Remember the first time you rode a bicycle? Try to recall the flood of emotions, the joy of being able to balance the bike and maneuver it, the anxiety of not crashing down, the fear of not letting your teacher (in most cases a parent, older sibling, or a friend) down and most importantly the sense of achievement. All those memories would be so evident in most of our minds.

Now try to relate those to the experience of starting at a new job. Does anything feel similar? At least some of it? Well, starting at a new job, no matter how many times you’ve done it, is always a new experience. And new experience means, new learnings, most likely new mistakes/blunders.

We had the opportunity to host a workshop recently where we discussed some of the top blunders according to us that new employees tend to make in a new job. We thought of writing an article about it, so it reaches a larger audience.

Through this article we’ve tried to capture and share experiences, learnings, and tips that we think would help all of you when starting a new job.

Based on our experience in the field of Human Resources, we would like to summarize the top 5 blunders that new employees make:

  1. Not learning about the organization, you just joined
  2. Assuming all organizations have the same work culture
  3. Being critical about existing processes/systems/people
  4. Not realizing the need to build support & mentorships
  5. Being a “superhero” as a Manager

Blunder #1: Not learning about the organization, you just joined

Not learning about the organization, you joined is one of the biggest blunders anyone can commit as a new employee. By “learning about the organization”, we mean, knowing “how the organization makes money?”, knowing “who the customers of the organization are”, getting a clear understanding of business priorities and most importantly, “what is expected of you and your role”?

The answer to these questions will allow you to understand what helps the organization grow and thrive. It will also help you get clarity about the expectations from you and the priority of the actions expected of you. Metaphorically speaking, not knowing about these things is as bad as getting on a soccer field to play and not knowing which direction your goal post is located.

Start with the company’s website, social media pages, financial data if publicly available to learn about your organization.

Blunder #2: Assuming all organizations have the same work culture

Every organization has a unique work culture. Never assume that the new organization will be the same as your previous organization or any other organization you know. Take efforts to understand and adjust to the work culture of the new organization. What may have worked somewhere else, may not necessarily work at your new workplace. The company HR can be a good resource to start with while understanding the work culture.

Blunder #3: Being critical about existing processes/systems/people

Don’t start your new job by pointing out errors and gaps at your new workplace. Remember, they hired you so you can fix those gaps.

Do not get into announcing new changes immediately. Create and share a plan. Discuss with your team. Get buy-in from stakeholders first and then get into a phase-wise execution of change.

Never express shock or disappointment with people and processes/systems. This will only hurt and even worse, permanently damage your relationship with your colleagues. Don’t forget, first impressions are lasting impressions.

This may sound easy but is not usually the case – Take time to understand technology like, emails, messengers, time-tracking systems, budgeting systems, etc. before having to say, “It doesn’t work”.

Blunder #4: Not realizing the need to build support & mentorships

It is extremely critical to build relationships of support and mentorship not just above as well as below your role hierarchy. Feel free to reach out to leaders seeking mentorship. Also focus on building a relationship with peers making them allies in your role.

Practice collaboration with respect. Remember, we win big as a team.

Blunder #5: Being a “superhero” as a Manager

This one is especially for those who join in a Managerial / Leadership role. As a manager, do not try to solve all problems on your own. You have a team, empower them.

Also do not try to get all problems solved at once. It will create more chaos than solutions.

Never assume that things will fail without your supervision. Trust your team to do the right thing. Oversee but do not micromanage.

Look beyond transactions. Guide and mentor people to lead.

Empower and enable your team to bring the best out of them.

Finally, remember you are not just a part of the organization but also the organization for anyone who joins after you and people on the outside. Be an Ambassador of Positivity.

Hope you found this article helpful. Wish you the best at your new job.

By: SHRM-Atlanta Volunteer Leaders, Tushar Kad, Human Resources and Learning and Development Leader at Simeio & Ann Buris, Assistant Deputy Commissioner for Human Resources (CHRO) and Ethics Officer for the Georgia Department of Human Services (DHS).