Career Tip: The Secret to Successful Job On-boarding
You’ve been out of work; finally landing that job and excitedly await your first day. You are probably thinking your number one priority is to prove why your new employer made the right choice hiring you. After all, they have been clear – results count. So what do you do about your job on-boarding process?
You are busy laying out your 30-60-90 day plan. You might have worked on branding yourself effectively and have a strategy to hit it hard and quick, showing results quickly. You might even beat all the timelines. It sounds reasonable. Is it the best strategy to ensure your long-term success?
It is easy to focus on results. We can often control results. It might mean putting in some extra hours or require us to become creative with solutions and those who persevere usually do it.
What I am going to tell you might shock you and it is an important career tip. Results are not the most important 90 day measurement.
It is very likely that your career coach, recruiter or new employer will tell you to focus on results. That advice is valid; it is also flawed without adding the most important measurement that is often overlooked. That is why having a clear job on-boarding strategy is important.
What is not obvious and not said by your new company is that they will judge and place greater emphasis on your soft skills. The company will decide how well you fit in their culture and evaluate your approach in developing colleague and boss relationships. Your communication style will play an essential role in how well you jump-start those relationships.
Let me tell you why this is important. If for some reason your employer has a layoff or downsizing, here is the run down on how they will select who is out the door:
- Employees who fail to perform and establish relationships are the first out the door. No question about it, if you are doing both poorly you are expendable.
- Failing to establish relationships will count against you more than missing some results.
- The last to leave are those with strong internal relationships. Often these employees are not the best performers, but they are seen as flexible and team players.
Turning around results is easier than repairing relationships and it factors into the management selection process. Additional resources to meet timelines or expertise can be readily solicited. Rebuilding relationships requires changing communication and behaviors to build trust. That can take too much time or it might be beyond repair.
My career tip for someone new to an organization is to place more weight in relationship building. You cannot lose sight of results; it just can’t be the driving force that causes damage in relationship building.
I have seen more people leave an organization that have met or exceeded results but pissed off too many people. The company will keep you around long enough to get the results and then dissect you out like a cancer. There will be no advocates in the organization to plead your case.
Often this career tip is met with resistance. It may seem like you are wasting valuable time on developing work relationships and not showing your “value”. It is especially difficult for my left-brained dominant clients. Their comfort zone is to work with data, numbers, process, implementation and results. Relationships seem too soft and squishy and they are hard to measure.
When they are met with resistance, panic sets in. That’s when the phone rings asking for help to turn things around. They are often not getting the tangible results because of conflict with their new boss or lack of cooperation with their colleagues. There is fear of failure. There is also hope that it is not too late.