Ace first 90 days new job

Ace your first 90 days in a new job

If you think about it, the first 90 days in a new job, aren’t too dissimilar to the 90 minutes of a soccer game. Just like in soccer, every moment counts. This is your chance to prove your ability to perform, work well within a team and demonstrate to all of the people watching that you have the potential to move upwards in your career.

Compiled below is advice from our senior Hays executives on how to make the most of your first 90 days within a new role, plus insights from some of Manchester City’s key players, who deal with similar situations on the pitch.

Start preparing before day one

Get a head start and before you start your new job, refresh your memory on the company background, and the products and services in its portfolio. Make sure you are also as clear on what your new role entails, and how it fits with the rest of the team and wider business goals.

Now start planning the more practical elements such as your journey, what you are going to wear, and if there is anything you need to bring.  Get a good night's rest, get up early, have a decent breakfast, and give yourself plenty of time to get to the office (30 min early).

Preparing for a game is no different. In fact, Manchester City Midfielder, Fernandinho draws on some useful parallels here: “Before a game, preparation is key. Every small detail matters – eating the right food, sleeping well and warming up properly – it’s all important”.

Arrive with no pre-conceived ideas

Manchester City Women’s captain, Steph Houghton points out how in soccer, every game is different, and it is important not to dwell on the past. “Before every game, it is important to focus on the game ahead. Your team, the opposition, their tactics and training methods, will constantly evolve. Approach each game as a clean slate, and be ready to learn something new.”

The same can be said about starting a new job. Forget about your experiences at your previous employers, good or bad, and get rid of any preconceived notions which stem from them. Even if you are staying within the same industry, or going to work for a similar company, keep an open mind. No two jobs will be the same, so approach your first 90 days as a fresh start, and embrace the unknown.

First impressions count

David Silva notes “when you walk onto the pitch, you feel like the world is watching. It is important to hold your up head high and not let your nerves get the better of you.”

Of course, on your first day in your new job, you won’t have quite so many eyes on you, but you still want to make a good first impression. As you are introduced to people, deploy name remembering tactics, like repeating their name back to them as you introduce yourself. If these introductions don’t feel rushed, and there’s a gap for small talk, then make polite conversation, for example, “It’s great to meet you, Laura, how long have you been with the company for?” This demonstrates that you are interested in them and personable to talk to.

Build a network of support

It is important that you make an effort to get to know your colleagues in the upcoming days.  A good network of support is as essential to your performance, as a good team is to that of a captain's.

Karen Young, Director, Hays, points out that “taking the time to meet each colleague individually, starting with those closest to where you are working, can pay huge dividends later. These are the people who can offer you guidance, answer your questions and help you to feel settled in this unfamiliar environment.”

Once you get back to your desk, map out a seating plan and write down the names of the people who sit at each desk. From this point on, take advantage of any opportunities to socialize, whether it’s at work social events, or just being in the kitchen at the same time making lunch! If these colleagues need your help on something work related, willfully step up. The people can be your allies during those first 90 days, so it’s important to keep them on your side.

Celebrate early successes, but don't get complacent

If you experience a quick win, congratulate yourself, and let this spur you on to continue along this trajectory, but whatever you do, don’t get complacent.

Kevin De Bryune states “sometimes, a player will score early on, which is always a cause for celebration. However, it’s important to not let this affect your focus and determination. Start as you mean to go on, and aim to arm your team with as many goals as possible, because anything could happen for the remainder of the game”. The bottom line is, don’t rest on your laurels and remember, your first 90 days can never be too successful.

Identify missed opportunities

On the flip side, you may experience defeat during your first 90 days, whether it’s failing to close a deal or meet a personal objective that you set for yourself. The key here is to learn from the situation, but don’t dwell, and certainly don’t let this throw you off the rest of your game.

Speaking from their experience on the pitch, Manchester City captain, Vincent Kompany quite rightly states that “during a match, sometimes you’ll miss opportunities and face setbacks. When this does happen, it’s important not to let your head drop. Stay focused, in control and confident and you’ll soon find yourself back to your best. If you’re finding it difficult, look to your colleagues and teammates for support.”

Stop and reflect

Think of your halfway point during the first 90 days as being like half-time during a game. Ilkay Gundogan says “Every game provides an opportunity to learn, develop and adjust your tactics. At half time, we regroup as a team, reflect on our performance and look at ways to build on the first half and hopefully go on to win the game.”

With this in mind, use your halfway point to assess what has gone well and what hasn’t. Ask your manager to provide some input and guidance. This is your chance to change tact and make the most of the second half of this period.

Next steps

Robby Vanuxem, Managing Director, Hays Belgium, recommends that you “consider whether you enjoyed working within this organization so far.  Have the people been supportive and welcoming? Do you still think this company can offer you a promising career where you are able to develop yourself further? Ultimately, are the reasons that you joined this organization still valid?”

If so, then brilliant. Sit down with your manager, and start planning the next step in what I hope will be a long and prosperous career within this company. If not, then have an honest conversation, explaining your concerns. With any luck, your manager will be able to address these concerns and put a plan in place to make the next 90 days a lot more promising.

If you can take a leaf out of some of the Man City players’ books, being a strategic, diligent and self-reflective team player, you give yourself every chance of acing your first 90 days.

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