Wednesday, October 19, 2016

How to Excel at Work as a New Employee

There is this usual apprehension when you finally pass the interview, are hired and now resume at your new place of work. You seem not to be sure you will make a good impression and succeed. The first few months are the periods within which to convince your employers if they did make the right choice. Notwithstanding the anxiety, you can actually follow some simple steps that would enable you excel and fit in properly to do the job you were hired for.

Each time I secure a new job, I have had to adopt these steps which have been helpful in enabling me integrate and succeed at the new job role:

1. Before resumption, I usually would draw up a plan of action of what is expected of me and how I will go about carrying out my task. The plan would include asking for my key deliverables along with timelines, as well as setting meetings with all key people in the organisation that would help me understand what goes on and settle in quickly.

2. In the course of the first week of interacting with people at the company, I would try to identify those adjudged to be the best employees. I get close to them in order to find out how they do it and what makes them succeed at their roles. This will enable me know how to also adapt my skill and knowledge to be successful at my role.

3. I do not want to fail my manager or disappoint the interviewers who selected and recommended me for hire, hence, when I sit with my manager, I ensure that the goals for the first 6 months which is my probation period is set in such a way that is clear, measurable and achieveable. In summary, the goals must be SMART – specific, measureable, achieveable, realistic and time-bound.

4. On the first day and in fact throughout the first week of my resumption, I would hold meetings and meetings just to LISTEN, LISTEN and LEARN what goes on at the company. I jokingly tell everyone I come in contact with that I am currently in LISTENING MODE. We all laugh about it, but I am indeed in a LISTENING MODE. Because I do not criticize immediately, it is easy for me to be accepted and trusted. Down the road it becomes easy for me to also gain the other employees' support when I need to introduce changes.

5. I do not relate only with my peers. I ensure that I relate with all irrespective of position and cadre in the organisation. I have been able to get clues of ways to resolve certain issues from employees who one would not expect to have such information. Having a larger network of people to tap information from is key.

6. Considering that you are new, your manager would want to know what is going on. In my current role, I actually do chat with my manager on a weekly basis to update him on what I am working on. I do not have to wait for him to ask me for an update. This enables me to let him know how I am doing and also gives my manager an opportunity to provide me with guidance where necessary to ensure that I succeed.

7. I do not forget the magic word “thank you”. At the end of every conversation and email, I always ensure that I thank the other party for the support and time to discuss with me or share an idea with me. THANK YOU DOES WONDERS!

8. Do not expect to know everything within the first weeks. What works for me is to address the new challenges as I discover them. This will help you not to be overwhelmed with the issues that might come your way.

9. In a new job, everything is URGENT and IMPORTANT. You need to be methodical, so that you are not pulled in all directions. Do not accept all tasks because you want to be nice and accepted by the team. Regular check-in with your manager as I suggested earlier will enable you focus on the IMPORTANT things that will help you succeed in your new role.

10. Yes, you were hired to bring your ideas to bear on opportunities which others might not have noticed or have not been able to harness. Do not rubbish the efforts of others you meet, as you do not know the challenges they might have gone through to get to the level where they are today. Do not show that you know it all. Stay humble, ask questions that would shape and influence the decision of the team you met on ground. As you do this, your expertise would show and they will start consulting you.

11. See the good in everything. Do not be negative, even if the situations seem to suggest otherwise. See the opportunity in every challenge. You might be pushed to the point of frustration with the way things are done. Do not yield to the frustration; see it as opportunity to transform the challenge.

12. As the newbie on the block, most people would want to become your friend and tell you things happening around, and get you to participate in the gossip. Maintain a professional decorum by only listening without taking sides and participating in the gossip. Depending on what you hear, you might want to bring it up with your manager. However, you need to ensure that you do not disclose who said what, else the person or people who spoke with you will see you as a threat and an enemy.

13. Do not get so busy trying to justify your hire and prove that you are indeed the best candidate, that you forget to check if you are on track in achieving your goal for joining the company. Regular self-evaluation should become a norm for you if you are to remain switched-on.

In conclusion, maintain an attitude of excellence and excellence will be yours. I look forward to your comments, observations and questions.


  1. These are practical truths that have worked for me as well. I've also learnt some new attitudes that are paramount to your success as a newbie at work. Thanks Emmanuel for your consistency at enriching lives and giving back to the society.

  2. Thank you E.M. In some cases the Manager/Supervisor may not be a technical person in your area and you find yourself having to set the targets for yourself.E.g Country Director recently hired a Finance Manager, he/she may not be the best person to set targets for that person.

  3. Profound! Great article Emmanuel. This would definitely work for any new employee. Thanks...

  4. This is good thank you so much!!!

  5. A well thought out and insightful piece that is very useful for any new employee. Striving for excellence in the workplace is a must to be successfully so that strict adherence to these principles would surely make the needed impact. It's a pleasure reading your article. Thank you

  6. Great stuff! ���� Thank you for this

  7. Thank you sir for this...I look forward to applying these truths when I find myself in such a situation. But is it okay to bring up stuff that colleagues spoke about with the manager?