Regardless of how long you’ve been working in an industry or how excellent you are at your job, there will always be a few differences encountered when you start a new role: The people are unknown, the culture will likely be somewhat alien and your new routine will take some getting used to.
You want to leave a lasting impression on your colleagues and management, so you should always try to be positive and enthusiastic. Beyond that, you should remember to not rush headfirst into your work and miss the prime opportunity to build rapport with your fellow employees.
Below we have highlighted a number of important considerations for your first 100 days that will help you seamlessly transition into your new job, settle in with your new employer and be successful in the workplace.
- Why you should set out a plan of action for your first 100 days
- Getting to know the business and your colleagues
- The importance of establishing good working relationships
- Where to focus most of your attention
- Crucial things to do early on in a new leadership role
- Why it’s important to make the most of your early days at work
Setting out an action plan for your first 100 days
First impressions really do count. As a new employee at an organisation, you want to get off on the right foot with all of your leaders and colleagues. The first few months should give you the opportunity to learn about the company and find out what it will take to succeed in your new position.
Before you start on the first day, it pays to have a set of goals around how you will approach your first 100 days and the sort of things you want to accomplish - they don’t have to be major; sometimes the more simple, the better!
Here’s a rough idea of the sort of goals you should set if you want to successfully transition into your new role:
- Day 1: Make an excellent impression on new colleagues
- Week 1: Ensure all induction processes are complete
- Week 2: Arrange meetings with key stakeholders
- Month 1: Learn about the ins and outs of the business
- Month 2: Put your stamp on the role and feedback to the business about how it could change
- Month 3: Display how your actions will deliver results
Get to know the business and its people
It is crucial that you spend a substantial amount of time familiarising yourself with the ‘feel’ of your new employer, the company culture and the people. Ask to attend as many relevant meetings as possible and make contact with lots of people around the business, beyond just your immediate team and those sitting near you.
If you are too invested in making yourself ‘useful’ the moment you walk through the door, you will miss the chance to pick up invaluable pieces of information that can come from simple surveillance. Note these down for the first few months; your initial, uninfluenced thoughts will be the sharpest and most insightful observations which could definitely be useful a few months down the line!
Forge relationships with the right individuals
It may seem a bit shrewd, but establish who the most beneficial people are that you need to strike up a strong relationship with as early as possible. The relationships you need to establish won’t necessarily map out easily and it would pay to do some swift thinking about who has widespread power across the business. This doesn’t mean you must focus solely on these individuals, but it’s important to gain a strong and in-depth understanding of office dynamics.
Whether you are a junior professional just starting your career or you’re further up the ladder having secured a leadership role, it would be hugely beneficial to elicit the help of someone who has been with the employer for some time. A coach within the business will guide you on how to navigate issues and advise on how best to deal with certain individuals.
Advisers will advise and mentors will tell you what they would have done, but a good coach will consider your personality and position before suggesting actions.
If you are fulfilling a more senior or manager level role, everyone in your extended team will be looking at you not just as a functional leader, but as a human being as well. As a general rule, try and set aside 40% of your day to regularly engage with them - ask them what does and doesn’t work in the organisation, what they think needs to change and what doesn’t.
Find out what motivates the people that work for you and what inspires the people you work for. If you take heed of their answers and action any suggestions, you will paint a great picture of yourself and keep them highly engaged - which is hugely important!
Top Tip: Many organisations will give you lots of mandatory training which can consume most of that irretrievable first week. After receiving an offer, ask if your new employer will let you do some of this remotely before your first day.
Establish where best to focus your attention
The ‘3 rocks’ approach is an effective way to identify where you should focus your attention...
These rocks should be important projects or goals where 60% of your efforts are channelled as opposed to focusing on the ‘sand’ surrounding the rocks - the small, everyday tasks you do to deliver the day job. The rocks should be highly visible actions that will deliver a big impact on the business. People don’t remember the sand, but they take notice of the rocks!
This short video visualises why it is important to channel your attention towards the bigger tasks, whilst letting the everyday tasks fit in around them.
Start thinking about what you want to be known for by the time you have been within the organisation for one year. Identify where you can make the biggest difference and keep that goal in mind - having a primary goal to focus on and work towards is an excellent way of channelling your efforts.
Having an influence early on in a new leadership role
If the new job you have secured is a leadership position, there are additional considerations that will help you be successful in the first few months. Whether you have been hired during a period of explosive growth or to help transform the business, your first 100 days are critical to making a good impression and establishing a positive foundation for the future.
1. Listen to your peers - It’s inevitable that you will be doing a lot of speaking early on in your new leadership role; to team members, customers/clients and other key stakeholders. But you should also be doing a whole lot of listening too.
You should use your unfamiliarity with the company to your advantage and ask what’s working, what isn’t, which areas could do with help and what they would do if they were in your position. What those people tell you can be incredibly informative and should help direct your strategic agenda by giving you a sense of what people, internally and externally, really value.
2. Be visible and responsive - It can be intimidating for your colleagues when a new leader joins from an external company. That’s why it can be an excellent idea to implement an open-door policy where you explicitly display how approachable you are. Better still, sit yourself in and amongst the other teams and get involved with their day-to-day communications.
When people know that you’re receptive to ideas and willing to listen, they will be much more confident around you and honest with you.
3. Don’t rush into things - Whilst you will be expected to hit the ground running as a leader, you should consider slowing things down a bit for the first couple of months. This will allow you to fully analyse what’s going on and get a really strong perception of the state of the business and what opportunities could potentially be harnessed. A more thoughtful approach in the early stages will pave the way for higher quality results in the long run.
4. Avoid changing too much immediately - You were probably hired to change things up and transform certain aspects of the business, but if you go in and disrupt everything, making widespread changes straight away, you may encounter ‘new leader rejection’.
It is important to innovate - and it was likely part of the job description - but you need to be mindful of the people around you and understand the realistic pace at which change can be implemented. If you do the groundwork of the above points first, people will be much more receptive to your plans.
5. Tackle critical situations - You can lay all the right foundations with great intentions of moving forward, but you must not overlook the fact that the company still needs to be run and there will undoubtedly be critical situations that have to be dealt with. You must be flexible when this occurs!
Make the most of the early days in your new job
You may seem isolated, but just like on your first day at school, everyone will have been in the same boat at some point. Reach out to as many people as possible and let your personality shine. After all, you will be spending a lot of time speaking to your colleagues - it makes an enormous amount of difference if you get on well with them.
This is an exciting new step in your career, so make the most of those precious first few months!