Over the last few weeks, I got a chance to experience something new. An online-only entry into a new work home, while working from home.
Here are five things that worked well for me.
- Observer opportunities
- Informal get to know people sessions
- An intranet with a few handy pointers
- Old connections in a new world
- Priorities – Where do I begin?
Watch and learn: Or what I call observer opportunities are invaluable. Being the new kid on screen has its pressure to perform. However, being the observer allows the mind to absorb and process. To connect dots. “Ah, so that’s how things are done over here…” I have learned a lot by simply having the opportunity to observe. Creating a cadence of meetings where new people can watch and learn is a great way to induct new talent.
“Welcome aboard”: Impromptu calls from old friends and new within the ecosystem are also great. No real agenda other than getting to know each other or reconnect as the case may be. “Keep an eye on xxx, it’s really important here…” These tiny nuggets of information are invaluable when one is trying to navigate a new world.
Where do I begin? Drinking from the fire hose of intranet information – What’s important? What’s really important? Well, I guess the answer varies depending on who I speak to. What really helped me was one kind soul, who mailed me a set of reading material and said, this will help you understand our capabilities. I now know what I don’t know!
Old connections in a new world: In week one itself I saw the value of old relationships kicking in. As always when preparing for a pitch – the pitch of voices rises. Different points of view, my idea, your idea. Do we go this way or that? In the end, the comfort of a relationship allows for honest opinions to surface. The other thing that worked really well was reaching out to all the other new folks. I had heard at least six other folks being called out as new so an impromptu online catch-up with this gang proved invaluable. We laughed. Shared notes and experiences and generally made each other feel a bit more comfortable – the shared experience of being the new folks, helped us share space.
You get what you measure: The best way to signal to a new employee what is important and what is not? How the organisation measures itself. Having a clear set of metrics that are reviewed and shared transparently and regularly is a great way to set the tone and signal the organisational priorities to new team members.
As I reflect on the first few weeks that have rushed by and look at them with ‘Fresh Eyes’. The ability to see things that are so obvious and yet go unnoticed because “that’s just the way things are done here” is clear. Should I speak out? Should I wait and watch? Listen, learn who is who and what is what? Don’t rush in says one voice. But don’t sit on the side-lines either says another. Keep your eye on the ball, time it right, and then step in and step up. Get engaged. Game on.
In the end, I think it’s pretty simple. How can I be most useful? How can I best be of service? Intent matters. Actions count. How to add to the equation in a value additive way, without adding significantly to the workload of the team? Every minute is precious. Does it make a client feel better? Does a team member think about a challenge in a better way? Does a journalist get access to a story that is aligned with their need? Simple stuff.
Or to put it another way, my online induction has been like a game of KISS and Tell. The one common question set that I asked all the folks I met was… Keep, Improve, Start, Stop.
what should we Keep?
What should we Improve?
What should we Start and
What should we Stop?
With each passing day, I’m learning. I’m listening attentively. There’s no telling what I will do with all the information that I am assimilating and that is the beauty and excitement of a new beginning.
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