First 90 Days at a New Job: 11 Tips for Onboarding Success

September 10, 2023

8 min read

First 90 Days at a New Job - 11 Tips for Onboarding Succes

A new job is exciting. It’s a chance for you to start on the right foot and prove they’ve hired the right person. So, we’ve put together some tips on how to make the most of your first 90 days at a new job.

Here’s what we’ll cover:

  1. Have a good attitude.
  2. Understand, set, and manage your expectations.
  3. Learn about the company and your role.
  4. Meet people.
  5. Get organized.
  6. Take initiative.
  7. Set goals.
  8. Deliver results.
  9. Be a team player.
  10. Be adaptable and patient.
  11. Be yourself while committing to growth. (Hint: This just might be the most important tip!)

Now, let’s dive into the details.

Tip #1: Have a Good Attitude

Show your team and manager that you’re excited about the new job. This will help you create a positive impression and make a good start. Here are some practical ways to enjoy and express a good attitude at work:

  • Be on time. Punctuality puts positivity on display. It shows you’re excited to be there and get started.
  • Be open to learning. There will be a lot to learn in your new job, so be open to learning new things. This will contribute to your success in your new role. Learn how developing a growth mindset is a big part of this.
  • Be open to feedback. Be willing to listen to feedback from your manager and team members. This will help you improve your performance and learn from your mistakes.
  • Be helpful. Be willing to help out your team members and be supportive of their efforts. This will show that you’re a team player and that you’re committed to the company’s success.
  • Weather the challenges. Things don’t always go according to plan, but it’s important to stay positive and keep a good attitude. This will help you overcome challenges and achieve your goals. It will also help your coworkers and manager see that you’re reliable.

Check out our detailed discussion on making a good first impression at your new job.

Tip #2: Set, Manage, & Understand Expectations

Your managers and teammates have certain expectations of you. You have expectations of your own. Let’s look at each.

Set & Manage Your Expectations

While you want to go into a new job with positivity—and it’s natural to have high expectations—don’t set your expectations too high. Be realistic about how much you can achieve in the first 90 days at a new job and how much of a change the new job will make in your life. Don’t set yourself up for disappointment, and be ready to adjust your expectations as time goes on.

Be Clear About Others’ Expectations

Ask your manager what their expectations are for you in the first 90 days, and make sure you have clarity. Write them down, and refer to them throughout the 90 days. This will help you focus your efforts and make sure you’re on the right track.

Being clear about the expectations that others have for you is especially important if your job has a trial period, which is likely to be 90 days or within that timeframe. Trials include benchmarks and goals they want you to reach if they’re going to hire you permanently.

Tip #3: Learn About the Organization & Your Role

Take some time to read the organization’s website, annual report, employee handbook, and any other onboarding materials they give you. Get to know its history, mission, values, and products or services. Also, try to understand the culture, including the norms, expectations, and values. Be a keen observer especially during this first 90 days.

One of the best ways to learn about the organization is to talk with other employees, particularly others on your team or those who have (or had) the same role.

Tip #4: Meet People

Take the time to introduce yourself to your team members and other key stakeholders. Get to know their names, roles, and responsibilities. This will help you build relationships and get the support you need to succeed.

Depending on your job, you also might meet clients, suppliers, or partners in other companies. Remember that you’re a representative of your organization. So, show respect and be cooperative.

Tip #5: Get Organized

Get organized early on so that you can easily find the information you need. Make systems your friend. Systems—processes for doing things—are a key aspect of organizing as well as efficiency and consistency.

Your organization will have systems for things such as time tracking, onboarding, payroll, and sales follow-up. Familiarize yourself with the ones that are relevant to you. And, create and document systems for yourself that will help you stay organized. For example, keep emails in a “Pending” folder when the ball is in someone else’s court, and then check on them weekly and decide if you need to send reminders.

Organize your workspace, your digital world, and your time. Set up your workspace to fit your personality, and make it conducive to productivity. Organize folders and files on your computer and email. Create daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, and annual schedules.

Getting and staying organized will help you save time, minimize stress, and get things done. So, make sure it’s a priority during your first 90 days at a new job.

