6 tips for successful onboarding

Posted by Amanda Augustine

January 21, 2013 @ 12:00 PM

I landed a new job! Now what do I do?

Onboarding Tip 20130123Today marked the 57th Presidential Inauguration. During the day’s festivities, we saw the President get sworn in and we listened as he addressed the nation and spoke about his plans for the future. Obama is (re-)starting his job as president.

When you think about it, a president’s new term is not much different than an executive beginning a new gig. It’s your first day all over again. After you’ve spent a few weeks meeting with different colleagues and learning the ‘state of the union,’ so to speak, you’ll share your vision for the future. And people will be watching and judging your every move.

We all know how challenging and stressful the job search can be, especially in this job market. You worked hard, aced the interview, and finally (!) landed a job that makes you happy. No more worries, right?

Wrong.

I hate to break it to you, but landing the job is only half the battle. Now it’s time to think about what you need to do to set yourself up for success in the long-run.  Think of your first 90 days on the job as an extension of the interview process. The company is still feeling you out to make sure you’re the right person for the job, and you’re still making sure this is the right place for you. It’s no coincidence that most third-party recruiters don’t get paid out for placing a professional until after they’ve crossed the 90-day mark in their new job.

Below I’ve listed out six tips to use, from the moment you give notice to your current employer through your first few months with your new employer, to ensure a successful onboarding.


Before Your First Day

    • Don’t burn bridges. Whether your job has been a slice of heaven or a personal hell, act the part of the model employee during your final days in the office. Keep all communication (including your resignation letter) professional and thoughtful. Do what you can to ease the transition for the colleagues you’re leaving behind. It’s a small world, and you never know when your paths may cross in the future.

    • Learn more. Before your job begins, continue learning as much as you can about the organization and its industry. Ask for access to information related to your new role, including organizational charts. If possible, set up time to meet with new associates before your start date to get those introductory meetings out of the way.

During Your First Week

    • Make friends. There’s more to know about a company than what you’ll find in the employee handbook. Have ongoing conversations with your manager and colleagues to learn the unofficial rules, company politics and corporate culture. Befriend a co-worker who can help translate the organization’s own terminology and inside jokes so you can quickly get up to speed.

    • Set expectations. Request a meeting with your new manager to learn what is expected of you over the first 30, 60 and 90 days on the job. If you’re successful during these time periods, what will you have learned or accomplished? Use this information to set future goals for yourself. 

Your First Month

    • Demonstrate and document. You discussed your strengths during the interview process – now it’s time to put those skills to work! Take charge of a project you know you can deliver on, and then make sure that you do. Record your job successes as soon as you start your new role. It will make preparing for your annual review and updating your resume that much easier in the future.

    • Find a mentor. Connect with a senior colleague at your organization who you admire. A mentor who’s been with the company for a while will be able to teach you the ins and outs of the place, help you navigate corporate politics, and introduce you to the right people and resources to move your career along.

Starting any new job is going to have its highs and lows. Be prepared to feel a little stupid in those first weeks and get ready to ask a lot of questions. Approach the first 90 days of your new job as an extension of your job search, and utilize these tips to transition into your new role as smoothly and successfully as possible.

Click on the following link to learn more about onboarding

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Amanda Augustine is the Job Search Expert for TheLadders. She provides job search and career guidance for professionals looking to make their next career move. Have a question for Amanda? Submit your question here for a chance to have it answered in her weekly column, and be sure to follow her at @JobSearchAmanda on Twitter and “Like” her on Facebook for up-to-the-minute job-search advice.

Topics: Ask Amanda, Professional Development