Overcoming On-boarding in a New Work Role

Chris JacksonLast year in mid-December, I began my new role as a Regional Facilitator for Workforce Solutions! My responsibility is to be a motivator, an enthusiast, and a poised and guided “professional talker!” In actuality, my background as a technology trainer/teacher prepared me for this role. The only obstacle was to apply these skills to the non-profit world.

I wanted to come in with a little fluency, but also be able to learn from my peers. This meant that I would have a little time to observe, take notes, and be a “fly on the wall.” At some point though, I needed to let my ship sail on independently and lose the proverbial “trial” period. The usual experience of meeting new people and dealing with a lot of paperwork and new policies is typical in becoming comfortable in an unfamiliar organization.

Below are 3 impactful challenges that I have encountered:

1. Challenges with Expectations

As the new guy, it is normal to want to try to take on too much too soon. Whether it’s to impress a manager and coworkers or that they thought they were expected to. It is important to me, as a human, to prioritize each task in small chucks. As a result, management was very receptive and provided means to help with any parts of the workload. Trying to make a good impression in expectations can be stressful and can actually lead to alienating others instead of building quality relationships.

2. Managing Change

My gut feeling is that I was brought into this organization with the hopes that my experience and insight would help to create change, but the pressure of following through with the change that I had foreseen during the interview process can be stressful. This is where a helpful and experienced team has helped me follow through with my plans for success. Changes are easier to make when you have built strong relationships. Active conversation about the best way to initiate change within the organization and how to manage transition is healthier than passively going from task to task.

3. Navigating the Culture

Of course, nothing is for certain and nothing lasts forever. It is hard to gauge new co-corkers sometimes. However, during my onboarding with Workforce Solutions, my team continues to be supportive. It is important to not waste time when an employee is showing signs of not fitting into the company culture before approaching the problem. There is no easy-fix to make someone “fit-in”; however, acknowledging that a new employee is having issues with the culture and letting them know that you are offering assistance will certainly make it an easier transition. A few questions to ask initially are:

“Our culture can sometimes be tricky for new hires. What feedback have you gotten?”

“Here’s what I know about the culture you came from at _______________, and here is how I see it as different from the culture here. What do you think?”

Conclusion

Whether it’s professional development, training, or onboarding programs, they are designed to create a smooth transition into a new role and/or organization. Large and small companies share the same challenges of this process. It is common for new employees to experience pressures and set-backs during the first few months at a new job. Rather than avoiding issues, approaching them at the first sign by using a simple phrase or two to open a conversation can be the easiest way to solve a challenge before it becomes an issue

Chris Jackson is a Regional Facilitator with Workforce Solutions; traveling throughout the Houston-Galveston region in charge of delivering workshops on interviewing, resume/cover letter writing, labor market data, and job preparation. Prior to joining Workforce Solutions, he worked as an Instructional Technologist and teacher for independent/private schools. Chris holds a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Business from Bethel University; and a Masters of Arts in Education from Freed-Hardeman University.



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