Friday, November 1, 2013

Workplace Wisdom V...The first day on the job

It’s a great day. It’s no mean task to apply for a job, get an interview call, sail through it, negotiate terms and land the job. The first day at work is a triumphant one.  With high hopes and aspirations, the employee steps into the precincts of a dream world from where he or she can move the earth.  It is up to the employer to turn this enthusiastic resource into an asset. The first step towards this is to make the newcomer feel welcome and wanted from day one. A welcoming and positive attitude should also be a harbinger of things to come.  Many organizations let new employees find their own way, expecting them to take the initiative and right from the word ‘go’ work under their own steam. All more easily said than done. Without being familiar with the organization, its style of functioning and the people around, there is little a new appointee can achieve even if he’s ready to travel in fourth gear. This is where the personnel department plays an important role.
 The new entrant must first be introduced to each colleague with whom he would be allowed to spend some time familiarizing himself with their roles in the organization and vis-à-vis his own. This meeting can play a crucial role in this functioning as it will help him to establish a personal rapport. It is better for him to arrive at his own judgment about his fellow workers rather than be briefed by anyone else who might be biased.
The introduction should be followed by a period of induction. A schedule must be planned for him to spend some time in each department, getting a feel of what’s happening. He should be given as much information as possible so that he gets a comprehensive picture. He must have the right guidelines to follow the information channel, to know whom to go to for a particular type of information. If there are manuals and other literature about the organization they should be made available to him.  On the part of the employee, he should keep his antenna up. Besides the written rules and obvious goings-on, he must silently read between the lines and make mental notes about the people around him, their quirks and behavior.  He himself should generally keep a low profile and not brag about what he did in his last job and how he’s raring to go in the current one. He would be better off without dropping names if he has connections in high places. Instead of trying to impress his colleagues, he should show genuine interest in them. This will win their confidence and in return, will encourage their co-operation.
 Criticism of the organization to be avoided as this will provoke hostility. If the older members of the staff tend to be garrulous about the organization’s faults. It’s a good opportunity to listen and store the information for future reference. No relationship can be cemented without a gestation period. Many hurdles lie between the initiation and acceptance periods on both sides. Once this is understood, the association could very well turn out to be a lasting and mutually satisfying one.