Imagine … you got a new job at one of the best firms to work for. You really look forward to your new challenge, but there is one thing that worries you a bit. Guess what? You are joining a team that is very different from what you have experienced so far. Until now you worked in a team of 5 people, where everyone was of similar age and of the same country. Now you have been employed by one of the most desirable employers.
A multinational company with a team of 14 people and all of them coming from different parts of the world. Also, their age range (24–56 years), their gender (men, women, transgender) and their culture/religion (Christians, Hindus, Sikhs, Muslims and Jews) is something you feel unfamiliar with.
Remember, your goal is to achieve workplace happiness, job satisfaction and success in the long term. How are you going to integrate in this new, so diverse, group without causing any disruption? These are some tips that a career guidance counsellor would give you to have a quick, easy and smooth transition.
# 1 — Memorize all their names before you even start your job.
Try to find this out online, from LinkedIn, the corporate website or other sources. It does make a difference, if right from the beginning you can address and remember them by name.
# 2 — Build relationships with every member.
Find out as much as possible about their background, their interests, their strengths. The more you know about them, and the more interest you show in them, the better. It’s important to find some common ground. That will always help you to establish bonds with them. If you are not very familiar with other cultures, try to learn the basics of every culture/religion so that you don’t make any embarrassing faux pas.
The best firms to work for usually also offer additional opportunities to learn more about each other by running several social events. Another approach would be to ask your team members lots of questions (but don’t intrusive ones!) and take advantage of every chance you might get to get to know them better. At lunchtime, for example, don’t spend that time alone, set yourself a goal to socialise every day with a different member. Imagine how much you will be able to find out and learn after just 1 month.
# 3 — Be approachable.
If you consider yourself as an introvert, and dealing with others for you is every time a hassle, it’s not going to be easy. In order to build bonds, you need to be open, positive, approach others with a smile and allow them to get to know you better, too.
# 4 — Find a mentor.
Find a mentor who can guide you. Someone who knows the written and unwritten rules and agreements within the company. If you can make use of that person’s knowledge, and provide him/her with something useful in return (e.g. some advice, or skill that would benefit them too) you would have it easier to settle in. Building a good relationship with a mentor might also help you to understand the corporate culture and personality in a deeper way. Their knowledge will be invaluable in helping you to integrate quicker into the team. They can tell you who in the group coordinates, leads or keeps the group together. If you observe team dynamics and interactions, you will soon find out who the most influential members are.
# 5 — Get involved wherever possible.
Attend as many events as possible in which your colleagues take part in, show that you are a team player. Attend the breakfast club, come along in the happy hour after working hours, etc. But don’t be tempted to socialize too much, if it stops you from fully focusing on your job responsibilities.
# 6 — Don’t complain and embrace change.
If you are facing a new environment, you need to embrace new practices and systems. The most desirable employers don’t want to have someone aboard who is complaining and tells others how great their previous job was. Don’t expect others to adapt to your style, instead embrace the new way your team is doing things and offer solutions where possible.
# 7 — Earn the respect of others by doing a good job.
Find out in what areas your colleagues are good at and where YOU can add real value to the team with your strengths. Also, keep your promises once you promise something.
If you love your job and the responsibilities involved in it, but you find it difficult to integrate into your new team, you might face isolation or even problems in carrying out your daily job duties as usual. It is therefore important to evaluate already at the interview stage whether you can really see yourself working there with those employees or not. The most desirable employers often give you the chance to get to know your team members during the recruitment stage. Don’t underestimate therefore this crucial part in evaluating whether the company is right for you.
Starting a new job and settling into a new environment, where team members might know each other already for a long time, is always a challenge. However, if you embrace the new corporate culture from day one, and seize every opportunity to become a real ambassador for your new company, you will experience a painless transition. Don’t forget, the better you can work with your team, the more productive you will be. For the best firms to work for, that means that it’s a win-win for every person involved.
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