From Newbie to Superstar: Excelling First 90 Days

Imagine yourself on your first day of a new job, a whirlwind of mixed emotions swirling in your mind about the new journey. Questions flood your thoughts: Will you fit into the new role? What about team dynamics? How will your manager be? Will you find a new work bestie? Do your skills align with the demands of the role? Statistics reveal that 46% of new hires fail to make it through the probation period, and even before this period ends, 89% of managers can already identify potential failures.

To address these concerns, the well-known concept of the 90-day rule comes into play, offering a window of opportunity for both employers and employees. Throughout these crucial 90 days, employers assess how well the new employee fits the role, evaluate their long-term commitment, and consider various factors. Meanwhile, employees navigate a range of unique yet hopeful experiences in their careers, building new relationships, establishing rapport, and more. However, employees need to recognize that they will be evaluated during this period, which can present challenges as they navigate introductions, absorb information, and adapt to their new environment. Amidst these downsides, there is an upside: employees working with dedication and purpose can transform these 90 days into a win-win situation for both parties. So, how can employees not just survive but thrive in this 90-day journey ?

To assist employees in acing the initial 90 days journey, here’s a roadmap outlining a few noteworthy strategies.

1. Unlearn & Learn the Culture :

When individuals transition to new jobs, they bring with them a wealth of experience from previous positions. However, to successfully fit into the new environment, it is crucial to unlearn old values first and adapt to the new settings, and the first 90 days present an excellent opportunity to enhance productivity and satisfaction in the new role. 87% of employees recognize the need for continuous learning throughout their careers to keep up with changes.

Within the initial three months, employees can engage in cultural training or participate in group meetings designed to enlighten new hires. This allows them to learn core behaviors, observe decision-making processes, and foster team collaboration. By consciously shedding behaviors that no longer serve them in the new environment, employees can absorb work and communication styles and can show their dedication. However, this does not entail abandoning all values, but the one that might act as a blockage to thrive in the new environment.

2. Capitalizing on Strengths :

Newcomers often believe that their skills and performance at work are the sole means to establish their value in the initial months, as employers typically evaluate these aspects. However, solely relying on completing tasks from 9-5 to place a footprint in the initial days, may not yield desirable results. It is crucial for employees to recognize that new job responsibilities require more than just skills and degrees.

Employees need to acknowledge their inherent strengths and learn how to leverage them effectively, making the first 90 days the best time to explore this horizon. By actively participating in widely accessible strengths assessments, employees can gain insights into their distinct abilities and strengths. Armed with this knowledge, they can then diligently enhance and leverage their skills throughout this duration. With this understanding, when newbies present their finest work to managers and colleagues, it fosters trust, promotes collaboration, and establishes a notable presence for employees within the organization.

3. Harness Mentorship Power :

The new job can be intimidating, akin to being the new kid in school, despite having expertise, feeling uneasy due to the unfamiliar aura, new faces, and the absence of a support system. As a result, some employees tend to retreat into their own cocoons to work independently. However, they need to understand that simply completing tasks won’t help them achieve their ambitious goals. To make their first 90-day roadmap a success, they must actively seek guidance, support, and feedback.

This entails engaging with managers and colleagues both formally and informally, fostering understanding, and obtaining valuable guidance. Moreover, employees can venture beyond their immediate circle and reach out to stakeholders, executives, and seniors from different verticals/domains to gain insights into how the organization operates and how they can contribute effectively from the outset. Through this, employees find solace in knowing even seniors have walked in their shoes, benefiting from mentorship. Ultimately, leaving a lasting impression on leaders about their enthusiasm to contribute more than just a 9-to-5 job.

4. Seek Out Cross-Collaboration :

While succeeding in a new job, accomplishing tasks, and building rapport with managers is crucial, the 90-day period encompasses far more than mere task completion. It involves venturing beyond a single domain or department and actively engaging in collaboration with colleagues from different teams. During the initial months, employees can seek ways for cross-collaboration with individuals from various departments, beyond immediate networks.

This starts by keeping an eye out for projects or initiatives that involve multiple stakeholders, via team meetings or project management platforms as information sources. Once a project aligned with their interests is identified, they can ask their managers for participation details, explaining the value they can add. Employees also need to showcase openness to adapt to diverse work styles and opinions. This approach not only demonstrates the employees’ collaborative mindset but also establishes their identity as versatile team members, even in the initial months.

5. Craft a 30-60-90 Day Roadmap :

The concept of proper planning, goal setting, and acting is often heard throughout organizations, aimed at achieving short, mid, and long-term goals. But the approach can also play a good part for employees during their initial journey in a new job, capitalizing on the excitement and fresh mindset that accompanies it. During the first 90 days, employees can create a blueprint with the guidance of their managers outlining short, mid, and long-term goals.

This entails documenting outlined goals, key milestones, and deliverables for each 30-day segment, ensuring clarity and accountability for employees and managers, as employees can track their progress and learn from both successes and setbacks. Similarly, managers gain a better understanding of the employee’s journey and how well they are adapting to the new role. This endeavor not only enables employees to deliver quality work but also allows them to contribute value, creating a presence that others long for.

Always Keep Your 90-Day Master Plan Handy

The phrase “Congratulations, you got a new job” is bound to bring optimism and excitement to many employees, alongside feelings of nervousness, anxiety, and fear. Similarly, organizations, despite evaluating employees through rigorous rounds, will also feel the need to continuously assess employees’ suitability, worth, and the value they bring.

While these feelings and the employer’s perspective cannot be changed, one thing that remains constant is the employee’s desire to perform well. Recognizing the critical nature of the first 90 days, it is beneficial for employees to have a personalized roadmap that outlines what to do during this period. While these strategies are not exhaustive and can be customized based on individual circumstances, the key is to have an excellence-focused mindset to create an impact not only during the first 90 days but throughout the entire journey at the workplace. So, when employees embark on new paths in the future, organizations can recognize the value they brought from the first few months and make efforts to retain them, although the decision ultimately rests with the individual.

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