first 90 days in a new job

So you’ve landed a great new job. Congratulations! Now it’s time to create a game plan for your first 90 days on the job in your new company.

Realistically, three months is not a lot of time – so don’t go into a new role expecting to move mountains in the first few months. Instead, start small and set the foundations for long-term success. This will serve you better in the long term.

That said, in the business world it’s still valuable to try and secure some early wins: tangible, small goals that showcase your capabilities and demonstrate alignment between yourself and your organisation. These key steps will help you build credibility in your new role and take on new challenges with confidence.

1. Build relationships with key stakeholders

Be prepared to promote yourself and what you do within the organisation. Ideally, your new manager should introduce you to key stakeholders and colleagues. However, the reality is that not every organisation has a clear-cut onboarding process.

This means it’s up to you be proactive in networking and building relationships with your boss, peers and subordinates in the early stages of a new role. Without solid working relationships and mutual respect, finding success will be a challenge.

However, it’s a good idea to try and avoid politics. Remember that you are new and there will be many opportunities to express your opinions as you become more established at the company.

2. Take ownership of your role

The first 90 days of a new job are all about sending the right message and setting standards. It’s vital to take personal responsibility for your own work and your results.

Now is the perfect opportunity to step up and build trust with your team. Show that you ‘own’ your role and are invested in succeeding together. Ask questions and learn from others. As a bonus, the more you listen, the more likely it is that colleagues will open up and provide suggestions or tips on how to perform well in your role, in addition to important business insights that will also help you succeed.

RELATED: How to create effective team players in the workplace

3. Understand your environment before making changes

In most cases, there’s not a lot you can do to reflect change in the first month or so at a new job. Rather, secure early wins by making a positive first impression and gaining the respect required for the position. At this stage, it’s less about reinventing the wheel and more about getting to know the business and company culture and planning the changes you want to make in the future.

Also be open to adapting to new ways of doing things. Be mindful of making any negative assessments too soon, and bear in mind that any process or project you are scrutinising could be the brainchild of one of your new team or key contacts – so tread carefully when being critical. 

4. Be a proverbial sponge 

No matter how experienced or qualified you are for a role, there’s always more to learn when starting a new job. While you want to go in with your best foot forward and show people you know your stuff, it’s equally as important to value the learning process and soak up all the knowledge available to you and learn as much as you can about the business.

Talk to peers, take advantage of learning sessions and even try to find a mentor who’s willing to share their wisdom and help steer you on the right path to success (this doesn't necessarily need to be your new manager).

How to start a new job successfully: Top tips

At the end of your first 90 days in a new role, aim to have:

  • An idea of what you want your new team structure to look like moving forward
  • Strong relationships with key internal players – including seniors, direct reports and co-workers at your level
  • A clear idea of what changes you’d like to make in the coming months
  • Personal goals aligned with your new position and the company's objectives
  • Achieved a number of small wins (team successes matter too)

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