn your job and the people in the organisation. Say hello and introduce yourself to colleagues around the office and at other meeting points such as in the lift. If your colleagues give you an invitation, then aim to accept it. But be careful if it involves after work drinks – do not overindulge! If there are no invitations or events in the workplace, consider inviting a few colleagues to coffee or lunch.

Keep Away from Gossip

Under no circumstances take part in any gossip about your new colleagues, manager or clients. Not only do you not want to get the reputation of being a gossip but it is actually a form of workplace bullying and harassment and in some workplaces is taken very seriously.

Maintain Your Social Life Outside of Work

We’ve all seen the person start who seems so desperate to make friends that it turns people else away. Make some new friends but maintain your own social life outside of the workplace.

Be Honest

Be open and honest with your manager if you are having trouble in your new role or in settling in. Sometimes these issues can be sort out and if not, be an adult about it and have a clear conversation with your employer. Sometimes a job isn’t what you thought it would be or you just don’t fit in the workplace culture. You need to be honest and make the decision to stick it out or to look for something else. Whatever your choice, don’t linger in a role that makes you unhappy and resentful, as this is the sure-fire way to start having performance problems

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Simone Mills

Simone Mills is a Certified Human Resources Professional and the founder and principal consultant at Citron Consulting. Simone is unequivocally passionate about coaching clients to be successful leaders in the most effective and productive way. She is a committed advocate for facts, fairness, fun, feistiness, fulfilment, foresight and well-made tea. When you meet Simone, expect her positive energy, enthusiasm and HR knowledge to be stimulating, infectious and motivating. More about the Author

  • Sylvie R Carter

    How important it is to check in on these steps for success. Love the tips thank you Simone