Tip #6: Take Initiative

When you’re new on the job, your manager will give you plenty of assignments. But, it’s important that you also use this period to show that you have initiative. Don’t wait to be told what to do. Be proactive to learn new things and take on new challenges. This will show your manager and teammates that you’re eager to learn and contribute. It also will introduce you to more aspects of the organization and the job that can open up opportunities for you.

Tip #7: Set Goals

Work with your manager to set goals for your first 90 days. Here are some examples of goals you could set:

  • Learn the company’s products or services.
  • Meet your performance benchmarks.
  • Get to know your team members and manager—each one’s name, role, time with the organization, career goals, family relationships, and hobbies.
  • Take on one new project or responsibility.
  • Find a healthy balance between your work and your personal life and health.

Next, let’s look at some best practices for setting goals:

  • Set SMART goals. Your goals should be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound. This will help you stay focused and track your progress.
  • Align your goals with the organization’s goals. This will show that you’re committed to its success and not just your own.
  • Be realistic. Don’t set yourself up for failure. Don’t set your colleagues up for disappointment. As you set goals, keep in mind that you need to deliver on them, so keep them within a reachable range and don’t overpromise.
  • Break down your goals into smaller steps. Aim to achieve one at a time. This will make them seem less daunting and more manageable.
  • Set deadlines. This will help you stay on track.
  • Get accountability. Let your manager and perhaps others know about your goals, and ask them to hold you accountable by asking about your progress along the way. They also can celebrate with you when you achieve!
  • Track your progress. Track your progress so that you can see how you’re doing and make adjustments as needed.
  • Be flexible. Things don’t always go according to plan, so be prepared to adjust your goals as needed.
  • Celebrate your successes. Don’t wait until the end. Do this along the way as you make progress to keep yourself motivated.

Tip #8: Deliver Results

Once you’ve set goals, do your best to deliver on them. This will show your manager that you’re dedicated and capable of meeting expectations. If you ever want to be promoted, show that you can do what’s asked of you if not more.

Let your ability to deliver be a guide for future goals. As time goes on, you’ll get a better handle on what you can manage, and you can adjust your goals accordingly.

Tip #9: Be a Team Player

During your first 90 days at a new job, be willing to help out your team members and be supportive of their efforts. This will show that you’re a team player and that you’re committed, not just to your own success, but also to the success of your organization and colleagues. Treat others the way you want to be treated. Support and root for your teammates. Compete with yourself, not others.

Tip #10: Be Adaptable & Patient

The first 90 days at a new job are, by definition, a time of newness and change. Things don’t always go according to plan, so be prepared to adapt and pivot. Not only will this help you succeed, it will show that you’re a valuable asset to the team who doesn’t get knocked out of commission when the boat gets rocked.

Keep in mind that your first 90 days are a time of transition. Don’t expect to hit on all cylinders at once. You are getting up to speed. You have several weeks to go from zero to 60. So, take time, be patient, and cut yourself some slack. Don’t get discouraged because you don’t know everything right away; no one expects you to. Just keep learning and growing, and you’ll get there.

Tip #11: Be Yourself While Committing to Growth

During your first 90 days at a new job, you’re getting to know your job and your colleagues, and they’re getting to know you. Make sure they’re getting to know the real you. Avoid the bait and switch. Don’t show initiative and deliver on your goals at first—only to lay back after you’re on the job for a while. Don’t act like a cooperative and cheerful team player at the beginning if that’s not the person you’re committed to being for the long haul.

It’s important to be yourself, but it’s also important to commit to personal and professional growth. You shouldn’t be someone you’re not, but you also shouldn’t be someone you don’t want to be. Find that sweet spot where you’re authentically you at the same time you’re authentically pushing and stretching toward an even better you.

Wrapping Up

At the end of your first 90 days, you should have a good understanding of your role, the company, and its culture. You also should have reached some of your goals and built positive relationships with your team and manager. Onward and upward from here!

Check out our detailed discussion about your very first day.

Note: This post was created in partnership with artificial intelligence.


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