Making the Most out of Your New Position

Welcome to Day One of Your New Career!

Starting a new job is exciting as well a little scary. What will your manager be like? How about your co-workers? What will they expect of you?  The best thing you can do for yourself is to relax.

You know you have the talent, skills and the intelligence to be great. Just the fact that you made it through the interview process already says a lot about your abilities and how much the company likes you.  Now is the time for you to demonstrate all you have to offer.

Here are four tips to help you make the most of your new job:

1. Make a great first impression. First impressions are truly lasting. We form judgments as soon as we meet people. To create the right impression, really go above and beyond during your first few days on the job. Be outgoing with your co-workers. Ask lots of questions to understand your duties and your supervisor’s expectations. Take notes. During your first few days, demonstrate that you are really interested in being part of the team and doing a great job.

2. Be yourself. You were hired for the person you are. Don’t try to be anything else. Show your peers that you are genuine and sincere. Show your boss that you’re a professional, and someone who wants to be a team player. Don’t be afraid to speak up and share your expertise. But at the same time, understand that you are the “new kid” and your first goal is to learn.

3. Always be learning. Whether you’re put into a formal training program or expected to learn on the job, your goal should be to get up to speed as quickly as possible. First, get to understand the details of your job duties. If you have questions about what to do, ask. Next, make sure you know your boss’ expectations and how your performance will be measured. And finally, make note of your co-workers and how they interact. One of the biggest challenges of any new job is learning all the corporate norms, so you can truly become part of the team.

4. Assess first, and then prescribe. Once you’ve had a chance to do your work and observe your organization for a while, you can really add some value.  As the new employee, you bring a fresh perspective to the company. But, don’t assume that what you did at a former employer will automatically work in the new culture. And avoid the temptation to say, “We did it this way at my last company.” However, when you spot opportunities for improvement, you may want to offer suggestions to your boss, or simply tell him/her, “I have an idea I’d like to share that might make our team’s work even better.”

And here are three things you should not do on a new job:  

  1. Don’t try to do everything yourself just to prove you can. This will lead to stress and quickly burn you out.  Instead, learn to work with your teammates and make sure they can rely on you.
  2. Don’t be too hard on yourself. It takes time to get up to speed in a new job.  Set small goals each day of things to learn or people to meet.  New situations are innately stressful, so try hard to manage that up front and you can minimize the effect.
  3. Don’t make assumptions. Remember, you are the new person in this culture.  Don’t assume that your way is the right way, that you are being brought on board to solve a problem, or that you have all the answers. Ask questions, absorb the answers and then share your ideas.

Preparation is key to a successful start in a new job. If you would like more tips on how to handle those important first weeks, contact the experts at Helpmates Staffing. We have more than 40 years of experience in coaching employees to long-term career success.

The Job Search Strategy You May Have Forgotten – Cold Calls

If you’ve ever been on the receiving end of an unsolicited call, you know firsthand that it can be annoying.  Someone you don’t know is asking for your time, and usually even more than that.  That is why cold calling, whether it is by telephone or via email, is a difficult art to master.  But it must work when done properly, or it would have died out long ago as an effective method for sales and information gathering.  If it works for them, it can work for you.  But you’ve got to know what you’re doing.

Remember, the call is about them.  It’s not about you.  If you start out the call with all the reasons you are the person he’s been looking for, you’ll lose him.  Turn that idea around and ask about a need or a problem his company may be faced with.  Then explain how you can help solve the problem.  Keeping the focus on the company and how you’ll fill a need is the way to keep his attention and get your message across.

Research first.  It’s a cold call, yes.  But you should not simply call up and ask to speak to someone in HR.  You’ll get nowhere fast.  With a little research you can find out with whom you should be speaking, and ask for that person directly when you call.  Once you have the name of your contact, delve deeper and see what you can find out about her on LinkedIn and other resources to make your conversation more personal and give you an initial connection upon which you can build.

