How to Mesh into a New Company Culture
Starting a new job is stressful. You’re learning the ropes, new skills, new software, the office’s political landscape, and people may be judging you for how quickly you adapt all the while. Follow these tips to make the transition as smooth as possible, passing the three-month mark with confidence and ease.
Eyes and Ears Open, Mouth Shut
You’re on a three-month probationary period. If you’ve ever been let go or unemployed, then you may in fact be hyper-sensitive to every minor shift. That’s okay-don’t stress over everything you don’t “get” immediately. Just be sure to ask lots of questions, clarify things early and often, and get things done.
But do not rush into “making your mark.”
You might also try being in the office 10 minutes earlier and 10 minutes later than everyone else (if you have office keys), but play this card with care. It can be difficult to come back from that expectation.
Avoiding assertiveness can feel contradictory if you’re taking on a leadership position, but it’s still a wise policy to follow. You’re there to guide and direct people who already work with certain systems, tools, and conventions. A new software engineer wouldn’t rewrite entire swathes of code in order to improve it-he or she would study it, understand it, and then see where there’s room for improvement, tapping the team’s ideas to make it happen. General leadership is no different.
Introducing new ideas can be unwelcome in certain environments. While that may mean you won’t stay there forever, you may not have the luxury of walking away out of principle. Play it safe in the beginning, then get the lay of the land.
Socialize with Your New Co-Workers (Discreetly)
Team bonds are stronger than job descriptions. You need to cultivate these for the best long-term cohesion, so it’s wise to be friendly from the first day. Don’t overstep boundaries, but make it clear that the door remains open for anyone and everyone who wants to stop by to get to know you.
Some organizations have arm’s-length cultures. But in others, you may start receiving Facebook notifications on the first day. Read the landscape-and give yourself time to do that, by the way. Life isn’t Game of Thrones, and you won’t understand everything in the first week, let alone the first day. Spending a few weeks to understand these things is entirely natural.
But… start exploring social relationships once you do. Subtly, you’ll find out what people find acceptable and what they don’t. If all else fails, you can simply wait for the next team building event to break the ice.
Seek Out Feedback, and Adapt
Proactively asking for feedback is one of the single best things you can do as you enmesh yourself into a new company culture. It not only shows that you’re interested in doing your job well to everyone around you, but it creates bonds with coworkers that you might not interact with as often. Joining a high-functioning team legal counsel or risk management professionals means there will be set conventions that you can learn. Build relationships at the same time, this way.
Even more specifically, asking for your co-workers’ feedback lets them give you their two cents on how stuff runs-and providing that input will make them feel more involved with you directly. If you take their advice, they’ll accept you even faster. Don’t try to over-engineer situations to accomplish this, but simply take the opportunity build a rapport with people when the chance arises.
Set Realistic Boundaries in the Beginning
It’s common knowledge that people are appreciated for “doing what they say they will do.” Take the initiative on new projects, but remember that you need to take time to learn and adapt. Becoming proficient in a smaller number of skills and tasks at the outset will make your onboarding experience easier for the coworkers who need to train you.
Check in with your co-workers, team leader, and boss on a regular basis to check your progress. Those meetings don’t exist to shame anyone-they are there to help you get on track. No one’s going to get everything right away, so walk into those meetings confidently to learn everything you need to catch up to the rest of the team.
Becoming part of a new workplace culture isn’t rocket science, but it can still be daunting. Call us at the Career Path Group for an NYC recruiting firm that will help you find a new job-and stay with it after receiving your offer.