7 onboarding tips for new hires

Employees can help make their transition into a new job go more smoothly by following this advice.
By Sandra Wiley

Effective onboarding of employees is a big deal for organizations of all types. The cost to replace employees can be high, and lack of available talent is a top challenge for businesses. A 2014 survey by Bamboo HR, a consulting firm, showed that 31% of respondents had quit a job within six months of starting.

While the onboarding focus often is on employers, employees can help to ensure success as they start a job. Here are seven ways:

Demonstrate enthusiasm. Before you officially start work, you have the chance to show your excitement and commitment. Take the time to send a written thank-you note to the organization. If human resources sends any pre-work, return it promptly and completely. Nothing says "I am all in" like completing your first assignment well.

Listen and take notes. This seems like a suggestion that you would hear when heading off to class. Well, you are. Your job is a learning experience, and many new things will be thrown at you in a very short time. Taking notes and asking questions are great behaviors in a new team member.

Observe and connect. Take notice of who is in the break room, how they behave with peers, and how they interact with leaders. You can learn a great deal from simple observations, which will provide insight into an organization's culture.

Brand yourself. Who you are in the workforce is not a reputation created by others—you create it. As you enter your new job, you are building your brand. Be intentional and identify how you would like to be perceived by your partners, new manager, team members, and support staff. The choice is yours by the actions you take every day.

Choose your friends wisely. While you are observing individuals, take note of people who are positive and knowledgeable and have proved themselves as great team members. Your alignment with high performers can help set you up for career growth.

Learn about the profession. It is a given that you should learn everything you can about your organization, but you also should take a more global approach, developing new skills and staying up to date on trends in your profession. The world is changing quickly, and the accounting profession is no different. You must continue to increase your knowledge.

Meet with your manager. Your manager should come to you and ask how things are going. However, it is also important that you be proactive. Make a habit of building the relationship with your manager by asking technical questions, connecting on a personal level, and checking in with the person who will help you most as you launch your career.

Sandra Wiley is president of Boomer Consulting in Manhattan, Kan. She is a speaker on topics such as team building, talent development, and performance improvement. To comment on this article, contact senior editor Neil Amato.

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