This post is all about surviving your first few weeks in a new job and hopefully enjoying it too!
So I know I update you with my round up post for 2017 and my goals for 2018 and a large part of that was my new job which I started in early December. My new role is basically the same as my last one – area manager for a retail business but this new role is more responsibility, covering a larger area and in job terms, a promotion from the last role.
However, it isn’t easy to start a new job – you have to meet a lot of new people, learn the company’s core values and methods of working & basically “fit” yourself into an already well oiled machine.
So that got me thinking – how do you survive your first week in a new job? So this post isn’t about me knowing all about the corporate world and your job may differ from mine. These tips will also carry you through the first few weeks, not just the initial week itself.
While some of these may be more suited to retail/area management, the majority can be used in any role!
It’s okay not to know things
When starting a new role, you aren’t going to know anything. In my case, I made the move from bakery products to shoes. I know I love shoes, I have many pairs but selling them and merchandising them and training others to do so is something I am going to have to learn over time. You can’t know everything in your first week – you just need to absorb as much as possible and learn the rest over time. In my new role, I am line manager to hundreds of staff so being asked questions that I may not know the answer to is definitely going to happen. So phrases like, “let me think about that and I will get back to you” or “I’m busy at the moment so will get back to you shortly” will help you out in this situation. It will build their confidence in you but also give you the valuable time to use your resources and find an answer to the situation. This way, you learn the answers to their questions too, increasing your knowledge of the company and your new role.
Embrace their values & company ethos
Fingers crossed before you took your role, you actually researched the company & used sites such as indeed and glass door to look up previous employee’s testimonials, so you actually do have an idea of what working there will be like. However, integrating yourself into the company is easier if you can relate to these values. During your first few weeks, it will be important to find out how others work, how they dress, what the office culture is like, how they communicate with each other – build up this knowledge and follow suit until you find your own best practice. You can’t completely conform to a company – we still need to be individual and maintain our own values – but tailoring your own to work alongside a company will make the transition even easier.
For me, my new role has exposed me to thirty five branches of the retailer I am working with – all with between 5 and 9 members of staff – so if we take the average of 7 – this is actually 200+ members of store staff that I now need to get to know to be able to do my job properly – their names, their faces, their job role. I also have a full head office of people that I will communicate with on a daily basis, so it is equally important to know what they do, but also a little bit about them to be able to build the rapport. One of the worst things about a new job is that you don’t know anyone. You are constantly introducing yourself & shaking the hands of many new people – many of whom you may not remember. Don’t forget – as well as all of this – your brain is busy learning your new role so names and faces can get a little blurred. This is why you have to build rapport with people – I think that learning something as little as 3 personal facts about someone will enable you to be able to recall a little bit about them. Take the time to build these relationships. You can only make a first impression once.
For instance, one store manager may have three children – one of which hasn’t been well. So the next time you communicate to them – you ask them about their unwell child. This builds your relationship with the person – they know you remember them but you have been able to recall simple facts. Some of the easiest things to remember are family, holidays they have recently been on or events they have been planning on attending.
Take plenty of notes
When learning a new role, your brain can only absorb so much information. I have filled two whole notebooks with basic company info & details of my role, reports I look at as well as a handover for all of my stores. These notes are handy now to look back on – but it also helped clear my mind of a lot of the info that was stored there and made me feel fresher each day. Starting a new job is stressful – lots of things to learn and the pressure is on. You need to make sure you get enough sleep – so making notes before bed of things you have on your mind will help to clear it.
You can also use it to write any questions down as you come across it – I would write a couple of questions each day and then make sure I ticked them off as I went. Often I would get a lot of information through my training files etc. but having the extra notes made a massive difference. Now, seven weeks in I have been able to cross through a lot of my notes as they are stored firmly in my brain – giving me a lot of confidence too.
A great excuse to get some cute new stationary too – did you see my new collection?
Get yourself a buddy
A good company will pair you with a “buddy” for your training. This should be a type of mentor/trainer situation, someone who knows the job inside out and who you can call on when you need something. This person can help you with points 1-4. They can be your person to call on if you need anything, have a question you don’t want to bother your line manager with or as an extra resource. Their experience and knowledge of the company will be invaluable for your transition period and settling in to the new role. Sometimes you need to have a bit of emotional support when you start a new role – particularly if it is a higher level and this person can be the help you need.
A cheeky number six … ENJOY IT!
The best thing about your new job is you have chosen to apply, you have interviewed, you were successful! You were chosen (in this job market probably over hundreds) out of all the applicants – now it’s time to enjoy the fact you did it!
Do you have any new job tips?