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Are you starting a new job soon, or is finding a new job a 2020 goal? If so, you are probably familiar with the concept of onboarding – or, how your new employer will bring you into the company culture, share policies and procedures, and set you up for success.

It’s certainly nice to be welcomed and taken care of in the first few days of employment. But what I find even more powerful (as a former HR professional) is teaching you (yes, you, the new employee) how to participate in the onboarding process and start taking charge of your career from day one.

Instead of:
Approaching your onboarding experience prepared to (mostly) listen and intake….  

Taking an active role…

1. Start setting goals. Your first day or two of employment is a great time to set goals. It is likely that during your interview you discussed ideas that could make an immediate impact in your new role. Now is the time to expand on those. Challenge yourself to think: What do I want to achieve in the next 30 days? What is a realistic, S.M.A.R.T goal? Then think further out: What is my 90-day goal? What do I want to achieve – and share – in my six-month evaluation?

2. Network with your new colleagues. What is one of – if not the best part – of onboarding? You are a “newbie,” and your fellow co-workers are primed to welcome and get to know you. This is the perfect time to step into networking mode. Develop an elevator pitch to give others a short intro as to who you are and kick-start these conversations. Identify the people you expect to collaborate with most often, especially in other departments. Get to know HR and others who are responsible for transitioning you into the organization. This is a great time to practice introducing yourself to someone cold – and chances are, your advances will be reciprocated.

3. Commit to following through. Acting on your goals is the difference between dreaming about what could be, and seeing it come to fruition. Once your onboarding program is complete, decide what your next step will be: Discussing your goals with your manager? Clarifying a company policy or procedure? Tracking your achievements? Determine what comes next, and make it happen.

Onboarding presents a key opportunity to start building your career at this new company, shaping how others perceive you, and carving out important goals that will make you successful in your new role. Enjoy this exciting time in your career – and make the most of it!


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