You might think it’s enough to go to work, do your job, and then go home. But if you want to be successful, to grow within your industry, and climb the corporate ladder, you need to rethink your role as an employee. Employees are not mere cogs in the corporate machine, but rather a integral part of shaping both the culture of an organization, as well as the goods and services it provides. As you begin to navigate your first professional position, here are a few articles to help you make a positive first impression.
Get Started Before You Walk Through the Door
“Even if you haven’t officially started, you can lay the groundwork for a smooth start before your first day. Contact your manager and see if s/he has any recommendations for how to prepare. Ask for reading material on the company and its products – e.g., annual reports, recent “town hall” updates, product or marketing guides. There might be paperwork you can fill out ahead of time online (e.g., benefits forms, tax forms) to save time on your first day. Most importantly, confirm exactly where and when you should report on your first day. At some companies, new hires start in an orientation, while at others, you go directly to the group that hired you – don’t assume; ask!
Don’t Be Afraid to Ask Questions
One great question to ask: “What can I expect…for reviews and evaluations? Speak now or forever hold your peace. Whether or not your manager and company have a formal review policy in place, your first day in the office marks the countdown to your first sit-down to evaluate your performance. “Your new boss and new team might have very different expectations than you think,” Burnham says. Being explicit in asking exactly what those expectations are is the only way you can be sure of meeting them.
If your company has a review process in place, mark the day on your calendar and send an invite to your manager. Burnham says to ask him or her what established competencies are used to measure success—they can just as easily be soft skills as they can be sales targets—and then make it your business to achieve them. If there is no formal or annual review, ask for one. Tell your new boss you’d like to meet again in [two] months’ time to discuss your progress. The failure and success of each employee is absolutely being evaluated, she says, initiating the review is the difference between proactive or being caught off guard.”
Take Ownership in Your Role
“Think as a team member, not an employee. You can’t care and devote yourself fully to something that you don’t consider as yours. We have the same concept in the workplace too. If you decided to take initiative at work, then think about yourself as a team member.
This means that each success, each achievement of the organization is yours as well. Corporate prosperity will lead to your personal prosperity too. As soon as you establish this mindset you will start caring about each detail and dedicating all your efforts to achieving profound outcomes.”