Starting at new job is always daunting. New faces, new responsibilities, new expectations.
And while everyone has their own way of approaching their first week at work, more often than not, a boss will expect certain things of you to ensure you are the right fit for the job — and let’s face it, you’re still on probation.
So to get a handle on what leaders expect of people in a new role, Business Insider asked some CEOs and executives what they want their employees to do in the first week at a new job.
Here’s what they had to say.
I want to see that they've already put some thought into what our challenges are, or where new opportunities lie. Even if they're off in their thinking, I like knowing they are excited about making an impact early on at Invoice2Go.
The number one trait you want to see from any employee is initiative. A proactive approach to their first week in terms of getting to know the staff, understanding the culture and forging ahead with their job role and induction. An employee’s effort and commitment to learning sets the benchmark for their performance moving forward.
Janelle Goulding, CEO of City West Housing, wants all employees to be able to change the paper in the copier.
Everyone that works for me needs to show that they have an understanding of the culture and dynamics of the organisation. They also need to know how to change the paper in the copier!
Dean Ramler, co-founder and CEO of Milan Direct, wants to employees to share the company's passion for its products.
As an online furniture retailer, the one big thing we look for with new team members in their first week of work is a genuine interest and excitement in the furniture products we have curated on the Milan Direct site. Sharing our passion for great design and furniture is important both internally and with our customers, and it is good to see after a full week with us, a knowledge about all our key ranges.
First thing we do with any new team member is get them to experience every aspect of the business. We'll send them out with the driver to do deliveries, get them to meet some of our shops, then get them to order some groceries for the team's lunch so they can put themselves in our customer's shoes.
Christian Mischler, COO and co-founder of HotelQuickly, wants new employees to get up to speed - quickly.
HotelQuickly has a very fast-paced company culture. The speed can at times be overwhelming to new joiners, but we expect them to get up to speed within about one week's time. This entails training sessions with HR, IT, and with the line manager to make sure the new entrant fully understands the different systems that we use, is familiar with the company vision, mission, and core values, as well as knows the key stakeholders within HotelQuickly. After this intro period we expect the employee to start to deliver and become productive.
Sarah Hamilton, CEO and co-founder of Bellabox, wants new employees to have one-on-one meetings without managers.
Meet all of the key staff members in the company to better understand their roles and how you can work together. I don't believe in simply walking into your department without learning more about those around you. These should be one-on-one meetings without the direct manager as it allows for a more informal understanding of the business, plus it shows the new employee that they are important to all staff in the company.
You should also discuss a broad 90 day plan then refine and hone in on KPIs as you move through that plan this should involve becoming more familiar with the business while keeping focus on more specific job roles.
- Ask questions even if they may seem dumb.
- Study up
- Take time to learn about the company's history, vision, mission and values.
- Start relationships with everyone equally. Whether it's the receptionist, your direct manager, the CEO or the cleaner - you will be surprised at how much you enjoy getting to know one as much as the other.
- Speak to strangers in elevators and queues, you will not only meet more people within the business you could find out interesting things about the people you meet!
As a New Zealand based company it is only fitting that all new employees are then given the week to master the Haka and thoroughly confuse all vowels in the English language – 'fush and chups'. At the end of the week, if they have passed the 'kiwi' test, they are presented with an All Blacks jersey and welcomed into the fold.
Andre Eikmeier, co-founder and joint CEO of Vinomofo, wants new employees to come to Friday night drinks.
Friday night drinks. No, seriously - make friends. Connect with people in the team, or be open to people connecting with them. We make sure someone is on board with our vision, and our values, but that's up to us, and we ought to have chosen them because they connect with those things. But it's important someone makes the effort to connect with the people around them. If they're more introverted, that's no problem, others can make the approach, but everybody likes to feel like they're a part of something.
Bevan Nel, managing director in Australia of Helpling, doesn't wants new employees to fit into company norms.
Don’t be too eager to fit into company norms. Become an actual customer and give honest feedback. With this experience in mind and armed with initial knowledge of the internal operations, enquire about why we do things the way we do and come up with suggestions for improvement. We need a multitude of opinions to continually question and assess if what we’re doing is the correct, most effective and efficient way to reach our goals of customer and cleaner satisfaction.
The first week of work for a new employee is about shedding pre-dispositions. They have moved from outside the tent to in. They should no longer be talking about what 'you' (the company) do, but about what 'we' do and are. Some employees get this incredibly quickly (many of the best know about this before they join the company), but some employees remain too long in 'transactional mode'. The deal has been done. There's no time for buyer or seller's regret. It's now time to think about yourself as part of the new tribe.
