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Embracing Your New Workplace Culture

You’ve landed your dream job, the one that all your education and experience has been preparing you for. Your resume was perfect, you aced your interviews, and now Day #1 is looming on your calendar. What’s the best way to approach this new environment? How can you lay the foundation for healthy, productive relationships with your co-workers? Your boss? How can you fit into the culture in your new organization and still be authentically YOU? Before anxiety rears its ugly head, here are some tips to help you approach this new chapter in your professional life.

1) Think of yourself as a student. No matter how awesome your credentials are, you are still a newbie. Just like people, every organization is different, rewarding and rejecting different behaviors and attitudes. Your primary task as a new hire is to learn how be effective in your new workplace culture–so that the skills and knowledge you were hired for can be put to maximum use. Don’t assume anything. Listen hard, ask questions and say “I don’t know,” whenever you are at a loss. Trust your co-workers to help you out. Give yourself at least 6 months of learning curve before you consider yourself “settled” in your new role.

2) Show your team you can be trusted. Your new team may know your resume, but they don’t know how you’ll be to work with. You have to teach them that you’re a team player, that you are reliable, that you’ll go the extra mile for them. Show up to work on time, make sure your tasks are completed on schedule, be transparent about what you need to achieve your goals (even if it feels embarrassing because you’re new). Nothing beats a positive first impression.

3) Focus on communication. Although work always comes first, don’t forget that you’re building relationships that may last for years. Use your strongest communication skills during the initial stages of a new role. Attentive listening is a powerful way to build trust. Avoid sounding defensive or hostile if someone corrects your work–all feedback can be used to improve your performance. Affirm your colleagues when they excel. Take advantage of opportunities to socialize and network as a new team member.

Starting a new job is always a challenge, but getting off to a good start doesn’t have to be. Using these tips will help you establish yourself quickly as a great addition to your new team.