Adapting to a New Company

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New work environments can be intimidating — it’s difficult to find your place in an organization in which everyone but you seems to know the routine. Learning where to go with specific problems and whom to ask for advice can take time, leaving many new hires feeling disconnected while they find their bearings.

During this period of uncertainty, many workers make mistakes that impede their performance. Often, these errors have little to do with an individual’s technical skills.

The most common mistakes involve a misunderstanding of the company’s culture and a failure to ask enough questions, said Diane Domeyer, executive director of OfficeTeam, an administrative staffing service.

Employers understand newbies face a lot of challenges and expect them to be confused, but many new employees fear that asking too many questions will make them look weak, Domeyer said, but in reality, looking for clarity and guidance demonstrates an individual’s desire to succeed.

“In a new organization, people expect there to be a learning curve,” she said. “So, one of the biggest mistakes is to hesitate to ask for what you need. To ask questions, to be communicative and proactive will exhibit a high degree of initiative, self-confidence and commitment to do a good job.”

Frequent conversations with managers and mentors can provide a comfortable forum for addressing individual concerns — new employees should request regular meetings with their supervisors to ensure they stay on track, Domeyer said.

Although this can be uncomfortable for workers on unfamiliar ground, managers will see newbies’ initiative as confirmation they made the right hiring choice, she explained.

If the manager is too busy for regular meetings or is frequently off-site, new hires should ask their supervisor to identify a good mentor or peer who can show them the ropes.

It’s best to allow the supervisor to make those matches because latching on to the wrong co-worker can have detrimental results, Domeyer said.

To ensure a smooth transition into their jobs of their choice, potential new hires should try to understand their job responsibilities, their manager’s expectations and the company culture before they accept a position, Domeyer said — many new employees are unpleasantly surprised by their newly acquired positions because they didn’t dig deep enough during the interview process.

Yet, even if the job isn’t exactly what you expected, it’s important to try to work things out before walking away, Domeyer said. Be patient, give the job time to grow on you and discuss possible solutions with your manager to help you make a positive impact before you move on, she said.

“Do not make those decisions too quickly because, oftentimes, things change as you become more assimilated,” she said. “So, take time in making a decision and make sure that you’ve openly discussed any challenges you have with your direct supervisor so that if there are opportunities to rectify it, that it can be done. Because even if you’re with an organization for a small period of time, you can still make a positive impact and exit gracefully.”

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