10 Tips for New Hires to Start Off on the Right Foot

New Hire Onboarding

Whether you’re just starting at a new company or moving positions to a new department, the quality of your first days and weeks in a new job isn’t solely the responsibility of others. Your new manager has an important job to help you be successful, but there are many things you can do to ensure your mindset and interactions are helping you through a strong start.

Committing to these ten tips before and during onboarding for your new job will reduce stress and create a smooth transition.

1. Learn about the company culture

It’s smart to do your homework on a company before the interview even begins, but after you’ve made it through the process and joined the team, there’s still more to do! If you haven’t already, look over the website thoroughly, watch company videos, and check out employee feedback sites like Glassdoor.

Pay attention and take note of the atmosphere in the office and how people interact with each other. Keen observation will clue you into the current culture climate.

2. Be friendly – smile!

Whether you typically consider yourself very approachable or not, this is a great time to improve in that area. You don’t have to be the most gregarious person in the room, but make sure to look people in the eye and smile to signal you’re open to meeting them and starting a conversation. Those are simple first steps to making friends at work, which could end up being a big determinant of how well you enjoy your job.

3. Make an effort to learn names

Remembering names is not a stellar skill for many people, but when you’re new on the job, there are several reasons to make a big effort to learn the names of your colleagues. It shows a level of professionalism that will leave a great impression when you call someone by name the next time you see them.

There are several tricks you can use, like repeating their name right after they say it, or word association, but the first one is to care. Recognizing that learning names matters is the best way to actually remember them.

4. Stay positive

Whatever stresses are going on in your life right now, don’t make those the focus of your conversations when you start a new job. You don’t want to end up putting your problems onto people who don’t know you yet and haven’t asked to share those burdens. Make an effort to see things in a positive light whether you’re speaking or listening to others.

5. Open up to opportunities

If people ask you to lunch or to join them for a happy hour, go! These are prime opportunities to get to know your coworkers, and you’ll learn a lot that you wouldn’t otherwise learn while at the office. If your schedule doesn’t allow you to say yes in the moment, make plans to go another day that week.

6. Listen more than talk

People will be asking you questions to get to know you, so make sure you return the favor and ask them similar questions in return! Since there’s only one of you and lots of new coworkers, you should be spending a lot more time listening than you are speaking. This is not only true when you’re new on the job – active listening skills are vital to being a great communicator in general.

7. Look for ways to help colleagues

If you’re finding yourself with some downtime in between meetings and training, show your willingness to be a team player by asking your coworkers if there’s anything you can do to help. They may say no, but if they have tasks you’re capable of handling that won’t interfere with your onboarding, start building those relationships by being a great helper!

8. If you don’t know, ask!

You should never feel ashamed to ask questions at work. It may feel like all you do is ask questions, especially when you’re new, but that habit is the foundation of learning.

Pride is a huge barrier to learning if you feel like you should already know how to do something. If you ask someone to help you learn a task, they’ll notice your willingness to learn much more than the fact you didn’t know it before.

9. Show that you’re open to feedback

Your colleagues will recognize that your performance will have room for improvement when you start your new job. In order to see those improvements in your performance, you’ll want to show them you’re open to feedback and criticism. They may be hesitant to give it to you since they don’t know your personality very well yet, so be clear that you want to be told where you can change and improve.

10. Don’t get caught in office politics

If you hear someone venting about a work issue or bad-mouthing a coworker, resist the urge to politely agree or argue about it. You likely don’t know the full story, so your best bet to stay neutral and not get dragged into anything is to plead ignorance and not have a reaction to it at all.

Navigating the waters of a new job can be tricky, but keeping these tips in mind and committing to new relationships with your colleagues will set you on the right path.

View a 1-minute preview of “Starting Your New Job Right ” here:

Make your work more meaningful by getting to know the people around you and building strong relationships.

Training & Development Industry Researcher | Krista researches, analyzes, and writes about the impacts of employee learning on organizations and individuals. She looks at the industry shifts and trends that matter to L&D and HR professionals, and helps them understand how to create better training programs that grow their employees and their business.