This post is a summary of a webinar organised by NUS CFG that I attended on the 8th June 2021. All the pictures and text below were made with reference to the webinar presentation.
First impressions matters everywhere you go! It is important to make sure you are seen in a favourable light by your employer, especially in the first 90 days of your job. Don’t be mistaken that once you have received a job offer, you are safe and secure in your new job. In fact, you have not yet fully passed the company’s evaluation of you. The first 90 days serves as a probation period for the company to access whether they made the right hiring decision and counts towards the on-going evaluation of you after the actual job interview.
90 is a recognised time frame, hence the number.
What are some things you can do before your 1st day?
- Use the SWOT Analysis: Continue to build on your research about the company for conversation starters and small talk with your boss and new teammates.
Look out for the company’s website or online digital footprints to understand more about the company’s happenings.
- Email the supervisor 1 to 2 weeks before your first day of work.
When you join the company
If there is anything you should take away from this post, it would be the 3Cs. Focus on achieving the 3Cs on your first 90 days.
It is important to ask relevant questions that will allow you to understand what are some priorities you should be working on to help the team achieve it’s goals in the first 6 months. This will allow you to score some early wins with low lying fruits.
Ask about the challenges faced by the organisation. Understand the organisation’s pain points as well as goals. Then, in the later months as you are more familiar with the company, look out for opportunities and platforms to create value for the company and track your own progress status.
One of the most common things that fresh graduates often struggle with is learning to clarify priorities. Hence, it is recommended to clarify expectations early and often. Have regular check-ins with your manager (at least 2 times a week) to track your progress and deal with any issues that you face. You can generally classify your work into a matrix consisting of Urgent, Not Urgent in the X-Axis and Important, Not Important in the Y-Axis (as seen below).
The second C is pertaining to making connections with your fellow employees.
It is important to:
- Initiate diverse networks early and establish specific relationships critical to success.
- Engage others by building energy, credibility, and reciprocity to create pull into networks.
Take every task that you are given as a chance for you to build new connections and deepen your knowledge about the people and the company. If you can handle it, you could go the extra mile to ask if your collogues need any help and offer them a helping hand.
The T-shaped approach can be adopted to build new relationships.
3 Concrete Tips
- Offer yourself to help others. Establish a niche for yourself. What are your strengths and offer it up to the team. This will help to build your visibility in the team which is super important.
- Always prepare a short elevator pitch. You want to be memorable and let others remember you. Ideally, you could include your name, job title, a memorable line describing what are your interests, what you are working on and why you are excited about it.
- Always be prepared for meetings or any large formal events. Don’t be caught in a meeting where you have nothing to say. Make use of such opportunities to build visibility. Make sure you always have something to say. To help generate ideas on what you could speak up on, look at a meeting’s objectives. Understand what the boss is trying to achieve, why is there a need for the meeting, how do you fit in? Then, get pass your mental barrier, speak up and contribute meaningful points in the meeting. Overtime, as you speak up more in meetings, more people will come to you.
Demonstrate what value you can bring to the table. First, make it your mission to develop a good relationship with your boss.
- Adapt to your boss’s working style
- Be proactive to clarify expectations and priorities
- Learn what is important to your boss and help him achieve his goals.
During challenging situations, make sure you exhibit the right character. Consider the scenarios below.
Between A and C, it is a matter of preference. The suggested method to adopt would be either A and C OR B and C.
Again, how you respond would depend on the job nature and your company’s culture. In most cases, A and B are acceptable.
The best way to check if you are on track and demonstrate character is to ask for feedback. You could ask for clarifications and examples on how you could improve, then conscientiously make a plan to work on each point raised.
Summary of the 3Cs
Concluding your first 90 Days
Aside from the 3Cs, the main main important point would be to make sure that you are VISIBLE. Clarifying expectations, making connections and ensuring your character is professional in a work setting are to help you gain positive visibility at work so that you are REMEMBERED favourably and will not be passed up for any promotion.
As someone who tend to be more comfortable being a wallflower, it can be a challenge for me. I cannot recount the number of times my cheeks flush and how my voice becomes high pitch whenever i make the effort to speak up in class or when i am speaking in a big group of more than 5 pax. Going forward, it is definitely something i have to work on.