Part 3: Your first 90 days on the new job

Congratulations! You have made it. Now let’s help you become impactful and thrive the first 90 days in the new job. Take this as a systematic guide to help you hit the ground running. Though during the first three months, people still see themselves as new comers within the organization, the truth is, the first three months are the most critical for both you and the employer. I know 90 days might sound like it is too soon to be knowing whether you made the right choice in joining, however as an HR practitioner I can assure you that it is actually the ideal period to make a culture assessment.

If you have just joined a new organization or in the job market rather, below are tips that can help you thrive and deliver during the first three months on the job.

•          Understand the team make-up

•          Get acquainted with your leaderships thought process

•          Understand who the stakeholders are

•          Do a quick culture scan

•          Understand your deliverables

•          Identify the gaps and quick wins

•          Ask a lot of questions

•          Challenge yourself & Take the lead

•          Bring impactful thoughts and actions forward

Understand the team make-up

There is nothing really major other than to understand how the team is made up. It is important to understand who the influencers are and or why they are. These are usually people whose decisions and impact can sway that of their colleagues. You would notice as you get used to the environment that these people in question also have the management’s ear and confidence. Always remember this extract from George Owell’s Animal Farm, “…All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.”

Get acquainted with your leaderships thought process

Leadership in any organization sets the strategy and influence the strategic direction. It is therefore important to understand where their thinking is and what exactly are they driving. You may or may not be in a position of direct contact or influence, but still, it’s worthwhile to make an effort of understanding what is important to them. It will help you connect with the vision and perhaps influence how you integrate your experience and strength into that vision.

Understand who the stakeholders are

Make time and understand from your colleagues who your stakeholders are and what is it they do for you or you do for them. A lot of us stumble along and try to figure out things by ourselves, when there are people who can make things happen for us or ease the burden. Have a clear understanding of who you are supposed to serve and get in touch to start building those relationships. As a newbie, be ready to tell anyone you meet, how you are finding the organization, because they will ask you.

Do a quick culture scan

Research shows that a staggering 20% of new joiners in organizations leave within the first year of joining. Understanding the culture or ‘modus operandi’ is important to help you thrive in your new role. However, a lot of people may think getting familiar with the organizational culture is not really important. What they do not know though, is that culture plays a vital role in people deciding if they have made the right decision or not to join. Take the time to know how things are done, and either adapt or gradually influence a new direction. Being an abrupt influencer could be ok, but it could also blow up in your face if the recipients are not open or ready for such change. Because they have accepted how they do things to be the only way. They may out of fear or shock reject new ideas.  Until someone points out that the current status quo is dated. It is okay to keep in mind that thing do not just change by themselves, but HOW you implement change is of critical importance.

Understand your deliverables

Now that you have done a broad scan of the environment, leadership and culture, focus a bit more closely and directly to what you need to do. Make sure you get your goals or objectives so you can start understanding the specifics related to you. During the first three months it is important to build or pick up momentum as you transition into a new role. Often people make the mistake to think they can just apply the cheat sheet they used at their previous role.

Identify the gaps and quick wins

One of the benefits of being new, is that there is opportunity to see things from a fresh pair of eyes. Your perspective is completely untainted and you come with renewed energy. It’s therefore easier to spot gaps in the way things are done or what is missing. Since everyone else is caught up in whatever is already going on, use the opportunity to make quick shifts, introduce new ideas and perspectives. This not only as a talker but actually deliver something new that enhances where the team is and ultimately takes it forward. Don’t undermine the way in which your colleagues do things, improve on what they are already working on.  It is always a good idea to demonstrate how you can bring ideas into the current, to make things more effective and efficient.  

Ask a lot of questions

Take this quote from Bill Nye that “Everyone you will ever meet knows something that you don’t know”. The best way to learn especially when you are a newbie is to ask as many question as possible tohelp you understand how and why thing are done the way they are.  Learning happens when you admit that you don’t know or understand. This is more like the process of deciphering so you know how to move forward or what to do next. Don’t assume, but ask.

Challenge yourself & Take the lead

Now that you have a full view of what’s going on, introduced new or different things, it’s time to raise the bar and challenge yourself.  Usually by the second month, you would have made key observations about how, what, when and why. You now need to ‘imprint your DNA’ and solidify your value. Bring ideas or thinking that would not only benefit the immediate department but the entire Business unit or company. Ideas that will be adopted throughout. Align yourself to the right people who can make sure your get a seat at the right table. Earn your place. No need to undercut people, which is an idea a lot of people don’t understand. Push the margins within which you can operate and be heard in the right circles.

Bring impactful thoughts and actions forward

Similar to challenging yourself, also make sure that you clearly articulate what a winning concept look like. Don’t just make noise about what’s going wrong and how it should change, but demonstrate what the concept looks like. For example, if you had a bad on-boarding experience because it’s non-existent, then design one and present it. Speak to people who came at the same time as you and check how their experience was. Use that as your case study about what went wrong and how it can be fixed and how you have already thought it through. Be solution-driven.

1 Comment

  • Posted October 2, 2020 by Nkunga Mi Lusamba stella 0Likes

    Wonderful article, thank you Miriam & team for the exceptional work!

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