Before You Start
Timing and Schedule
- Once you have officially accepted the new position, confirm your intended start date and time with your supervisor or human resources representative.
- Inquire about the on-boarding process so that you can be prepared and have an idea of what to expect when you arrive.
- Map the route you intend to take to your new job and plan to arrive ten minutes early. Take into consideration the time of day you will be traveling and typical traffic conditions at that time.
Human Resources Requirements
- Check with a Human Resources representative or supervisor to find out if you need to bring any specific identification or documents.
- If unsure, find out when you are eligible for benefits. Some companies will delay the onset of benefits for a certain period of time after you begin the job. For example, some employers may not offer health insurance until after you have been employed with the company for 30 days. If this is a potential concern, secure health insurance coverage for the duration of the interim.
- Review any benefits information you were provided with and consider asking a human resources representative if you have any questions. Determine whether any action on your part is required to set up or activate any benefit component.
- Explore and get acquainted with any new benefit providers (which company is employer health insurance coverage through, which company manages retirement funds, etc. ). Determine whether you will need to activate any new accounts with these providers.
- Prior to starting the new position, learn more about the role/department/company. Conduct research to ensure you have a solid foundational knowledge about important aspects of the position.
- Check if there is a dress code for the organization. Examine your professional wardrobe and, if you determine there is a need, secure additional and suitable professional attire.
First Day: Onboarding, Orientation, and Training
- Bring only the most critical items with you on the first day as you will likely be moving around to different locations with onboarding and orientation. As you spend time learning about the office culture and policies, you can then decorate your space or bring personal artifacts as appropriate.
- Identify where office supplies are kept and how to ensure you have the needed supplies for your role.
- Take note of needed facilities like communal refrigerator and microwaves, cafeteria, restrooms, etc.
- Keep track of keys or passcodes needed to access your office area and building.
- Set up access to technology such as computer logins, email, voicemail, and other company systems. These are critical for communication so seek out assistance from IT or your supervisor as needed.
Connect with Colleagues
- Identify if there is an organizational chart that shows all the departments in an organization and lines of supervision. If so, keep this accessible so you can refer to it.
- Get to know your colleagues. Take notes on their roles and responsibilities so you can learn how your roles work together and what questions they could assist with.
- Organizations may have professional or social groups such as affinity or employee resource groups, informal sports teams, mentoring programs, etc. Settle into your role before making any commitments, but note what opportunities for networking exist.
- Take extensive notes during training that you can refer to later. Document how to access existing manuals or shared drive information.
- Note knowledge gaps that you have so you can brainstorm ways to address those gaps such as shadowing colleagues, reading documentation or articles, taking additional training courses (company specific or more general such as LinkedIn courses on Microsoft Excel), and seeking out professional development opportunities.
- Determine company procedures so you can smoothly transition into your role and adapt to existing work flow processes.
- Organizations vary widely in what benefits they offer such as health insurance, supplemental insurance (life insurance, vision plan, disability insurance, etc.), retirement benefits, or other incentives (on-site childcare, reimbursement for wellness activities like gym memberships, etc.).
- Benefit information should be addressed so you can understand what options are available to you and choose the appropriate coverage and insurance policies. You often have a limited time after starting your job to enroll in policies for that year, so identify any relevant deadlines.
- Complete paperwork needed so your salary will be distributed to you appropriately.
- Learn about your paid time off (PTO) options such as sick leave, vacation, personal days, holidays, maternity or paternity leave, etc. PTO may accrue as you proceed through the year or you may get access to all of that time right away. Clarify expectations with your supervisor for how to request and document time off.
- Depending on your position, you may need to have access to a company credit card or budgets. Make sure that you thoroughly learn about purchasing policies and restriction as well as reporting and reimbursement procedures. Non-profit organizations may provide you with tax free information required for purchasing.
Tips for Ongoing Success
Create an Organizational System
- Maintain a system to stay organized from the very beginning. Given that this will be a new position for you, there may initially be some uncertainty regarding the pace of work. It is better to be organized and prepared from the start.
- If you’re unclear about any aspect of the job or expectations, reach out to your supervisor for clarity. It is important to have a thorough understanding of your role from the outset of your employment.
- Inquire as necessary to understand your supervisor's management style and the best processes for feedback and project updates.
Learn What Resources Other Colleagues Use
- Inquire with your new co-workers about any notable resources or bookmarks they may frequently use or find helpful. Familiarizing yourself with these resources may assist with a smooth transition.
Set Your Reputation
- Be kind to everyone and set the tone as a responsive professional. It's common that you may need more time initially to complete tasks as you are learning the ins and outs of your position, but acknowledge emails or requests and let them know you will get back to them.
- Observe the office culture to learn about unspoken office norms and communication preferences. For instance, some offices have an open-door policy where colleagues frequently stop by to ask questions in person while others prefer communicating through email and would find drop-ins intrusive.
- As a new hire, listen first and ask questions to gather information. Hold off making a lot of suggestions until you get your bearings – you don’t know what else they have tried or why they chose this particular path.
- To make a good first impression, make sure that you arrive on time and wear appropriate, professional attire. If unsure of the level of formality, think back to your interview and consider the attire of those who interviewed you.
- Maintain professional communication methods and if in doubt, err on the side of formality. Be genuine and be yourself but avoid discussing any highly personal matters with co-workers. Establish a positive, professional working relationship first.
Congratulations on starting your new role! As you move through your professional career, learn about career resources accessible to Webster alumni. If you have questions, reach out to the CPDC at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Stay connected with Webster by getting involved in alumni chapters or networks, mentoring students, and volunteering.