30 ways of boosting your sense of belonging at your new job

Posted: 5th March 2024

Starting a new job can be both exciting and anxiety-inducing. Not only do you have lots of new things to learn, but you’ll be meeting lots of new people. Here are 30 things to help you quickly adapt to your new job and coworkers.

Do some research before your first day

You probably did a bunch of research to prepare for your job interview—you should do additional research before starting your new job. Learn whatever you can to be more efficient in your new position. Find out more about the company, its clients, and its culture. This extra research will help you feel more confident in your first few days.

Bring something for taking notes on the first day

Your new office will undoubtedly have a spot with supplies available to all employees, but you should be proactive on your first day. Bring your own note-taking materials. Show that you’re taking your training seriously and that you’re ready for your new role. You could even ask in advance if you need to bring other things for your first day.

Give yourself plenty of time to get ready on the first morning

Taking extra time to get ready on the first morning will help you feel confident and full of energy. Moreover, if you have to take a new route to get to work, you might get lost and arrive late. If you’re working from home, don’t stay in your pyjamas—a good first impression is crucial, even during a video conference.

Arrive early on the first day

Everyone knows that arriving on time is essential. Arriving early, on the other hand, will let you meet new coworkers sooner and give you a few precious minutes around the coffee machine to get to know them. You’ll also have the chance to get your bearings before your official office tour.

Learn the names of your new coworkers quickly

Learning the names of your new coworkers will not only make things easier during training and conversations. Your teammates will appreciate that you’ve already committed their names to memory. Repeat each name as soon as its mentioned to help yourself memorize it, or ask a fellow employee to help you draw a map of the office complete with the names of your colleagues.

Write an introductory email

It might be a good idea to write an introductory email addressed to your department or to the entire company, depending on its size. This way, your coworkers can get to know you faster and discover things they might have in common with you, especially if you’re working from home. Describe your new job, where you’re from, and what you enjoy doing in your free time. Be sure to invite them to pop by and chat with you.

Start personalizing your workspace right away

Whether you’re in an open office, a cubicle, or another type of space, decorating and personalizing your workspace is a good way to express yourself and feel more comfortable. On top of that, livening up your space could serve as a conversation starter with your new coworkers. Just don’t overdo it—a few items will do the trick. If you’re working from home, set up a workspace that is separate from the rest of your home to use exclusively for working.

Be open to social activities in the first few weeks

In the early days, never miss a chance to get to know your coworkers better by taking part in social activities outside the office. Keep your evenings open during the first few weeks of your new job so you’ll be free to join in any activities should they occur.

Suggest social activities to celebrate your arrival

Don’t be afraid to suggest a social gathering if none are planned. Whether it’s a happy hour or something else, your coworkers will be glad you want to spend time with them. If you’re joining a big company, focus on your team to start, but don’t insist if you think that your suggestions don’t jive with the corporate culture.

Take notes

This may seem obvious, but plenty of people don’t do it. Whether it’s information about your position, general information, notes about your coworkers, or how the office works, they will be essential. Taking notes is useful for several reasons—you’ll retain information better, you won’t have to ask the same questions multiple times, and your coworkers will see that you have good organizational skills.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions

If something isn’t clear or you don’t understand the company’s jargon, don’t be afraid to ask questions. Some people won’t due to fear of appearing ignorant, but asking for clarity proves that you want to understand your job better. Your coworkers will be happy to teach you new things as it gives them an opportunity to share their knowledge.

Take the time to have lunch with your new team

Another good opportunity to get to know your new coworkers is, obviously, lunchtime. Make sure you’re not eating alone during the first few weeks. Get together with your new coworkers, whether it’s eating with them at the office or asking them to show you their favourite local restaurant.

Get to know people from other teams

You’ll likely be spending most of your time working within your own team, but you shouldn’t ignore everyone else. You can learn from everyone when starting at a new company, so be sure to check out other departments and get to know the people there, too.

Join a committee or social club

Birds of a feather flock together! Volunteering on a committee or social club is an opportunity to get to know your coworkers in a different context, join a community, and probably make new friends. If none of the committees or clubs interest you, start a new one related to something you enjoy.

Avoid overtime whenever possible

Starting a new job takes a lot of energy. Taking initiative and saying yes to projects shows that you have a good attitude. That said, be sure to work a reasonable number of hours and don’t burn the candle at both ends. You’ll be a better coworker and a more productive employee if you’re well rested.