It is then about learning, about getting up to speed with what your new tribe is all about. Is is also about listening much more than speaking. At the end of the first week every new employee should know the one or two things which truly matter at their new company. They may have been bombarded with values, mission statements and the like, but what is at the core of these things? Hopefully this is the reason they joined the company. I would hope also that at the end of the first week they have identified one practical, small thing they want to achieve that shows they understand this. It will vary by role, but rather than trying to come up with something like a 90 day plan, I am much more concerned that they've started to do something with a small amount of impact. The best way to learn to fish is to start fishing-so start fishing!
Rachael Neumann, managing director of Eventbrite Australia, wants new employees to speak directly to customers - on support calls.
At Eventbrite, our customers are at the heart of everything that we do -- they are the very reason we exist! Therefore, for me, one of the most important activities in a Briteling's first week (that's what we call our team members) is to listen in on customer support calls. Listening to customers calling in gives perspective on what parts of the product they love, what parts they might have trouble with, and instills a customer-centricity and empathy for what organisers are trying to achieve with Eventbrite and with their event overall.
We also have an incredible, award-winning customer support team; hearing how they handle issues, fix problems, and guide customers towards being successful is inspiring to hear. Britelings come away feeling proud of our product and service, and grateful for our customers!
Jonathan Lui, co-founder and chief operating officer of Airtasker, wants new employees to be full of questions.
I want them to ask a lot of questions and challenge as early possible. In doing this I want them to understand the vision of the company and think about how we are going to achieve it together.
Engage and collaborate: Jump in feet first, don’t wait to be given work and take the bull by the horns . If you are employed you ownership over the role. There’s implicit trust implied by your employment so go do right by the company.
A humorous answer is show up! I had a guy accept my job offer with the provision of needing to go to Europe for a month. Four weeks later, he doesn’t show. After two weeks of ringing his mobile and I find out he’s taken a different job... a month ago... weird!
On a more serious note, our culture is based around a mantra of transparency. We are a very open company with regards to our strategy, current financial position, forecasted position and then day-to-day successes and failures. So my goal is to make sure they’re aware and comfortable with this mantra. Their first week, being normally a week of induction and getting to know you sessions, is a great opportunity to begin the awareness and obtain feedback. I guess this means, as a generalisation, that I am looking for them to want to engage in the business not just come to work.
Vicki Warne, Managing Director of AIB Insurance, wants new employees to learn from their designated buddy.
The AIB Insurance Brokers induction process to new staff members is well planned and executed. The new employee is welcomed by the AIB Team Members and the orientation is comprehensive and informative. Members of the management team, a designated buddy, and a trainer are involved in the setting up of the physical and IT resources, including the orientation and training plans for the new employee’s first week of employment.
The purpose of this plan is to assist all new employees to understand, implement and embrace the AIB business model and succeed in their careers.
Darren Rathbone, CEO of Rathbone Wine Group, wants new employees to get an understanding of the business by getting to know the managers and their roles.
This is a timely question for me as I have a new CFO starting on the 3rd of August. In her first week I want her to get a detailed introduction to all the other managers in our organisation, and understand what they do and how they do it. In this case, as it is a finance role, I want her to sit down with each of the senior managers and work through their P&Ls. It is a fast way for her to get and understanding of what the business is doing, what is working and where we can do better.
It also is a good way to get each member of our executive team working with her and for her to get to know the people she is going to be working with. Lastly it gives her an overview of the existing culture. Once she understands the organisation, then she can start influencing and implementing.
Stephanie Christopher, CEO of The Executive Connection, wants new employees to visit a group meeting.
Understanding the business is a key priority for any new staff member at The Executive Connection. Within the first week we ensure they meet the team, our key stakeholders and establish their main accountabilities.
In our organisation, the best way for staff to truly understand what we do early on is to attend one of our professionally facilitated TEC group meetings. It is only by visiting a group meeting that staff can see firsthand the value in what we do, and observe the peer networking and mentoring that supports our members. As a membership organisation, it is very important for our staff to be able to connect with our members.
Nicholas Bath, managing director of the Blue Cow Cheese Company, wants new employees to eat all the cheese.
As a specialty cheese and gourmet food import and distribution business, we love our new staff getting to know our products as soon as possible. That does mean they spend time in the cool rooms (great in summer, not so great in winter). This way they get to handle the amazing varied farmhouse cheeses from around the world. Our business is very tactile, so the more you understand cheese; texture, aromatics and flavour, the better! Then we get them to meet our clients, which vary from cafes, restaurants, hotels and retailers, large and small. Each client is unique and their needs, although similar, require a deft touch. Chefs are creative people so you need to understand them differently to retailers who have a different set of needs. Getting new staff to meet them helps them get a greater appreciation of our business and the needs of our clients. The end of the week, always finishes with a cheese tasting!
