Hey New Guy: How To Fit Into an Established Corporate Culture

You’ve recently landed a job with a fantastic company and you’re eager to get started and excited to show off your creativity, talents and work ethic. Just one problem: the corporate culture of the new company is miles away from where you were with your last job and you have no idea how to adapt. If you’re having difficulty fitting into an established corporate culture, try these 3 things to help make the transition easier.

Take a Step Back and Observe

People often think as new hires, they need to prove themselves on the first day. In many cases, this is one of the worst things you can do. Until you can identify how things work, you should focus on observing. Typically, the first few days at a new job are filled with information gathering – everything from e-mail addresses and passwords, procedure manuals, duties, names and titles. As a new hire, you can choose to take it all in or get overwhelmed. The best thing to do is to sit back and observe. Observation doesn’t mean being lazy – you still need to be enthusiastic and motivated. Just remember that your priority should be to focus on learning everything you can about everything around you.

Connect with the Right People

Through your observations, you should be able to identify those people who will be most useful in helping you do your job. Work on connecting with these people as they comprise the support groups who will help you with your day-to-day activities. While every organization has superstars and top performers, these may not be the people you necessarily need to connect with. It might seem smart from a networking perspective, but it’s actually the people who will help you do your job that will be the best relationships to build. Three weeks in, when you are struggling, you know you have solid connections built that you can call on for help.

Ask Questions…

As a new hire, you need to ask questions. Simple. There is seldom an expectation that you know it all and with a learning curve, people will respect you more for asking questions rather than making assumptions. Don’t just ask the experts or senior leaders. Remember that roles such as assistants and receptionists positions have more knowledge and influence than you know. These are often people whose opinions are well respected and in many ways, can get you the information you need and even get you traction with senior leaders. It’s never a bad policy to seek out answers from all levels of the organization as you will get well-rounded answers and be more informed and prepared to move forward.

Starting a new job can be challenging enough without having to assimilate to a new corporate culture. Before digging yourself in too deep, take a breath, step back and observe. Identify those people around you who will help you do a great job and work at building solid connections with them. Ask plenty of questions, and never forget to mind your manners – you never know where a friendly smile and a handshake can take you.

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