This guest blog has been provided by Kevin Sheridan, best-selling author and innovator in the field of Employee Engagement.
Give The Following Short List Guide To Helping Your New Employees Avoid The 10 Most Common Mistakes People Make When Starting A New Job.
We know that starting a new job can be a bit overwhelming, and ultimately, mistakes can made, especially in the first month when you are still getting the “lay of the land.” Furthermore, whether you like it or not, judgements are made about new employees, often very quickly.
So in support of your success here, we give you the top 10 mistakes made by new employees and tips for how you can avoid them:
- Not showing up for work on time.
Arriving late for work sends an immediate negative message and warning sign to your manager and coworkers. A best practice: why not show up early for your first couple of months which will broadcast that you: can be relied on, are eager to enjoy your work accomplishments, and are a team player. Showing up early also affords the opportunity to get to know your new coworkers more quickly, both on a personal and professional level.
- When you isolate yourself and/or are not your real self.
You might be the “new employee on the block,” but it is important to resist the urge of keeping to yourself. It’s very important to proactively get involved as much as possible at the beginning of a new job. By doing so, you will both accelerate your learning curve and getting to know your new coworkers. Be friendly and helpful and let them see the real “you.” Special and meaningful reationships will result.
- Not admitting that you do not know something and/or not asking questions.
Let’s admit it: no one knows everything and we do not expect that a new employee would. Thus, there is absolutely no expectation that you will know everything. There is absolutely no reason for you to prove that you were the right person chosen for the job; you did that during the interview process.
So dive in and ask questions; it’s how you learn. One of the smartest people in history, Albert Einstein, once said: “The day you stop learning is the day you start dying.” Nothing could be more true.
On a related note, seek the advice, answers, and opinions of those who are more experienced; these are your “Go To” coworkers for questions you may have.
- Eschew the negative and avoid the “Gossip Mongerers.”
Bringing positivity to the workplace is an awesome way to assimilate to a new work environment. Make an active effort to avoid negativity and the archtypical malaise at the water cooler. The last thing you want to be labeled as is as one of those actively disengaged employees.
- When you fail to ask your boss how to best communicate with them.
Every boss is different in how they prefer interaction with their employees. So why not ask them up front? Do they prefer email, voicemail, instant-messaging, a weekly meeting, or the always healthy in-person drop by the office interaction? Do not assume that she/he communicates like the others managers you had before. Ask.
- When you take on too much work.
There is an enormous gulf between trying to impress your new coworkers and burning yourself out with work volume. Relax. Rome was not built in a day. It’s much better to focus on work quality, than quantity. After all, the number one reason people quit their jobs is stress/burnout. We want you as an employee for the long term!
- When you ignore corporate culture.
This is a big and very common error on the part of new employees. So rather than fall victim to culture blindness, actively seek to discover the following aspects of your new workplace culture:
- The organization’s beliefs, values, goals, and strategic mission.
- How do things get approved?
- How do people dress?
- What are the office politics? (Often difficult to identify without the help of a trusted coworker or boss).
- What are the unwritten “policies” that you would not find in the employee handbook?
- What are the organization’s policies vis-à-vis social media and the internet?
- How about the policies and expectations regarding personal smart phone use?
- What are the organization’s policies on being able to work remotely as well have flexible work hours?
- What are the absolute “No Nos” of the culture or the acts & behaviors that are highly discouraged?
- What are the most common “roadblocks” to getting things done, as well as the corresponding “workarounds.”
Discovering the answers to these topics will hyper-speed you assimilation to your new work environment, delivering you to likely and profound success.
- When you don’t write things down.
When you start a new job, you are showered with a waterfall of information (new names, boss preferences, tasks, assignments, coworker personal attributes/work preferences work areas, technology, etc.). Writing things down can and will accomplish the following:
- It demonstrates to your new coworkers and boss that you are engaged.
- The written information will serve as a great resource for you going forward.
- You will more easily remember the information. In fact, studies have repeatedly shown that when people write down information or what they learned or were told, they have a much greater likelihood of remembering it if they had written it down.
- When you talk too much about your last job.
You definitely do not want to be the person who is referencing their old job repeatedly. Simply put, the re-hashing of your old job to your new coworkers becomes stale pretty quickly. People might also interpret your remembrances as longing to have your old job back, which is obviously not the message you want to send.
- When you fail to take the initiative or volunteer.
Taking the immediate initiative and quickly volunteering for extra effort are clear signs of employee engagement and send an extremely positive message to your new boss and coworkers.
Start before you start. For example, prior to your first formal day, proactively ask your manager for recommendations on how you can prepare for your first day. Ask for reading materials about the company, its products and services, and employee communications such that you can use to prepare (e.g. notes from town hall meetings, employee newsletters, annual reports, etc.)
Once you have started, be quick to offer suggestions and ways to help others. Seizing any learning and development opportunities that are available is an awesome way to establish yourself as a “go-getter,” as well as accelerate your career and personal growth.
Make it a point to have lunch with your new coworkers, regularly switching it up to meet and get to know new people.
Mentor someone, especially if they are lacking the certain skill sets and expertise that you possess.
Lastly, make it a point to attend ALL town hall meetings and/or Senior Management “Brown Bag” lunches.
Kevin Sheridan is an internationally-recognized Keynote Speaker, a New York Times Best Selling Author, and one of the most sought-after voices in the world on the topic of Employee Engagement. For six years running, he has been honored on Inc. Magazine’s top 100 Leadership Speakers in the world, as well as Inc.’s top 100 experts on Employee Engagement. He was also honored to be named to The Employee Engagement Award’s Top 101 Global Influencers on Employee Engagement of 2017 & 2018.
Having spent thirty years as a high-level Human Capital Management consultant, Kevin has helped some of the world’s largest corporations rebuild a culture that fosters productive engagement, earning him several distinctive awards and honors. Kevin’s premier creation, PEER®, has been consistently recognized as a long-overdue, industry-changing innovation in the field of Employee Engagement. His first book, Building A Magnetic Culture, made six of the best seller lists including The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today. He is also the author of The Virtual Manager, which explores how to most effectively manage remote workers.
Kevin received a Master of Business Administration from the Harvard Business School in 1988, concentrating his degree in Strategy, Human Resources Management, and Organizational Behavior. He is also a serial entrepreneur, having founded and sold three different companies.