“With the death of the traditional career paths, so goes the kind of traditional professional development previous generations enjoyed. You can no longer count on employer-sponsored training to enhance our communications skills or expand your technical know-how. The expectation for every junior employee is that you can do the job you’ve been hired to do upon arrival or that you’ll learn so quickly you’ll be up to speed within weeks.” ~ Reid Hoffman in The Start-up of YOU.
A fresh grad at new job or a seasoned manager on a career/job transition, transitions and changes can be daunting. To know what is expected and what you must do = empowerment.
In this competitive, fast-paced work environment, getting up to speed is largely dependent on you not your manager or company training.
When joining a new job you must first be aware of your responsibilities and work expectations. Work culture at different organizations differ; management may prefer a certain schedule which can be very different from how you have experienced before – what you must do now is to find out how to begin on a sound note.
Taking a few hours or days to figure out what is expected of you at this job will help you make a lasting impression as well highlight you in management eyes as a diligent worker. A clear understanding of you roles and responsibilities at the new job will go a long way in ensuring present and future success.
Here are some valuable tips that you must know in order to understand what is expected of you at work. Performing up to and beyond expectations and doing it right spells S U C C E S S at workplace.
What are the expectations?
The first step first – what are you required to do at your present job? Of course, the job description outlined it for you and you got a general understanding of your day to day activities during the interview. Now’s the time to break it down from task to task and also understand the bigger picture.
Focus on: What are my manager’s expectations – what are some critical tasks and long-term work projections what I must be aware of?
What you can do – Request a meeting with your supervisor on the day of joining or soon-after to go through the required tasks. You might already have this requirement in place but if not make it a top priority item – being proactive already adds a positive point as a diligent employee.
Expectations are often two-sided. You might have yours; though right now might not be the best time to tell all, but in due time convey the same to your manager. Work is most satisfying when expectations are met from both sides. Employee productivity = company benefits.
What processes or tools can assist me at my tasks
Be aware of the general process, protocols that the team/your supervisor follows in the day to day task completion.
- Are there weekly task reports that must be filled in?
- What are the preferred means of communication within the team? What’s the general protocol around when working in teams?
- When are the team meetings? Would you be expected to initiate or head some meetings?
- What’s the policy on working from home?
- Do I have all software and hardware required to do my job well? What are others using in the team? Slack, Asana, Aha! are a few tools that are making life easier for communication, work delegation and roadmap for daily tasks and planning.
Focus on: What are the processes and procedures in place in the organization, task and team wise?
Know you short-term and long-term assignments
Often the routine gets overwhelmed by current tasks and we fail to see the bigger picture. You might be working solo, heading a team or be a part of the team. Fast deadline schedules and fire-fighting might be the company’s culture; you are smart enough to take care of it all; but be smart enough to find out how it all fits in the bigger picture.
How proactive can you be?
When discussing your present assignments, it pays to find out how your current projects contribute to the bigger picture – your new organizations vision and goals, revenue, and future projections. Your responsibility does not end at delivering your tasks on time and efficiently – try to be aware of the overall organizational goals and vision.
Your upward career progression depends on being a positive contributor to the company’s growth.
Focus on: Other than completing my tasks as expected can I contribute, improve, change or create any present task processes and procedures. Awareness and then a positive contribution are the keys to success.
Define further career benchmarks
Other than defining your current roles and responsibilities also keep an eye on these career builders when joining a new job:
- What additional skills do I need to accomplish my responsibilities in a better way? Is there in-house or external training that would help?
- Know your team; never underestimate the importance of the social angle. Know how your manager works and his/her preferences on the work culture within the team. If you did not know that networking is the key that opens many career doors, it’s the time to know and work on this essential skill.
To know where to go is halfway getting there. To be prepared adds strength. To know the right answers you must first ask the right questions. People want to be asked for advice – asking questions has a two way benefit, you gain knowledge and the other person feels great about helping someone!
Also note that you don’t have to be an expert to be respected by your team, nor does anyone expect you to know it all as soon as possible. Learn to be patient on the new job, to learn to observe and work team dynamics. It’s not all about work but a large part is toward how you can increase your “likability”, soft skills, team coherence and follow the company culture.
Strive to make your new workplace and your new job an excitement and pleasure that you look forward to be with – every single day!
Good luck on your new job and always be ready to question, explore, innovate, suggest and be a supportive team player!