7 ways to ace the first 90 days in your job

The first 90 days in your new job are vital to your success in that company further down the line.

You want to show colleagues that you are capable, willing and friendly so they ultimately trust in your ability and offer you work that helps you go on to bigger and better things.

And it’s essential to form this impression right from the start - once people have developed an opinion of you, however much you might think it’s false, it’s really difficult to change.

This is great if you can prove yourself, but less so if you fail to complete tasks, are disorganised, sloppy with your work, or show a side of your personality that’s less than agreeable.

So what can you do to ensure that your colleagues form the right impression of you?

We’ve 7 easier tips to get you in your stride

1. Get to know people

2. Check in with your line manager regularly

3. Get to know the office culture

4. Assess your strengths and weaknesses in your new role

5. Set up a three-month review

6. Secure an early win

7. Be gentle with yourself

1. Get to know people

You may have received a company structure on starting, but if not, speak to your line manager to find out who is critical to get to know in the company, at all levels. Getting a better understanding of the company and its key players is a great way to learn how the company is run and managed, its key problems, stakeholders and strategy and it will help you perform better at your job in the long run.

Seek people out for a quick chat or a coffee, and ask them what their role is and what projects they have been working on recently. You’ll have to be especially proactive if you are a remote starter, as you don’t have those water-cooler moments to fall back on. Instead, you’ll have to actively seek people out and meet them online.

Get involved with outside activities, such as team lunches or after-work drinks. It may sound like a bit of a slog when all you want to do is curl up in front of the TV in the evening, but getting to know people socially is so important for long-term relationships. It will show that you are interested and excited about the company and that you are a team player.

You might also learn some things that you didn’t know about the organisation or speak to people you might not work with, and serendipitous moments are great from innovation, discoveries or new ideas. 

2. Check in with your line manager regularly

On your first day, check with your line manager to find out how often he or she would like to be contacted and via what method.

In these updates, let them know about your wins and what’s going well, but also tell them if certain aspects aren’t going as smoothly as you hoped. They may have some practical advice for you, or be able to anticipate other problems further down the line which you can smooth out before it gets too much!

After a few weeks, once you feel more settled, you will be able to check in less often. 

3. Get to know the office culture

Before you start telling people what’s what and how things could be done better, more efficiently or completely differently, get to know the office culture.

Listen and learn from the people around you. 

How do they like to work? 

How do they like to get things done? 

How do they like to communicate? 

Come in with an open mind and see how office life plays out.

If you come in too early wanting to make your mark on things, you may have missed out an important piece of information, which can lead to you making AN BIG MISTAKE. 

And that is difficult to rectify. Unfortunately for you, colleagues will remember these mistakes and not put their faith in you when you can deliver, and over time you’ll be less likely to move forward in your career at that company.

4. Assess your strengths and weaknesses in your new role

Knowing where your strengths and weaknesses lie is a great way to develop yourself within the company.

What do you like about the position? 

What do you find easy? 

What do you find difficult? 

What skill do you need to develop to perform at your best on the job? 

To make sure that you don’t completely play to your strengths and what you enjoy in your first three months, create a schedule for yourself of what needs to be done, by what date and how long you anticipate it’s going to take you. You can then create a schedule for yourself that can help you prioritise your actions. 

This means that you don’t leave the hardest things to the last minute when you are not sure how to complete the task and don’t have the time to complete it, which will ultimately lead to you failing to deliver. 

And on the plus side, forcing yourself to take up the challenge means that you’ll be less stressed in completing the task the next time, you’ll get quicker at it and may soon learn to enjoy it. 

You might also find that you need to learn a few more skills in your own time. If you do, our online course guide will help you get started. 

5. Set up a three-month review

You’ll likely have a review after your probation period comes to an end, but use your three months to negotiate what you want to achieve over the next year.

Are there areas of the business that you want to get to know better?

Is there any software that you’d like to learn?

Are there any skills you want to develop?

Setting the agenda for your three-month review is a great way to show that you are committed to furthering your career within the company. You’ll also get a better understanding of how your work has been acknowledged by colleagues, and find out where you are doing well and what needs improvement.

Which you can then go away and work on.

6. Secure an early win

However small it is, for example completing a task before the official deadline, an early win is vital for your success at the company. 

Your first three months are all about trust, and showing that you can deliver promptly is a great way for colleagues to learn to trust you. 

Once you’ve earned their trust you’ll be given bigger and better projects, and you’ll reap the reward of being able to move further up the career ladder more quickly. 

It might be you spend your first three months spending longer on the job than you should (and off the job if you also meet others for social events!) - but remember that it’s only for the first three months.

After the three months and having cemented your reputation, you’ll be able to relax a little (but not too much) so that you complete your work on time and to the high standard you set for yourself. 

7. Be gentle with yourself

Finally, remember that if you do have a day that doesn’t go your way it’s not the end of the world.

Perhaps you are learning a new computer system from scratch, perhaps you don’t know the official processes, perhaps you don’t know where to get help.

Be mindful of the fact that you won’t leap into the role with a few hiccoughs along the way - you will not be expected to know everything.

Good luck in your first 90 days and we can’t wait to see how your career develops beyond that!


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