Workplace Transition: How to greet a new employee, be a new employee, and deal with change

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Autumn is the season of change.  Coincidentally, it is also the time for elections, which for many elected officials means change within the workplace. If you are new to a position within the office, or if your office is awaiting a new employee, there are a variety of ways you can address the change so that the transition is as seamless as possible.

If you are the new person:

  1. Get plenty of rest.  You will need to be well-rested so you are at the top of your game during the first transitional weeks.
  2. Say hello.  A little introduction goes a long way. Be sure to introduce yourself to everyone that you may encounter on the daily, from the person at the front door, to vendors and officials you will be working with. This lets people know you are wanting to be part of the team.
  3. Sit back.  Some offices are divided on issues: from their opinions about the future of the organization to their favorite college football team. It is important to remain neutral until you better understand the issues and earn some credibility.  And speaking of credibility…
  4. Make credibility your main focus.  People respect those who earn it.  In the beginning, it is important to establish credibility by making deadlines, keeping promises, listening to your peers and co-workers, and creating good business relationships.  Once you establish credibility, you are more likely to receive support in future endeavors.
  5. Take notes.  Taking notes will not only help you remember the intricacies of your job, it also shows that you are dedicated and serious about learning the ropes.
  6. Be yourself.  It’s a lot easier to remember who you are and where you stand if you are just yourself.
  7. Be confident.  It can be intimidating starting a new job, but remember you were hired or elected for a reason.  If others are confident you can do the job, it’s probably because you can.  Be patient and accept the learning curve.
  8. There’s no “I” in “Team.” Being a team player is crucial.  Especially when in a new job, it is important that no issue be too small to address, and that no job be beneath you.  Do what is asked of you, especially in the beginning. People love to work with others who aren’t afraid to take on any task or challenge.
  9. Create a 30 Day Plan.  Creating a 30 day plan can ground you among the chaos.  It also helps that your supervisor can review this plan and determine what tasks are on track and what your plan is missing.

If the new person is a coworker:

  1. If possible, welcome the new person before they get there.  Sending a short email or card prior to the start date makes the new employee or official feel welcome.
  2. Prepare their office.  You can help with the transition period of a new team member by making sure anything that can be done ahead of time, is.  For example, computer set up, phone and voicemail activation, and calendar set up.
  3. Plan a meet and greet.  An office meeting on the first day of the new person’s job is a great way to help them get to know names and faces. If that is not possible, a quick meet and greet around the office is helpful.
  4. Help eliminate questions.  A prepared employee handbook or sit-down to answer common questions is helpful to a new employee.  For example, common questions include: where the office supplies are, where the bathrooms are located, what the benefits package looks like, how to adjust their workstation, and what the dress code is.
  5. Assign a mentor.  Especially in the first few days, it’s comforting for an employee to have someone they can feel comfortable asking questions to.

A new employee or elected official can be an intimidating transition and cause a lot of internal anxiety.  If your office is going through a change, it is important to know how to address the uncertainty. Here are a few tips inspired from the article “How to Manage Uncertainty in Business” on dealing with uncertainty in the workplace.

Look inside. When dealing with big changes in your office that result in personal challenges, sometimes negativity or even hopelessness can bubble up. A good option is to consider it an opportunity to get to know yourself better. Consider working with a coach or counselor to understand what scares you and why. This will help you let go of negative thoughts and limiting beliefs.

Stay in the moment. Learn to recognize telltale signs that you are in a defensive reaction mode, stuck worrying about the future or hijacked by past fears of inadequacy. Rather than just react, take charge of your situation. Yoga, meditation, or even simply practicing deep cleansing breaths can help you to calm yourself and return to the present moment, where you can be creative and choose actions.

Accept uncertainty. Embrace uncertainty and the unavoidable uncomfortable-ness that comes with it – because the one thing you can count on in life is change!

Practice authenticity.  Ask questions that are important to you. Make requests for things you need. Express your concerns if something doesn’t make sense to you. Stand up for yourself and don’t be steamrolled during a time of uncertainty. This is a time to demonstrate leadership, not weakness.

Reach out.  We all need mentors, advisors, a coach. Share what you are going through with someone committed to your success, and really listen to their advice.

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