I’d argue the first 90 days in a new role are the most important. You only get one shot at a first impression. And those impressions can last a lifetime, and companies tend to use this time as “Test Run”. You can use this window as a launching pad or time to coast. I hope you don’t coast.
Most people understand when you start a new role there is a huge learning curve. So you won’t be able to provide a ton of value right away. However, people realize the upside is huge if they can get you up to speed fairly quickly. Especially, if you are taking work off of their plates they can be extra motivated to get you up to par.
Not to sound dramatic but the first 90 days can ultimately set the tone with the company. Example, there was a gentleman I worked with and he started before me. It wasn’t long before I learned people would whisper and say things like “oh so and so is lazy” and “He shows up late all the time” etc. Those things may have been true but during my tenure working with him, she seemed to show up at the same time as everyone else and appeared to always do his best. But he was never able to shake that label. It continued to plague his advancement in the company and ultimately led to his dismissal. Not saying this was all due to his initial label but want to share this story with you as a cautionary tale of how labels stick with you.
So how do you prevent yourself from being this gentleman? I think you should show up early and stay late for the first 90 days. I’m not saying you need to show up 2 hours early and say 3 hours later. But be one of the first on your team in the office and one of the last out. Just you physically being there will give the visual of being a hard worker.
With the extra time in the office, hopefully, you can expedite you the onboarding process and get a quick win under your belt. After 90 days if you want to ease up a little you can because your name should be synonymous with hard work. Also, make to always bring your computer home even if you have no intention of using it. Throw it in a corner until the next morning for all I care. Seems like a silly thing but I can assure some managers are aware of who brings home their computers.
You don’t know what don’t you know
One of the most challenging aspects of the new job/role is learning. When you first start, you don’t know what you don’t so people generally will be very understanding. Earlier we mentioned how you probably have an onboarding list of materials. If you don’t start creating your own. However, nothing will drive your new coworkers crazier then you asking lazy questions (Something you could have looked up on your own but don’t or asking the same question over and over.
So how do you not drive coworkers crazy while asking questions? It seems simple but takes notes every time they answer your questions. Anytime they explain a process write out each step to make sure you are doing your best to mitigate having to ask again. Naturally, some things are very complex and will require additional explanation. That should be the outlier, not the norm.
Batch your questions, if possible wait until you have multiple questions and ask them all at once. Also, if your coworkers ask to be prepared to show them your problem-solving skills before asking them. They might want to see your thought process and make sure you have tried before just throwing your hands up and asking for guidance.
Understanding the expectations with your new manager and meeting /exceeding them is huge in during this onboarding period. If there is an onboarding checklist, make sure the deliverables and timelines are clear. Now is not a time to be timid. You both are probably still in the honeymoon phase, so it is important you understand the expectations and path.
A few ways to help ensure you meet /exceed their expectations is to clarify outside of the onboarding checklist what are the KPI (Key Performance Indicators) you are being measured against. Then asking for tangible examples of success stories. If they can’t think of any ask a few questions of this manner
What habits/characteristics did the most successful people have in this role?
What are the biggest obstacles I need to be aware of for this role?
Do you recommend I reach out to anyone internally who could give me some great advice and perspective on the role?
The biggest thing to remember is the first 90 days in a new role is a tremendous opportunity and not one to squander. Show up, work hard, ask thoughtful questions, incorporate the advice and do your best every single day. Good luck my friend!