I recently started with a new company and when I paused to think about what I learned and what helped me be successful in the first month, here’s what I found:
– Take the time to learn the business. It’s so tempting to just start doing what you know how to do best. I spent my first 2 weeks meeting with the CEO and every VP in the company and compiling all my notes and making sense of them. Not everyone will have this luxury but meet with as many leaders as you can who you’ll be supporting. Reviewing my notes from all of these meetings later helped me see the trends I needed to focus on.
– Jump in! You’ll never know everything you need to, so just get started. Insert yourself in conversations and meetings where decisions are being made. You’ll learn a ton about the business, the culture and how you can contribute. You may get asked questions you don’t know, but that’s okay. Welcome those so you can keep learning.
– Spend a lot of time with your HR team. Weekly update meetings are your best friend. Learn about what your teammates in other areas of HR do, what their strengths are, how you can work together and help them shine.
– Don’t let the to-do list bog you down. I repeat, do not let the to-do list bog you down! It’ll get long. You’ll have a million things you need to review later and did into deeper and understand better. I remember one day I looked at all the notes I took and needed to take a deep breath. A lot of what was on there were minor tasks and details that didn’t need to be addressed immediately. I needed to think logically, remember my goals and prioritize.
– Get the lay of the land with current systems, tools, and vendors. Especially if you’re going to be responsible for their functionality and ROI. Get to know the current state so you can evaluate and determine if you need to suggest changes.
– Don’t schedule too many meetings a day. For me, I found three one-hour meetings a day for the first couple of weeks was a good amount to handle. You’ll be taking in a ton of information, so you’ll need time to digest, think and stay on top of emails throughout the day.
– Create spreadsheet trackers to show successes. Examples include project statuses, job opening statuses, and cost savings. Whatever your role there is meant to do, set up a way that helps you stay focused on that. This will also allow you to show others quickly what you’re working on and the value you’re adding.
– Listen, listen, listen. Be curious, ask questions, try not to assume anything. Educate, deliver. Built rapport and gain trust so people will listen to and accept your ideas.
– Remember people are the most important! Stop and say hi to everyone you see. Introduce yourself to people you haven’t met yet. Let people know why you’re there and how you can help. Help them stay positive and optimistic during times of challenge and change.
Hopefully, your organization has an HR roadmap of projects and priorities based on what will serve the business best. If not, create it so you know where you’re headed and can speak to the business about your purpose and impact. You got this!