How to make an impact in your new job

How do you make an impact in your new job

As the new PM takes up his post, Ernie Richardson explains how he can hit the ground running

By Ernie Richardson

Starting a new job is always a challenge. You have to get used to a new set of relationships, find your way around a new office and learn a whole array of new tasks.

Just to add to the pressure, you’ll probably be eager to make a strong impression on your new colleagues. You’ll want them to think you know what you’re doing, to trust your judgment and, if you’re the boss, respect you from the get go.

So here, on the day Boris Johnson takes over as the country’s Prime Minister, are five things to help you settle into a new role.

1) Take your time

We know how it is. You’re starting a new role and want to have an instant impact. It’s tempting to rush in and make changes, to offer your strong opinions right from the start.

But the experts at Just Recruitment Group Ltd advise taking your time before ringing the changes.

“Get to know the systems already in place,” says the company’s founder and director Jenny Wrightson. “Things are usually done a certain way for a very good reason, and you won’t make any friends by criticising them without fully understanding that hinterland.

“Over time, you’ll certainly be in a position to suggest improvements and to make your presence felt. But for the first month or so, just watch, learn and ponder. There’s plenty of time to influence how things are done once you’re settled into your new role.”

    "One sure-fire way of building rapport with your new colleagues is to seek their advice."  

2) Build relationships

It can be hard to build trust with a new team, so you need to work on establishing strong relationships with colleagues.

Take time to get to know them, ask them about themselves and show an interest in their lives. That will help you establish a rapport, meaning they’re more likely to trust your judgment.

“A box of doughnuts in the staff kitchen can go a long way to helping you build good relationships with new colleagues,” says Just Recruitment business manager Abigail Webb. “But don’t go overboard. If you seem too eager, you may find it alienates people who think you’re too keen to impress.”

3) Ask advice

One sure-fire way of building rapport with your new colleagues is to seek their advice, says Mrs Wrightson.

“Everyone likes to feel as if their opinions matter, as if they have expertise to share. Make a point of asking colleagues for their advice and opinions, even if it’s only in response to simple questions that will help you settle in. If people feel like you value their advice, they’re more likely to let you in. And that’s when you can start working effectively together.”

4) Steady the ship

Whether you’re the first person to hold your new role, or you’ve taken over from someone else, it’s likely there will be a bit of an unsettled atmosphere among colleagues.

“Any change in personnel wrong foots people in the workplace,” explains Tom Knowles, a project manager at Just Recruitment. “People get used to things being a certain way, and a new face takes some getting used to.

“For that reason, it’s worth reassuring people and taking time to find out about the history of your role. If there are wounds that need healing, you’ll need to tread carefully.

Getting other people's ideas builds rapport

“Equally, if people see your appointment as the opportunity for a bright new dawn, you’ll need to manage expectations.”

5) Remember that little things make a big difference

What you wear, how you set up your office, the sincerity with which you speak to colleagues: when you start a new job, everything is scrutinised by those around you.

While it’s important not to over think how you come across, it’s worth being mindful that people will make judgments on the basis of the initial impression you create.

“It’s back to the bringing doughnuts idea,” concludes Jenny Wrightson. “Turn up with a box of treats, a warm smile and an openness to the people around you and you’ll find it much easier to settle in.

“But the main advice is to be yourself. People spot insincerity a mile away. Show them what they’re getting from the outset and you should enjoy a smooth entry into your new working environment.”

Boris, are you listening?

First Published 24 July 2019

© 2019 Just Recruitment Group Ltd

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