Set up one-on-one meetings with your coworkers

Meeting your teammates individually is a great way to get to know them better. It’s a good time to ask them things like what they think about the company’s culture or if there are certain relationships between team members that you should know about. You can tell them about your strengths and offer to help. Even if you’re working from home, take the time to call them, or even better, meet them over a video conference.

Be proactive during downtime

You may find you have some downtime during your first few weeks—that’s normal. Try to take advantage of these quiet times to be productive, whether it’s organizing your office or inbox, meeting members of your team individually, or doing some training. You can also ask your coworkers if they need any help.

Celebrate your coworkers’ achievements

When you see that one of your new coworkers has done a great job, be sure you tell them! It’s even better if you mention it in front of other team members to show that you’re a team player and want to support others by pointing out their merits.

Chat with your coworkers

To get to know someone better, you have to talk to them. A great way to start a conversation is to ask questions, whether about weekend plans or favourite TV series. Don’t just ask one question, either. Help the conversation along by showing curiosity and being generous.

Be an active listener

Asking questions is only a first step; you also have to listen to the answers! Make sure you’re alert and attentive when people respond or explain something to you. Ask for more clarity if you don’t understand and observe their body language—it can tell you a lot about the person with whom you’re speaking.

Be sure to communicate well

Whether you’re at the office or working from home, communication is crucial. Pick up the phone when you have important questions rather than sending emails or IMs. During video calls, be as respectful as you would be if the meeting were in person. Don’t make too much noise—put yourself on mute if necessary. Get dressed (not in pyjamas) and don’t waste other people’s time—efficiency is key.

Quickly identify helpful people

Your new coworkers are sources of essential knowledge. During conversations, be on the lookout for who’s the expert in which area and who’s responsible for particular types of activities. Knowing this will be useful, especially if their knowledge is in an area in which you are weak—that way, you’ll know who to turn to when asking for help.

Add your new coworkers on LinkedIn

f you work in a field where LinkedIn is an important tool, connecting with your new coworkers is a good idea. Don’t add everyone all at once—the goal is to connect with people, not collect them. Take the time to read your coworkers’ profiles and learn about their previous education and jobs. You might even have some contacts in common. This information can serve as a great conversation starter.

Avoid gossip as much as possible

Even if you enjoy gossiping with your friends, it’s really not a good way to hit it off with your coworkers. Respecting how your coworkers behave with one another is essential, and it’s normal that not everyone will be friends. Whatever you do, tread lightly and don’t say anything bad about your coworkers.

Don’t hog the spotlight
As a new employee, you’ll already get lots of attention, and that’s normal, but try not to be the centre of attention all the time. Shift the focus back to your coworkers. Attention-seeking behaviour may lead people to think you’re egotistical, and you might even hurt someone’s pride. Be yourself, but be genuinely interested in other people and don’t interrupt someone when they’re speaking.
Stay humble and acknowledge your weaknesses©Shutterstock

In the same vein as the previous suggestion, don’t be a know-it-all. If you want to correct something a coworker has said or if you have some knowledge that others don’t, be humble and mindful of your attitude. You don’t know everything, and you’ll eventually need their help as there’s always something to learn when you start a new job.

Be aware of your environment

At work, as in other parts of the community, it’s important to respect others’ personal space and follow the basic rules of politeness. Keeping your desk clean is important for your productivity, but it’s equally important to keep common areas neat and tidy. Lead by example by washing your dishes in the kitchen. Make fresh coffee for everyone when there’s none left, and don’t leave your personal items all over the place.

Turn off your phone during the workday

Unless you need your smartphone to work or you’re expecting an important call, turn it off and put it away. Not only will notifications, alerts, and vibrations distract you, they can disturb your coworkers and be seen as disrespectful, and never, ever take a personal call during meetings.

Be available to your new coworkers

You were hired by your new company for a reason—clearly they need more help to get the job done. Offer to help your coworkers, even with simpler tasks at first. Your help will be appreciated, and you can use it as an opportunity to familiarize yourself with other aspects of the work that your team does.

Be positive and smile

Maintaining a positive attitude and smiling are indispensable for starting things off on the right foot. Of course, we are all human and have bad days, but smiling is contagious, and you can have a positive impact on your coworkers’ morale by being authentic and in a good mood.

Source: 30 ways of boosting your sense of belonging at your new job (msn.com)

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