While new jobs can be exciting and invigorating, they can also come with a number of stressful challenges.
A new study by staffing firm Accountemps discovered that employees starting new jobs name learning the ropes as their biggest difficulty. Specifically, mastering new processes and procedures tops the list of concerns when joining a new company for 44 percent of employees and 60 percent of managers.
"The first few days and weeks on a job can be both exciting and overwhelming as new hires familiarize themselves with the company's work environment and policies, including any unwritten rules," said Max Messmer, chairman of Accountemps. "Taking full advantage of orientation events and opportunities to meet and interact with colleagues can help smooth the transition."
New employees and managers also saw challenges in getting to know bosses and coworkers, in learning how to use new technology and in fitting into the corporate culture.
"Most companies provide training so employees can get up to speed on formal procedures," Messmer said. "However, it's often more challenging to learn the cultural nuances of the firm, including how people prefer to communicate and collaborate."
Accountemps offers several tips for employees looking for a smooth start to a new job in 2013:
- Clarify expectations: Create a list of goals and responsibilities with your supervisor and establish a timeline for achieving them. Request regular feedback to ensure you're on the right track.
- Find a role model: An experienced team member can provide newcomers with insight on office protocol and performance expectations.
- Watch, listen and learn: Each organization has its own unwritten rules. Observe how top performers approaches problems, and try to emulate their behavior.
- Go out for coffee or lunch: Get to know colleagues in less formal settings to build rapport.
- Travel in different circles: Use orientation and training courses to network with coworkers in other departments. It's an opportunity to learn company jargon, operational practices and values.
- Ask questions: Not asking enough questions is a top mistake new hires make when starting a job. When in doubt, seek clarification.
- Strike a balance: Exude confidence, but don't come across as a know-it-all. Take in all information before suggesting alternatives to current practices.
The study was based on surveys of 420 working adults employed in office environments, along with 1,014 senior managers at U.S. companies with 20 or more employees.