Career Advice

5 Tips to Speed Up Your Onboarding Process

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Starting out in a new company is often terrifying. Fortunately, your onboarding stage is your grace period. During this stage, your employers and supervisors will be a bit more lenient and willing to look past some of your mistakes. This is why some people hope that it will last as long as possible.

However, this is a wrong mindset for those planning to go the distance in their careers. 

Why not subvert everyone’s expectations and just storm through your onboarding process? Your employers don’t expect you to be productive anytime soon, so surprising them and doing exactly that will be an incredible boost to your reputation in the company early on. 

Still, how do you do this? 

Well, there are a lot of things you can try, and here are five of them. 

1. Ask questions

A lot of people are too timid when face-to-face with their mentors. They have a question that they’re too afraid to ask, which usually results in making a mistake or having a huge gap in their knowledge early on.

Remember, there are no stupid questions – if you don’t know something, now’s the time to ask.

This will demonstrate that you’re actually engaged in the work process and that you’re actually paying attention to the tasks. When you’re not asking questions, the impression that you’re leaving is that of someone who’s just there to get over with it so that they can grind their 9 to 5 until retirement. In other words, you’re radiating the “don’t ask, don’t tell” energy.

In fact, if your questions are specific and unique, you’ll be seen as someone who’s actually giving the work that they’re about to do some thought.

A word of caution: don’t make suggestions early on. Sure, you may have ideas, but suggesting on your first day that you already have a solution to the problem that they’ve been facing for years will usually come off as smug. Just stay silent for a while and keep that question for later. Who knows, it might dawn on you spontaneously why this would be such a bad idea.

2. Do your homework on the tools they’re using

One of the biggest parts of onboarding is getting you familiar with the tools that they’re using. Most of the time, if you’ve already worked in the industry, you’ll be familiar with your main task. The difference will usually be in the work process, and a big part of this is the platforms that the team uses to manage projects.

In other words, you’ve done that exact job, but instead of submitting it via Basecamp, you’ll now have to submit it on Trello or Monday. The thing is that the majority of these platforms are quite intuitive. In fact, in Techopedia experts’ opinion, any of the top-rated project management tools will be easy to master in a matter of hours (sometimes even minutes). It’s what they’re designed for. 

There’s nothing simpler than just asking a few questions immediately after you get notified that you’re hired. Just ask them what platform they work on and what tool they use for communication (Slack, Skype, etc.), and then look them up. You have a lot of tutorials on YouTube. Just getting familiar with its look and basic layout can make it so much easier to catch on, and you’re not really spending more than a few minutes on the research. 

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3. Figure out the company culture

More often than not, the question of what’s O.K. to do in that particular company would be evident to anyone who spends just a bit of time researching the company culture.

Check out photos and videos from last year’s company event, but don’t just look at people posing. Instead, try to read the room and even delve into the interpretation of subtext. 

Still, you shouldn’t stop at online research.

Ask some of your colleagues what it’s like to work there. Inquire about their experience but make sure to seem genuinely interested and ready to hear even the bad news. Some employees will be afraid to reveal bad sides to someone they don’t know very well. 

Sometimes, even the questions you’re asked during an interview will reveal a thing or two about the company culture.

By figuring this one out, you’ll be able to start acting as a part of the company. An outsider will not be able to tell that you’re a new hire.

In the eyes of your superiors, this will only reinforce the idea that you’re a great fit for their company. 

4. Networking the right way

Sometimes, people may see someone overly enthusiastic as… well, a bit annoying. Sure, we get it. You’ve just gotten your job at the big company, and you want to make friends with everyone but hold your horses for just a bit. 

First, get acquainted with the people that your bosses introduce you to. Your mentors and immediate coworkers. Then, pay attention to the general vibe of the workplace. 

Remember, you’re working with other people, and there’s a lot of practical benefit to people liking you. People who like you will share secrets and reveal tricks to you. They’ll cover for you when you mess something up, tolerate more, and even speak highly of you (sometimes even in front of your superiors).

One thing that could help here is to learn how to network. A book like How to Win Friends And Influence People can help, but you should also look for online courses and workshops.

5. Be ready to learn things on your own

Onboarding is supposed to be quick and just get you up to speed enough so that you can start working. No onboarding process will teach you everything you have to learn about your post and your field of work.

Sure, a company may occasionally send you on a specialist’s course (when you earn it and when they need it), but, generally speaking, your own professional education is your personal responsibility. 

There are so many online courses out there, and paying for one or two can ensure that you master your future tasks far more quickly than you otherwise would.

It’s not just online courses that you can learn from. The concept of microlearning is just as important. Remember when we talked about how you can check out tutorials for project management platforms? Well, you can find most things that are related to your work that you can find online. Just understand that they’re not all applicable, and it’s sometimes a good idea to run things by your mentor before you start applying them.

Also, you have so many online communities out there where you can ask questions (that you’re too ashamed or afraid to ask in the office) and pick up some tips. Showing initiative is never a bad thing.

The pace of onboarding is completely up to you

Take your time, but don’t be naive in assuming that your supervisors aren’t evaluating the pace at which you’re picking up these skills. Sadly, people have biases, and once they develop a habit of seeing you in one light, it will be very hard (near-impossible) to change their minds. So, it’s definitely in your best interest to use this opportunity and ensure that you have a head start. You’ll need it.

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04/19/2024 01:11 am GMT

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