Warm up the trail.  Before you even pick up the phone, try to make connections with these companies via the more benign channels of LinkedIn groups and Twitter feeds.  Find them and follow them.  Comment on and compliment their company posts.  Begin to interact with the companies through the relative safety found online.  These actions let them know you are truly interested in the company and make you less of a stranger.  Hopefully they will remember your name and even begin to enjoy interacting with you, so when you do call or email, it is no longer a cold call.

Make friends in the right places.  Many times, the person you want to speak with will have someone within the company who runs interference for them, screening their calls and only letting approved people through.  You need to get on this list!  By being honest and sincere with the “gatekeeper”, you may just get through.  Put it this way –“I am hoping you can help me.”  Then very briefly explain why you are calling.  Keep in mind, these individuals are usually very hard working and loyal to the people they protect, so remember her name, use it frequently in conjunction with “please” and “thank you” and you should be able to build a valuable rapport.

These can be tricky waters to navigate.  Contact Helpmates and we can steer you through this process and assist you in making some valuable connections to future employment.

A Manager’s Guide to Conducting Performance Reviews

A Manager’s Guide to Conducting Performance Reviews

If you’ve been a manager for any amount of time, you realize that conducting a performance review can sometimes be as stressful for you as it is for the employee being reviewed!  The good news is that it can be an extremely rewarding experience on both sides.

Here are a few tips we’ve learned over the years that may help you conduct your next performance review:

Set the Stage

Before even starting the performance review, make sure the employee understands what is involved.  Ideally, they will know exactly what’s been expected of them over the last year.  But, to help ensure everyone is on the same page, consider creating a worksheet that highlights the specific job duties, expectations, goals, and milestones for the position.  Provide this to the employee well before the review.  Ask the employee to evaluate themselves in each area and come prepared to the performance review.

Keep Good Records

Typically, performance reviews take into account an extended period of performance.  As a manager, be sure to keep good records throughout the year for each of your reports.  Highlight specific successes, areas for improvement, and any requests or pieces of feedback you provided throughout the year.  Before evaluating an employee, be sure to consult your records.  This will help ensure you don’t miss any of the positives or areas for improvement.

If evaluating a long-term employee, review their last performance evaluation.  Pay special attention to the goals and requirements laid out in that review to ensure the employee is making progress.

Be Fair

To make sure all employees get a fair, unbiased evaluation, develop an employee performance appraisal that accurately measures similar guidelines that can transfer across all employee job types and levels. When evaluating several employees that share the same job roles, develop a unique form for that position.

Allow the Employee to Share Their Thoughts

The most effective evaluations are oftentimes full of open communication, not simply one-sided.  Encourage the employee to share their self-evaluations.  Ask what areas they feel they excel in, and what areas need improvement.  If your evaluation doesn’t match their own personal assessment, dig deeper to find out why.

Give Clear Comments

When sharing feedback that the employee needs to improve his or her performance, it should be clear, concise and to the point. Don’t give ambiguous comments or try to be nice. Be honest and professional.

Provide Realistic Goals

Goals should be determined by the type of work performed and be realistic, given the abilities of each individual employee. Carefully set at least one realistic work performance goal with a set time for completion, and be prepared to revisit this goal during the next evaluation period.

Get Buy-In
Before ending the performance review, confirm you have buy-in from the employee.  Ensure they understand what is expected of them, agree the goals set are realistic, and fully understand they will be held to the standards outlined during the review.

Don’t Wait to Provide Feedback
Just because you have set times throughout the year for performance reviews doesn’t mean this is the only time to provide feedback.  When you encounter a problem or something extraordinarily good, use this as a teaching moment.  Provide both positive and constructive feedback.

Check in on Goals
Last but not least, check in frequently.  Make sure employees are working towards the goals outlined during their review.  Confirm they have access to all the tools and resources they need to meet these goals and keep them on track!   

Looking to Hire More Top Performers?

At Helpmates, we specialize in recruiting top-performing employees that outpace their peers.  Contact us today!

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