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Top tips for adapting to a new workplace

Tracy Luo - 09/03/2015
Top Tips for Adapting to a New Workplace

OK, so you've just started working at a new company. That of course means a new work environment, a new corporate culture, a new group of colleagues, a new boss and new responsibilities—but most of all, new opportunities and challenges.

On your first day in a new job, you're inevitably feeling both excited and a little anxious. If you wish to successfully pass your evaluation period and completely blend into your new environment, you should keep in mind the following pointers:

1. Pay attention during the job introduction

A company's HR department will no doubt provide training for a new employee during their first week on the job. During this training, the HR staff will introduce a series of information concerning the company, such as the company's corporate culture and values, their organisational structure, the scope of their business activities, and their office environment. The purpose of this information is to advertise the company's good side and to make the new employee identify with the company. New employees should take advantage of this introduction in order to become rapidly familiar with the company's background, culture, regulations, work style and relevant departments. This is essential should the new employee wish to swiftly adapt to their new role, complete their new duties to the best of their ability and avoid making minor mistakes that would influence their colleagues' impression of them.

2. Keep quiet and observe

New employees are susceptible to being overly enthusiastic. It is normal that, when we enter a new work environment, we want our abilities to be recognised—however, at times this may lead us to be overly proactive and talkative. At this initial stage, any carelessness may confine you to the periphery of your work team and make it difficult for you to fit in. During your first month in a new company, it's important to be highly observant: instead of talking, just get the job done. Use chats and lunch breaks as an opportunity to assess the true behaviour and values of your work team and discover who keeps the team afloat.

3. Be careful when managing vertical relationships

I previously witnessed a candidate fail their assessment period due to an unharmonious relationship with their subordinates. As a newly arrived boss, this candidate had already squandered their subordinates’hope for a promotion. On top of that, some of the members of the team, who were unexceptional in terms of their abilities but who were nonetheless highly experienced, chose to adopt a critical and even antagonistic attitude in regard to their young new boss. During this initial phase, a new boss should foster their subordinates’strongpoints while at the same time circumventing their weaknesses. The candidate should take advantage of the fact that their new subordinates are familiar with the company's environment and business activities; however, they should avoid prematurely adjusting the team’s structure.

How to adapt to a new superior is a thorny issue. I strongly recommend candidates to develop an understanding of their new boss during the interview process (that is to say, before accepting a job offer) in order to avoid the unfortunate scenario of ending up with a boss whose work habits, personality traits or values are at odds with their own. During your first few weeks within a new company, I would suggest that you reguarly interact with your boss in informal surroundings as a means of understanding their behaviour, their short and long-term expectations—and even their hobbies. Throughout these interactions, you should avoid being excessively self-assertive while at the same time making sure that your boss recognises and appreciates your value.

Tracy Luo's picture
Associate Director | Finance & Accounting Recruitment
+86 21 2287 3126
tluo@morganmckinley.com