How to settle in effectively at a new firm

PUBLISHED DEC ’16

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We’ve all been there – applied for the job, sat through the interview process and eventually turned up to that first day, strolling somewhat into the completely unknown. A million and one questions run through your mind. Will I settle in effectively? Will the job turn out to be exactly what it promised? Will I like the company culture, and will I fit in well as a valued member of the team? These are but few of the questions that spring to mind on someone’s first day in a new role.

The questions are certainly two sided, with the employer heavily invested also; hopeful that the new hire will hit the ground running, make a positive impact and essentially be a success.

According to the Chartered Institute of Personal Development (CIPD) the average wrong hire costs an organisation 2.5 times the annual salary of the employee. Robert Half go even further to break this cost down, illustrating quite clearly how substantial this cost can be.

The hire of an unsuccessful mid-level manager, at a salary level of £42,000, can cost a firm: £28,000 in wasted salary, £1,500 in wasted training costs, £9,730 in recruiting and training of new employees, £9,625 on lost productivity of the new employees, £29,160 on lost productivity of the team as a whole, and £54,000 on staff turnover. All in all, this totals a staggering £123,015 – this is almost three times the initial salary. In short this is extremely expensive, so employers need to get this right!

Risks to the candidate

But what are the risks to the candidates? What is the impact of opting for the wrong role at the wrong firm? The first thing that springs to mind is the time a candidate wastes. Everything from the initial job applications, to physical interviews and introductory tests can be extremely time-consuming and draining – nobody wants to endure this on a regular basis! Or what about the potential damage this wrong role will have on your CV?

Taking a chance on a new position without significant research could be detrimental to your perceived credibility – it could confuse your next employer, leading them to question your judgement, dedication and commitment in the long term.

And what about the financial cost of taking a new role? You need to be savvy and move on at a time that doesn’t put any financial rewards/bonuses at risk. Can you afford to lose a significant bonus in the New Year through a poor career judgement? A useful tip: do your homework and truly weigh up the pros and cons before making such a big decision.

Unfortunately, only time will tell if your decision to take that new position was the correct one – however, here are our six top tips to ensuring an easy transition into your new role…

1. Remain positive & be flexible
Maintaining a positive frame of mind is vitally important when taking that next career move. A fresh start brings with it a number of challenges, which will elicit a number of emotions all at the same time. Find a way to channel these emotions in a productive manner and approach everything from working with new colleagues, to new work systems in the most positive way possible.

You should also be aware that whilst long term strategies aren’t necessarily subject to change, a firms’ working strategies and practices may be. You need to show willingness to adapt and change with your new firm.

2. Embrace company culture & build relationships
Make the office norms your new habits – an interesting concept that mustn’t get confused! Of course, be yourself, but consciously find new ways to embrace and understand your new work environment, your firm’s new methods of doing day-to-day business, and most importantly understanding the people you are working alongside.

Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin Group famously highlighted the importance of employees getting on together to the success of a business, stating that “Colleagues should take care of each other, have fun, celebrate success, learn by failure, look for reasons to praise not criticize, communicate freely and respect each other”.

This is a great attitude and mentality that should be adopted as a new employee in a new firm. You should make it your obligation to meet with, socialise and understand your new colleagues – it will aid the settling process and help in you truly understanding the working culture of your new firm.

A study by leading employee engagement platform ‘TINY pulse’ examined over 40,000 responses from employees at over 300 companies worldwide. Their expansive study found a strong correlation coefficient of 0.92 between employee happiness and their relationships with fellow co-workers/colleagues. The stats don’t lie – make a conscious effort to make this a priority in your early days of starting at a new role.

3. Take appropriate notes
This should comprise a combination of both physical and mental notes from day one. Don’t be afraid to carry around a notebook and pen; be pro-active in noting down important aspects of everything from day-to-day work procedures to work social events and conduct. This can be a useful way of getting to know the roles of fellow colleagues and understanding important company functions.

Likewise, don’t be afraid to ask relevant questions and seek feedback. Only by asking questions, can you dig deeper into the inner workings of a firm and truly understand your role and your colleagues. Many perceive this as a weakness, but it really isn’t – have the confidence to ask questions and offer insight where you feel is appropriate. This is a great opportunity to impress your new employer and add value straight away.

4. Set realistic goals
This requires an honest assessment of yourself, your motivations and your workplace aspirations. By all means start your new position with the upmost optimism, drive and passion – but channel this with realistic ‘SMART Goals’ (goals that are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-Specific). Ensure these targets are realistic and most importantly measurable by your superior in your new firm. If you plan on billing £500,000 by next year, great! But be pro-active in showing your manager/superior your step-by-step action plan of how exactly you propose achieving your goals.

5. Seek out mentorship
Don’t be afraid to seek guidance from a fellow colleague you connect well with. This won’t necessarily happen instantly, but it is sometimes one of the best ways to familiarise yourself with your new role in a new firm. This will require you to be bold, courageous and make contact with established members of the company’s workforce. Best tip to successfully do this, is approach them in a friendly manner – drop them an e-mail or meet them for a coffee in a lunch break – express your interest in learning more about them and their experiences of working there. Most people will be willing to share this knowledge, and who would turn down a free coffee?

According to a study reported by the Huntingdon Post, 79% of Millennials consider mentoring as crucial to their career success. According to Chronus Corporation, over 71% of Fortune 500 companies now offer mentoring programs in some format as they help to reduce overall levels of turnover, they promote growth, and overall help employees to adjust to their new positions.

6. Increase Overall Participation
Don’t limit yourself to your role and your role only. Put yourself out there and offer a helping hand to fellow colleagues, if you have the capacity to do so. Always do more! This helps to build employee relations and will certainly benefit you to progress in the long-term. Showing your willingness to offer a hand, learn new skills and work as a team are key components that work towards workplace success.

These are things you should consider and embrace when beginning your new position. They won’t unfortunately guarantee success; there are a number of factors that will determine success or failure in a given role.

It is important to note that ‘time’ is something that shouldn’t be overlooked when starting a new job. After all, your first 90 days are usually a transitional period allowing you to settle in and find your footing. Settling in certainly takes time and unfortunately can’t be rushed, so try to be patient; things tend to improve over time. According to HR news agency TLNT, one third of new hires end up quitting their job after six months in the position. This is a staggering statistic, and reflects a number of connected factors.

One key thing employers must do from early on is outline clear milestones for new hires to hit/reach. Without such targets the risk of new hires becoming both under-challenged and overwhelmed drastically increases. The famous saying “Time is of the essence” may ring true; but as a new hire you must have a good level of patience, grit and determination to stick it out through that initial settling in period. This will give you the best chance of being a success in your new role.

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