We encourage new employees to try yoga in their first week. We run a weekly class; it's a great way to get to know other employees of the company.
Chris Noone, CEO of Collaborate Corporation, wants new employees to provide at least one good insight.
I believe new employees should ask lots of questions as soon as they start into the job. If they aren't, they're not thinking enough about the business and how they can contribute to it. I also want them to provide at least one good insight. It’s often easier to see old problems with fresh eyes and provide a new take on it. If they can’t do that in the first week, they may never do it.
Understand the customer, their needs, their wants and how we as a business serve them. Whether it's a software engineer, a CMO or a data intern, we want new hires to develop an empathetic understanding of what the business does for our customers from week one. The service we provide and the product improvements we try to make are driven by the customer, so understanding them as much as possible from the get go is a huge priority. Ultimately, it's also the most effective and sustainable way to keep employees engaged long term. If we're able to draw a clear link between their day to day function and how their contributions impact the end customer, we can ensure employees are excited about what they do.
David Hickey, area director of Meltwater Australia & New Zealand, wants new employees to absorb as much as they can.
Be open minded, absorb as much as you can like a sponge and immerse yourself in our culture. The first week is a great time to really get to know the business so get stuck in, ask lots of questions, observe your colleagues and enjoy the ride.
Jo Burston, founder and CEO of Inspiring Rare Birds, just wants new employees to feel part of the team.
First week means vision, mission and values alignment. That's about it, other than assuring the person that they are part of a team that trusts, respects and grows together. If the passion exists and the employee ( who I prefer to call my colleague) absolutely embraces my vision within the week, the rest will fall into place. It's also important they feel valued and feel as though they can communicate safely. I get seriously excited by new colleagues and their contribution to future success. I love watching their skill and culture set unpack and become part of the team.
Showing up on time is a great start. Showing you are a good communicator is one of the most critical aspects to working in our team. We are a small team and rely on each other for the business to work seamlessly. Initiative also rates highly on the list. I HATE to micromanage people and my view is that if I have to micromanage you, then you are probably not cut out for the job. I’d prefer to see my team members give it a go and make a mistake than not do anything and not make a mistake. You learn faster and build confidence doing that. I will always reward the effort, not the outcome.
I value team members who push the envelope, challenge the status quo, the processes and things that we are currently working on. It’s very easy to get too ‘close’ to the business and not see things that outsiders would see glaringly obvious.
Finally, someone who is funny, and makes people laugh, goes a long way.
Philip Weinman, CEO and executive chairman at Locomote, wants new employees to put their hand up to help.
Hit the ground running. Be curious and ask a lot of questions. Show that they care about the company and that they're open to learn and contribute. It's great to see someone who is interested in the whole business and just wants to get to work with the team. The first week is all about offering to help on any project people are working on and get to know the culture.
Drew Banks, Head of International at Prezi, wants new employees to introduce themselves to all relevant stakeholders.
I appreciate when new employees introduce themselves to all relevant stakeholders. I doubly appreciate if that introduction includes some sort of tidbit that reveals their understanding of the major issues they were hired to resolve. While this is an obvious intra-company networking tactic, it rarely happens. When it does happen, it shows remarkable initiative and makes a great first impression.
Alec Lynch, founder and CEO of DesignCrowd, wants new employees to be as hands on as quickly as possible.
We like to give new people responsibility immediately and get them hands on as quickly as possible. For example, when we hire a new engineer, we like them to cut their first piece of code and check it in to the live 'production' system in their first week.
Nick Austin, founder and CEO of Divvy Parking, wants new employees to challenge things that don't make sense.
Ask questions, be inquisitive, challenge things that don't make sense, and ask more questions. Get to know the how and the why of the way things are done, and have an opinion. It's always good to have a pair of fresh eyes in the team to bring some new insight and to question why we do things a certain way.
We ask all employees, no matter how senior, to spend time during their first week responding to client service queries.
To understand our business and the problems we solve is to understand our customers.
Lynn Torbert, head of communications at Kounta Head, wants new employees to get stuck into the software.
The first week of work, we really want employees to get a feel of the culture and what we’re all about.
We want our employees to open trial accounts and get to know the software and navigate around. It’s also really important to ask a lot of questions. The first week is really vital. We want to make sure our employees feel comfortable and we want to make sure that mutually we’re a good fit for each other.
We also take on board a lot of feedback on their on-boarding experience and what they would’ve liked to learn more of/less of.
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