New Employees and Employers

The new school year also heralds the beginning of new jobs and there are a few things I’d like people to consider.

For Employees-

  • If you are unsure how to dress for your new job be more formal, a slacks suit is always good because you can dress it down a little by taking off your coat.  As you see how your colleagues dress you can adjust your work wardrobe according.  Remember that, regardless of the informal dress code where you work, there is a difference between looking polished and looking sloppy.  Always strive to look polished even if your dress code means wearing a t-shirt and jeans.  How people treat you is partially based on how much they subconsciously think you respect yourself.  Show you respect yourself and always putting your best foot forward.
  • Realize that traffic will almost always be against you when you start a new internship or job, leave early and allow for it.  It is better to be early and have to sit and read in your car for half an hour than be late and make a bad impression.
  • Accept the fact that you will have to ask questions and that no matter how hard you try you will make mistakes and someone will correct you, hopefully, in a kind a supporting manner.  When you are corrected remember that everyone goes through this when learning a new skill.  You do not have to feel great about it but accepting the fact that the person correcting you is helping you to become a better worker will help lessen the sting of embarrassment.  You should always acknowledge that you were wrong, thank the person for letting you know, and admit that they saved you from repeating the error in the future. Being willing and able to learn is key to succeeding in every job.
  • Remember that everyone is different.  If you want others to accept you as you are then you must act them for who they are.  There is a difference between acknowledging someone’s differences and respecting them, and putting someone on the spot.  Do not put people on the spot, no one appreciates being treated like their background, lifestyle choice, race, religion, or gender is the most important thing about them.  Many people are happy to share about these things but not everyone is and you shouldn’t assume either way.
  • Always respect your boss, do not start criticizing them, you do not even know them at this point.  Also, remember that no one wants to hear how much you hated xyz place of employment.  If you do that they will wonder if you will say the same thing about them if you leave.  Even if someone does not initially respect you they will appreciate it when you show them respect and a good work ethic.
  • Selling yourself is about being genuine, being open to correction, respecting those around you, and respecting yourself.

For Employers-

  • If your organization requires parking passes, especially paid parking passes which employees have to pay for help your new hire arrange this before their first day on the job whenever possible.
  • Not all jobs allow time for a tour before getting to work but the following places should be shown to new employees regardless of time constraints, the employee break/lunch room and the location of the nearest bathroom.  If possible also introduce them to their co-workers and indicate if who should be contacted with specific questions or requests i.e. office supplies etc.  Keep in mind that people who ask questions when they are unsure instead of assuming tend to make less mistakes which saves you money.  Encourage the questions.
  • If it wasn’t done in the interview process make sure and give your new employee a written description of their job and any quotas or standards they are supposed to meet.  People are much better at meeting or exceeding your expectations if they know what it is that you want them to do.
  • Being in charge it is up to you to set the tone for your workers.  Remember that you were new once and you would not be where you are today if people had not taken the time to help you learn, when you were a new hire.  Demonstrating that you respect and value all of your employees, including the new hire, will increase efficiency and retention.  If there is a staff party scheduled on someone’s first day, invite them.  They may not choose to go but, no one likes to be left out and, it is a good opportunity to form bonds between your new hire and your other employees.
  • Part of setting the tone is balancing acknowledging people’s differences and not putting them on the spot.  When you are not being judged on your own merits then it is a very negative and isolating experience even if you are not the only representative of your group.  It is the difference between being accepted as you are with your unique attributes acknowledged, and being held to a different standard, or being held up as an example while having your group put down, or being put down yourself because of your group.  Keep an eye out for the difference and if someone crosses the line speak with that person in private.  When people are corrected in front of a group of people it is not only humiliating, it undermines the effectiveness of the correction because now you are putting them on the spot.  It is usually unintentional when employees put each other on the spot so it is always best to assume that no harm was meant.  If you feel that this is a widespread problem have a mandatory workshop with a professional sensitivity trainer.
  • Lastly remember that when you are in charge people mimic your behavior towards each other.  Set a good example, respect your subordinates and they will rise to the occasion, everyone wants to be treated as if they are special and valuable and it is amazing how a small thing like believing in those around you can transform everyone’s work experience.
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