Starting a new job can be really stressful. So in this article, I’m going to tell you some tips and tricks for how you can start your new role off right. These are based on my own personal experiences in the last year or so when I took my first role in close to a decade.
Tip #1: Do work before day one
What I mean by that is a few weeks before your onboarding, you should reach out to whoever’s going to be your manager or your leader at the new company and ask if there’s any materials that you can review before your start date.
The reason why you do this is because A: it demonstrates to your next manager or leader that you are proactive and B: it gives you an opportunity to actually consume the new information at a reasonable pace. A lot of times in those first few weeks that you’re starting a new job, it can be really stressful and you’re learning a lot of things at once.
And so by having an opportunity ahead of your actual start date to go through some different materials, it can be a good way for you to make sure that when you’re actually onboarding in weeks one through four, that it’s not the first time you’re ever seeing that particular piece of content. Your mileage may vary depending on what size company you’re joining.
This is probably going to be more likely something that you can ask for when it’s a smaller company, as opposed to a larger company. That said though, worst case scenario, it’s going to be something where it’ll demonstrate to the future people that you’re working with that you’re really excited to start on your role as well as you want to hit the ground running in delivering impact.
Remember our goal when whenever we’re starting a new job is to prove our value and to prove our worth for them being excited and extending us an offer. So we want to be able to start delivering that impact immediately before day one.
Tip #2: Set out clear outcomes for the 30, the 60 and the 90 day plan.
You want to outline three to five key performance indicators or KPIs that your manager can hold you accountable for. And then what you’re going to want to do is every single week, give your manager an update of how you’re striving toward the particular key outcomes that both of you agreed upon.
It can be a really great opportunity for you when you’re setting these goals to actually collaborate with your manager and set realistic and attainable goals, but also it gives your manager a clear understanding of how you’re pacing in your relative personal plans, as well as the organization’s plans for your onboarding. So by having these sorts of 30, 60, 90 day goals, it can be a really great way for you to make sure that you’re focusing on the most important things.
Sometimes, depending on how good the company is onboarding is you might already have 90 day goals. But what can be helpful is to take an extra step of effort and provide 60 day as well as 30 day goals for your managers so that the two of you guys can work towards those respective outcomes.
Tip#3: Ask your manager how your pace is going
The third tip that I tell you when you’re starting a new job, especially if it’s in this case of a startup is to ask your manager how your pace is going in your first few weeks on the job. And then after the first few weeks, you can ask this question every few weeks with your manager just to make sure that you’re maintaining pacing. The goal of having this check-in is to make sure that you are meeting the expectations of what your manager is expecting from you.
By having this understanding, it can be a great way for you to build trust with your new manager or your leader, and also make it clear to yourself as to whether or not you are actually achieving the key outcomes of why they expanded out this role to hire you. In the case where you’re not pacing well, what that might be an opportunity for you to course correct ahead of time before there’s an issue with your potential manager.
This tip comes from someone new on my team who asked this exact question in both they’re first and second week with me. And I really liked it because it allowed them to get a better understanding of my expectations of them, as well as them to just check in, in a proactive way and manage up to me.
Tip #4: Prioritize your projects and then start digging in quickly.
So the goal for you in the first two weeks of your onboarding is to outline what some of the short-term, the medium-term, as well as long-term products are going to be, and then start immediately tackling the short-term and the medium-term projects.
Long-term projects will probably require you to be onboarded a little bit further along maybe a month or two in, but by being able to bucket out your projects and prioritize, you’re going to be able to start delivering immediate impact to your team.
Tip #5: Try to remove something from someone else’s plate at least once a week
The next tip that I tell you is to try to make sure that you are removing something from someone else’s plate at least once a week. The reason why you want to do this is because it really shows your value beyond your immediate role. You’ve been hired to do something with this new role, but there’s always going to be opportunities for you to add additional value beyond what you were immediately hired.
And the reason why you want to do this is because it’s one of the easiest ways that you can start to build trust with your colleagues, as well as build goodwill with some of the people that you’re going to be working with over time. If, for example, they know that you’ve been able to remove something from their plate, well, the next time that you need to call in a favor and there’ll be more likely to actually do so. And trust me, usually, every single person has something on their plate that you could help them with.
All you need to do is just ask them if there’s anything that you can possibly help them with, or if there’s anything that you could give your opinion on that they might find valuable.
Tip #6: Start to build your reputation as a doer
The goal for you in these first few weeks of starting a new role is to show that you can take something that’s been given to you and not only deliver it, but also give them more than what they asked for.
So if, for example, you’re asked to organize a particular folder or something like that, what you might do is not only organize that folder, but reconsider how you might actually improve the organization going forward with that folder, and then show that to the boss or whoever it is that gave you that task.
But by taking the extra step and by building this sort of reputation of being a doer and being a force of nature, people are going to give you more and more opportunities in the future as well.
A good example of this is back when I was starting my most recent job, I was told to take over our partner program, and instead of just taking over our partner program was just some standard meetings, I not only met with those partners, but I also went ahead and created a jumpstart kid answering all the questions that our partners might have to make it easier for them to start to advocate for our product with their potential networks.
And so by taking that first ask will take you over to our partner program and doing even more than what I was asked for, I was able to not only achieve my own personal goals in terms of my KPIs, but also start demonstrating my value to my team.
Tip #7: Ask borderline too many questions and try to learn fast
Tip number seven for you today is to ask borderline too many questions and try to learn fast. By just being genuinely curious and asking meaningful questions on a regular basis, you’re not only going to solidify your own understanding of your onboarding, but you’re also going to challenged some underlying assumptions that might be had by your team today. Furthermore, by learning fast, you’re going to be able to make your mistakes faster in your onboarding, which means that you’ll be able to start doing things right even faster as well.
So don’t be afraid to ask a lot of questions upfront or find ways that work with the people that you’re working with to ask those questions. For example, a good way to approach this is to batch your questions so that you’re not being super disruptive in somebody’s day, or you might want to just dedicate time during your onboarding to set aside, to ask a batch of questions at once synchronously with somebody if you’re onboarding remotely.
Tip #8: Start mastering your understanding of your customers
The eight tip I give you is to start mastering your understanding of your customers. What I mean by this is it’s really important in your onboarding to start to understand the true, genuine needs and desires of the prospects that you are going to be working with for the foreseeable future at this new company. What this means is A: either talk to a lot of prospects or B: talk to the people that are regularly talking to prospects.
If you don’t have a deep understanding of exactly who you are trying to serve, who your customers typically are, as well as what they’re looking for in solving with your product or service, then you won’t be able to truly help them later on. It’s only by deeply understanding the actual pain points that caused them a lot of stress or anxiety or anger that you can truly create a great offer and also add a ton of value with your product or service.
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