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By Sheryl Smolkin
Any day now a brand new crop of graduates will start full-time jobs. But according to a recent Accountemps Survey, for one in three of the companies doing the hiring, orientation may be nothing more than handing them a security pass and showing them where they sit.
Why is more formal orientation important? Thirty per cent of 150 Canadian HR mangers surveyed said it helps employees better understand the company’s values, guidelines and expectations. Another 30 per cent indicated that it assists workers in preparation for long term success with the organization.
But if there is no one to show you the ropes, you may have to find out what you need to know on your own. Here are a few things you can do to ensure you quickly settle in and become recognized as a valuable member of the team.
Make an appointment with HR: You will probably be given a pile of forms for such tings as direct deposit of your pay and employee benefits. Make an appointment with HR to return the completed forms as soon as possible and bring a list of questions with you about everything from working hours, to pay periods to the performance review process.
Find the IT guy: If you have a desk job you will need your computer and telephone set up right away. The IT guy can not only get you the equipment you require, he can answer questions about any company computer, email, social media or online shopping policies. He may also be able to supply you with you a keyboard tray, a special mouse or other necessary ergonomic equipment.
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Get clear instructions from your boss: Make sure you understand what needs to be done, when the work is due and the priority level of different projects. If there are templates for similar projects or reports, follow them. If it’s an entirely new type of job, sketch out your ideas or give the boss a mock up first to ensure he gets what he wants. Always get feedback on completed work.
Speak up and listen: You were hired because you can do the job and are expected to make a contribution. Don’t hesitate to volunteer or speak up. But also be sensitive to the group dynamics, listen to what your co-workers have to say and defer to them where their suggestions make more sense. After all, they probably have a deeper knowledge of what has worked in the past or has met client needs.
Learn from your mistakes: Everybody makes mistakes. If you never take risks, you’ll never learn. If you got inaccurate information from someone else, take the responsibility for not verifying it. If there was a misunderstanding, clarify the issues so it won’t happen again. Stay late or take home work that has to be done over in order to meet deadlines.
Offer to help the next new hire: Once you have been on the job for a few months, offer to help orient newer employees. Because your memories of what you had to learn the hard way are still fresh in your mind, you may be one of the best people to save the next guy from having to re-invent the wheel.