Congratulations on your new job! If you’re excited, that’s good. You want to show up full of energy and excitement. If you’re nervous, that’s understandable. While you probably met some of your colleagues, there will be many new faces and names to learn. You might also be confused about what to expect, scared at the prospect of starting something new, or overwhelmed at figuring out how to be productive from day one. Here are 10 steps to take when starting a new job to ensure you’re productive and successful as quickly as possible:


Start before you start.

Even if you haven’t officially started, you can lay the groundwork for a smooth start before your first day. Contact your manager and see if s/he has any recommendations for how to prepare. Ask for reading material on the company and its products – e.g., annual reports, recent town hall memos, company newsletters. There might be paperwork you can fill out now (e.g., benefits forms, tax forms) to save time on your first day. Most importantly, confirm exactly where and when you should report on your first day. At some companies, new hires start in an orientation, while at others, you go directly to the group that hired you – don’t assume; ask!


Complete any onboarding logistics.

If you report to an HR orientation, you will probably complete your onboarding logistics right then. But if you report first to your manager, you may have to organize your own set-up. This includes HR paperwork (e.g., benefits enrollment, tax forms, proof of work authorization, compliance policy), phone and computer set-up, access to the network, and knowing the key company support functions – IT help desk, HR hotline, company intranet. Ideally the company has an orderly and comprehensive onboarding plan in place, but make a checklist for yourself just in case.

Take a physical tour.

In addition to official paperwork, you also want to attend to your creature comforts so that you can be refreshed throughout the day. Get a tour of the environment and note the location of bathrooms, coffee and water, office supply room, and privacy rooms or conference space where you can steal away for a few moments of quiet time, if you’re otherwise in an open space. Ask for lunch recommendations if you’re not familiar with the neighborhood.


Take an organizational tour.

From your orientation guide or your manager or a colleague, also get a tour of the organizational chart. Know where the major departments are, such as areas you will likely work with and key support functions such as IT, finance and HR. You may not need these groups for a few weeks or months, but by then, you’re not a newbie and people will assume you know where everything is. You’ll be glad you asked for this information early, while you’re still in the honeymoon phase and everyone is happy to answer the basic questions.

Take your manager’s lead.

Whatever plans you have for your first day, follow your manager’s lead. S/he might budget the whole day for you to do paperwork and settle in, and s/he might not have any work assignments for you. Always offer to get started, but don’t push it because you don’t yet know enough about your manager or this workplace to second-guess anyone’s judgment. Just go along enthusiastically.

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