About half of new hires rate the onboarding process into their new job as “poor”. Why is that important to know? Because the success you achieve longer term may depend upon it. What you do and how you integrate into the job within the first one to three months is critical. How you fit and add value starts on day one. A really good start will position you for the future.
How do you succeed longer term in your new organization? There are three elements: Adapt/Integrate… Achieve/Contribute…Influence/Lead. We will focus on the first element: To adapt and integrate successfully into your new environment.
One of the smartest first step is to assess the issues, opportunities and measurements of the position. If you don’t understand these three elements, you’re guessing. Unless you know what needs to be fixed, what the possibilities are for results and how your performance is going to be measured, you’ll be wasting a great deal of time. On the other hand, if you can assess these three elements within the first month or so, your boss and colleagues will view you in a very favorable light. Here are some steps to achieve these results:
- Meet with the individuals and groups with whom you’ll be working: Peers, subordinates, customers, vendors, support staff and so on
- Focus on developing a positive working relationship with all groups
- Find out their perspective on expectations in working with you. How they view your contribution to their results is important for you to know
- Ask them three primary questions:
- “What are the issues or impediments to higher performance?” (Short and long term)
- “What do you see as opportunities to improve performance?”
- “How should we measure our performance and results?”
- Consolidate this information. Put it into some form of order and priority
- Share the information with your boss. Include your insights and concerns
- Together, prioritize an action plan, with objectives, to address the issues and opportunities
- Include elements of timing, staff support required, cost, potential strategies, involvement of peer groups, approval levels, and so on
- Determine how best to measure the results anticipated for each major deliverable
- Lay out a 6-to-12-month strategy to achieve the goals of the plan
- Attack the low hanging fruit first. Obtain initial success and momentum with visible results
- Recognize and acknowledge the contribution of key people, especially those with whom you are dependent, including internal and external customers
- Provide continuous feedback to the individuals and groups with whom you work
- Review progress monthly while adapting plans with your boss
Your first few months on a new job is critical to your longer-term performance and results. Make the most on your entry strategy by using the time productively. Find out what the key issues, opportunities and concerns are before starting down the wrong path. Develop key relationships with your working team that will pay off dividends down the road.
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